I mentioned in a previous post that in a few years, I will be going through my empty nest years. I’ve been divorced 12 years and never thought I’d be going through those years on my own. While I love my daughter with everything in me, I know that it’s inevitable that she will be moving out and starting to live her own life. Which, that makes me happy, knowing that she will be happy with whatever she chooses to do in life.
I know that I am not the only single parent who feels this way. Most of all, parents in general, single or married, what their children happy. But, with single parents, we go from a home with children, to a home by ourselves. Since I only have a few more years, I started thinking, what ways can I keep myself interested in doing things and not getting sucked into the abyss of home and letting life slip by me even further.
Here are 10 fun things that I’ve found for us single parents can do when we’re “all by myseeellfff”:
- Redecorate or Downsize – If you own your home, or rent an apartment, but plan to stay there forever or a longer undetermined time, either redecorate, or start the process of becoming a minimalist. When it’s just you, home decor can remind you of the ghosts of Christmas pasts. Your home is filled with things that you may not need anymore. When it’s just you, this will be the best time to decide what you want to keep, going forward. While you may entertain friends or family for a dinner party, do you really need those two or three huge crock-pots?
- Nights out/in – Most of all, it’s important to keep up with your friends and family. Plan nights out with your friends or family either weekly or bi-weekly. Dinner, drinks out, happy hour after work. For nights in, do alternate weeks at a different home. Each friend or family hosting that nights festivities.
- Get a pet – If you are a natural caretaker and you love animals, get a pet. But, one thing to keep in mind, if you’re not always home, it’s not in an animals best interest to have a home with someone who isn’t around much. If you want to travel more, a pet is not in their best interest either. But, you can volunteer at a pet shelter. Walk dogs for a few hours each week, cuddle pets, or find a location near you and cuddle babies that have been abandoned or put up for adoption.
- Join a local meet-up group – These groups are great! There are groups for all interests. Outdoor meetups for hiking. Book clubs, investor groups and many more. You get to meet new people and have nights out.
- Music and Movies – With most of this post promoting time away from home, it is okay to have nights home. Listen to music and dance around in your underwear. I’m not talking Risky Business with a room full of people. Well, unless y’all are into that. No judgments here! LOL. Watch Netflix all weekend. You can get a good 16 – 18 hours of non-stop movies on Saturday and Sunday. Depending on how much sleep you need :).
- Take a class – Something you wanted to learn? Dancing, Karate, Kick Boxing? Go for it! This is another activity where you can meet new people too. Never a bad thing!
- Take a vacation – You raised a child. You spent the last 18 – 25 years getting your kiddo ready for the real world, seems like you deserve to take time and go somewhere. So, either go with friends or family, or if they can’t join you, you may be able to join a travel tour group and go with them. I will stipulate, find a REPUTABLE travel tour group. Safety first. Isn’t that what we taught our kids?
- Host a weekend sleepover – Have a few friends over for the weekend. Make up a room for them. Provide guest room supplies for them for their showers and anything else to make them comfortable. They may be friends, but this is a great way to enhance your hosting skills.
- Start or complete your bucket list – If you haven’t started a bucket list yet, you must do this! List all the things you have wanted to do. Check out my Bucket List.
- Volunteer – There are many volunteer opportunities everywhere. Find one that speaks to you.
I’m not saying it’s going to be an easy transition. It will be hard. How many of us remember what our lives were before kids? I don’t! Going into the empty nest years is actually a little daunting.
And don’t be afraid your kids will feel some kind of way that you’re having a great time without them there. In the end, they want the same thing for you, that you want for them. They want you to be happy. And any of the list above? Feel free to ask your kids to join you! They are at a new phase in their lives too. Get to know the new them starting out and with you in your empty nest years, they can see the non-parent side. May be able to view you as a friend. They know you on the one level, due to the need to survive their childhood and teen years, you couldn’t be their friend.
If you’ve already started your empty nest years, what suggestions or tips would you share?
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