When the kids are finally launched into the world, parents face a mix of emotions. There’s the sadness over missing the family being together, and there’s the relief of enjoying the calm and opportunity to experience life again as just a couple or an individual.
For most parents and those grandparents who raised their grandkids, the benefits of being an empty nester far outweigh the initial loneliness and uncertainty about how to move into this next phase of life. The upside of an empty nest is that you can:
- Revitalize your marriage and other relationships. Once the focus is off caring for the family, many couples find themselves thinking, Wow. It’s just us. The extra time and energy allow partners to rekindle their own relationship and couples/singles to engage more with friends they like vs. connections through their kids.
- Experience more travel and adventure activities. With the extra time on hand, empty nesting is ideal for finally booking that adult vacation or just getting out on the town more often.
- Pursue hobbies. Mid-life and beyond brings the opportunity to get back to a hobby or develop a new one. Empty nesters now have time to dust off the golf clubs or join the neighborhood creative arts group.
- Repurpose and remodel the home. The kids’ vacant bedrooms invite space for the workout or crafts room. The money saved after raising kids allows for home modifications for aging in place or entertaining family and guests. Airbnb, the worldwide accommodations marketplace, notes that 10 percent of their hosts are over age 60.
- Focus on nutrition and overall fitness. Many empty nesters can now concentrate on their own health. Instead of cooking for the whole family, parents learn new ways to cook for just one or two and have time to dedicate to more regular exercise.
What benefits of empty nesting are most appealing to you?
An award-winning journalist who has documented stories in nearly 20 countries, Beth Lueders is an author, writer and speaker who frequently reports on diverse topics, including aging and health issues for both U.S. and international corporations.