That’s not a trick question, but if you’re a recent empty nester, it may be harder to answer than it might seem. It was right after my daughter graduated from high school that I started to hear myself answering what my daughter was doing in her life whenever anyone asked me “what are you up to these days?” I had probably been doing it for years.
As she had grown up I had gotten so focused on her activities (taking her places, volunteering at her events and making sure she had everything she needed for whatever adventure she was off to) that I was nearly unable to distinguish my own life from hers, even in casual conversation.
For so many years when she was young, it seemed I didn’t have time to have my own fun unless I carved it out carefully. Like book club, for example. I made being with my friends discussing books and drinking wine on the second Thursday of every month an unskippable life event…so I would have 3 hours for me every month.
At one point when I paused and looked at my friend group, the people I was spending the most time with were my daughter’s friends’ parents. Wonderful people whose company I enjoyed, but have come to realize, with rare exception, were friends of circumstance.
So when my girl moved off to college I suddenly had big gaps of time available to me. It felt awkward and exhilarating at the same time. I could do whatever I wanted…but what exactly was that anyway?
If you’re in that same boat now, I encourage you to rediscover your hobbies or develop new ones. Try doing new things or activities you previously thought were off the table for you. It may feel strange to do things without your kid(s) but it must be done, lest you end up watching 3 or 4 hours of TV every evening. This may or may not have happened to me…OK, it did. It was kind of like eating Girl Scout Cookies after a year without them – totally awesome at first but then not great when it falls into habit.
Here are two ways for finding fun new activities to do:
Groupon as a Self-Discovery Tool
First, promise yourself that you will pick something to try, whether it is in your comfort zone or not. Go to Groupon and browse around the Things to Do, Online Learning or Health & Fitness categories until something sparks your interest. Get the Groupon and put your newfound activity on your calendar.
Dabble in Something
Check out Dabble, a site that offers access to all kinds of interesting in-person and online classes. Categories offered are: Food & Drink, Arts & DIY, Business & Technology, Fitness & Wellness, Health & Beauty and Education. I triple dog dare you to visit this site and try to come away without finding something that looks fun to do.
Do at least one new or rediscovered activity regularly. If you’re really feeling empty nest distress deeply, then do things more often. Once a week would be good. If you’ve got some other things going on or have already worked through some of the issues of empty nest, then once a month might be plenty.
The key is to have fun. Now is your chance for you. Your stuff. Your friends. Invite your friends to do things with you. Do things with your partner if you want. If no one is available, do it anyway. You can do it.
Let me know in the comments what you’re going to do for fun.
Note: Links on this page and others on my site may be affiliate links, which means I could earn a commission if you click through and buy something.
3 ACTION STEPS TO BUILD YOUR BEST LIFE NOW
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