My husband and I have joined the ranks of the empty nesters. We’ve been hearing from friends about how great it would be and all the positives of having your kids leave home. What we didn’t hear as much about was how different it would be. Less laundry, dishes, groceries. But also less noise, less chaos, and less planned activities.
We have spent the past 24 years with at least one child at home. That also means that our time and activities were almost always connected to our kids. Play dates, church groups, sports, concerts, and practices have consumed our calendars. Our circle of adult friends were also connected to those kid activities. This was not a bad thing, in fact I loved it. Going to sports practices and games, sitting on the sidelines with neighbors and friends-became a way of life. We have great memories and friendships because of that.
Now – without the kid’s schedule- driving our schedule, we are left on our own to plan our time. This can be wonderful and freeing- an impromptu road trip or a late movie. Yet, you realize that the rhythm and patterns you’ve followed for so many years are no longer. Time to start anew, or make the extra effort to connect with friends that you no longer just run into at the latest sport or activity.
And also I tell myself it’s ok to actually miss the kids. I am planning to spend more time on hobbies I enjoy- and mark my calendar for the next holiday when the kids return for a visit- along with their dirty clothes!
Are you an empty nester? What are some activities you started after your kids left home?