If you are an empty nester, you can enjoy some of your best years yet! Transitions can be challenging but when you “listen” to people who have been through it, you can move into the new stage with a more positive outlook. I have two more tips to share with you for making your empty nest years some of the best yet!
In Part 1, https://ibloom.co/blog/empty-nesters-enjoy-years-part/, I talked about:
1. RECONNECTING with your husband and/or yourself
2. RECONNECTING with God.
In Part 2, https://ibloom.co/blog/empty-nesters-enjoy-years-part-2/, you discovered the value of:
3. RECONNECTING with friends
4. COMMUNICATING with family members
The next two tips help you embrace new and old interests.
When I was single and living in San Diego, I remember writing Christmas letters that listed all the interesting things I was doing – both in my job, advanced schooling and wonderful interests. I took dance lessons several times a week, I ran 10K’s regularly, I wrote poetry, and studied about Impressionist painters. Since this was BEFORE iPods and iPhones, I actually went OUT to listen to music: orchestras, jazz in the park, and wonderful entertainers.
At first I really thought that the empty nest thing was a piece of cake. I knew I was about to enjoy some of my best years yet. THEN my two sons got married in the same year; my daughter announced she was planning on going into the Peace Corps; my job changed to working at home which brought on a feeling of isolation; I had friends move, go back to work or give most of their time to their new grandchildren. My husband worked long hours, played his trumpet in several groups and played golf several times a week.
My life had shifted – totally! My kids had found their way. My husband enjoyed interests. I clearly felt left in the dust. My “interests” for many years had been working and managing my home and family. I was no longer in touch with my own interests. I had to take a serious look at revitalizing old interests and exploring new interests.
1. EMBRACE INTERESTS: Revitalize old interests
Use these questions to help you remember some of the things you used to enjoy. Of course, you won’t want to pull all of those back into your life, but there might be a couple that you would like to enjoy once again.
- What outdoor activities did you enjoy? If you ran, maybe you can enjoy walking instead.
- What was something you were good at – and enjoyed? Playing a musical instrument? Acting? Singing? Playing a sport?
- What lessons did you look forward to? Are there “lessons” you would like to take now? (Salsa dancing? Painting? Quilting? Cooking?)
- What did you like to do with friends? Maybe now you can invite a friend to go on a walk or take a lesson with you or do a book study together.
- What was something that simply filled you up? Going to an art museum? Walking in a Botanical Garden? Reading by water – ocean, lake or river?
Make a list of three interests you used to have that you would like to try again.
2. EMBRACE INTERESTS: Explore new interests
You have had many experiences over the years. You have learned a lot. Now is a great time to explore some new interests that will enrich your life. Some of them will be simply to enhance your everyday living, some might keep you learning, some might involve being with other people and some might be simply for learning something new. Use these questions to boost your thinking about this.
- What are you curious about? Art? A certain country or city? A time period?
- Do you like to entertain? Tip: Make a notebook with five go-to meals complete with grocery list for each meal. Then when you invite people over you can simply select a meal, grab the grocery list and straighten your house.
- What is something that you can develop an interest in and can also be useful in your everyday life? Photography? Trip planning? Flower arranging? Fashion?
- What is something that you can do just for yourself?
- What will stimulate your brain to keep it sharp? Scrabble? Crossword puzzles? Memorizing scripture? Learning lines for a community production?
- What is something you can do that will contribute to others? Teach something? Serve at a community center, food pantry, school, etc.?
- What are some things you and your spouse can enjoy doing together? Traveling? Playing a sport or simply walking? Discussing a book?
Make a list of five new interests you would like to explore. See what “fits” and let go of the others.
Revitalize some of your old interests and explore some new. Renew your zest for life!
Please leave a comment about how some interests you have discovered or reignited during this time of life! And watch for Part 4 of this blog series!
Photo credit: Thomas Hawk / Foter / CC BY-NC