We all hear horror stories of being an empty nester. That we will miss our kids so much we can’t function. That we’ll pine away, just waiting for the day they come visit. But I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way — I love being an empty nester! Not to say I don’t love my kids and miss them. And also not to say I don’t love it when they visit. But I feel like I’ve done my job as a parent to successfully launch a well-adjusted, productive (read: employed) citizen. So part of that process is having an empty nest, just a new and necessary stage in my life. Here are some tips to help you live your best life as an empty nester.
Stay plugged in with your departed kids with whatever method works best. I ‘stalk’ my kids on Instagram and Facebook so I can stay current with their lives. In addition, email supplements social media for special but non-real time communication. And with one child living in Tokyo, What’s App is our best option for interactive banter. Additionally, FaceTime and Skype provide visual interaction for an enhanced feeling of staying in touch. This connection is important to at least partially replace your now long-lost face time when your kids were at home.
As healthy as I am, my body isn’t as forgiving as it once was. I need more sleep, I can’t run as fast, I’m not quite as flexible, I need better hydration, on and on. As a result, I am very intentional about eating well, working out consistently (even on vacation), getting plenty of sleep, watching my calories and trying to drink in moderation (mostly). I pay attention to health trends and plan to add meditation to my lifestyle this year.
All of this effort is intended to help me continue to feel good so that I can stay active, albeit now more often with friends than family. And to be able to be active and present when the kids do visit.
Now that you are freed up from all those sports games, school activities, and extracurricular groups of your kids, you’ll have more time. It’s a great time to pursue all the things you never had time to do before like:
All in all, while I miss the kids, I choose to love this stage in my life. Enjoy the new freedom that comes with empty nesting!
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