Wednesday, 7 September 2016

MIDLIFE ROCKS! ~ There's All That Free Time

MIDLIFE ROCKS! ~ Once the kids are off your hands there's so much more free time

WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THAT TIME?

Once the kids are off your hands you find you have so much more free time. The only question is "How are you going to use it?" Sitting around and looking at each other and saying "we really should do something..." isn't really conducive to an active and interesting midlife relationship. Expecting your other half to entertain you for the next 40 years is hardly the stuff of healthy relationships.

So, instead of thinking "what am I going to do with myself now I don't need to work full time" or "what will I do now I'm not running the kids around everywhere" it's time to think "Yay! Now I've got time to learn that new skill/catch up with my friends more often/take that trip I've been wanting to go on/ start that yoga class I've been thinking about/ etc etc". Young Me would envy how much time midlife Me has at my disposal so I really don't want to let her down by completely wasting all those hours I have available to me.

TRAVEL

Because I'm still tied to a work schedule, the round the world trip, or the six week vacation will probably take a back seat for another decade or so. I have big plans for Europe and maybe even the US when I get to retirement - all I need is a windfall to pay for it and I'll be on my way - I might even bring my husband if he plays his cards right! In the meantime, we've taken a few little sorties off to places around us - other States of Australia, Bali and a couple of trips with my mum. It's nice to see a little bit of the world, but it also reminds me of how much I love being at home with all its familiar comforts.

We've been known to dig out the motorbike (my husband's midlife crisis) and take it for a spin on balmy afternoons. Or if the weather isn't too fabulous, we take the car and head somewhere for afternoon tea or a movie. It's lovely spending time together where we're not thinking about all the things we should be doing instead - the chores can wait.

HOBBIES

Spare time has meant dabbling in a few new hobbies. One of my friends has recently taken up golf and is loving it. I don't see myself hitting a little white ball around the greens - missing that hole would drive me crazy, but she is really enjoying it and finding an added connection to her golf loving husband.

For me, trying my hand at stained glass was a great way to get the ball rolling. I've loved learning a new skill and although I probably won't be turning our house into a cathedral any time soon, it was fun having a go at something I've never tried before. I've also been out riding my bicycle - not as often as I'd planned, but I smile every time I see it parked in our garage with its little wicker basket.


Use that extra free time for fun ~ Zen to Zany
The other new thing I tried 18 months or so ago was blogging. I didn't read all the "How To Blog" articles or have anything in mind at all when I started. It just seemed like a good way to put my thoughts down somewhere and not have to do it all by hand in my journal. I had no idea what a new world I would open up for myself - and all the new skills I'd learn. In fact it has been such an eye opener that I'm going to dedicate a whole post to it in the next couple of weeks - stay tuned!

PRACTICAL AND NOT SO PRACTICAL

Sometimes free time is all about doing nothing. On the days I don't work I sleep in - ahhhh the bliss of not having to get up at the crack of dawn to drive to work. I've been known to have a weekend nap every now and then too - no responsibilities means no problems when it comes to stretching out on the couch for an hour of napping under a snuggly rug.

I do try to use some of that extra leisure for more practical pursuits. I mentor a little boy at our local primary school once a week, I catch up with friends for coffee and conversation, I do all those chores that used to get relegated to the weekend. And best of all by far, we can take a day occasionally to drive up to see our kids and our little granddaughter - she's growing up so fast and is delightful - so delightful that she's going to get a post of her own too! I'll even include a couple of pics because she's so cute!

THE SHEER LUXURY OF TIME


I feel like midlife means less juggling of my time and priorities. I don't need to balance work and family, I don't need to squeeze housework in between other commitments, I don't have to decide what to cook for tea every night, or whose turn it is to do the dishes or feed the dog. Life is just smoother and more relaxed. Free time has that effect on you, where if it doesn't get done today, then it will get done tomorrow or the next day. It's almost like being on vacation in your own home - it's a luxury I'll never take for granted.




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MIDLIFE ROCKS! ~ Once the kids are off your hands there's so much more free time

44 comments:

  1. THIS IS WHAT IM HANGING ON FOR :-)
    I know all all too too soon my ten year old will be off and running on her own.

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  2. It's what the next stage of life is all about Carla - you swap all that time you've been running around after everyone else for time for yourself - it's great!

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  3. I need more free time. Just saying. I do. I still overschedule at times. And need to change my ways !!
    Carol

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    1. I think we have more free time Carol - it's just that you fill yours up with an awful lot of interesting things!

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  4. Oh yes, I am definitely feeling the bliss of free time. Our kids schedules no longer rule us. It's actually an adjustment though to start thinking about yourself first. I'm still adjusting but love that it's adjusting to grown kids rather than that really hard adjustment to a new baby. I'm glad those days are over!

    Julia
    www.whenthegirlsrule.com

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    1. Me too Julia - no more new babies around full time (an occasional grandbaby visit is a whole different kettle of fish!) and it's taken me a while to get used to all this time to myself but I'm loving it.

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    1. That's because you are so busy writing books and blogs and doing a million other things Diane :)

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  6. I'm a year away from 1/2 time work...very excited about that. We're actually building a studio at our house (my husband is an artist) so we can create more...but also trying to live the life we want now.

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    1. It sounds wonderful Kim - having that work/life balance is amazing and I know you'll love it (and that studio sounds perfect!)

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  7. I love all of the things about this time of life that you do. Blogging and all I have learned in the pursuit of that have really stretched my brain and takes up a lot of time. And I love all of the relationships I've built all over the world with people - like you & Sue in Australia! :) And I've tried a few things that I'm glad I've tried, but won't be going back to (see Aerial Yoga!) Great posts on the many positive aspects of the empty nest, Leanne!

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    1. Thanks Cathy - and yes blogging is one of the amazing discoveries that midlife has brought with it - I can't believe how many wonderful people (like yourself) that I've met along the way. It's also brought such a positive focus to my life. I don't think I'll try aerial yoga though :)

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  8. There is so much to midlife and the empty nest to love...but there are also the things that happen suddenly, that blow your mind. Like my husband's double lung transplant. THAT was a shocker!

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    1. A double lung transplant is really off the radar isn't it Tam? Life has a habit of throwing the occasional curve ball but that probably takes the cake. At least we have a bit more time and headspace to deal with these things when they come our way.

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  9. I actually have found I'm busier now than I was when I was younger. Probably because I've always freelanced so retirement is sort of a pipe dream. It keeps me on my toes, though.

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    1. I'm busy too Rebecca but it is more about "me busyness" than family or work busyness. I love that I have some say in what I choose to do with my time and how much of it I want to commit to things along the way.

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  10. The kid no longer rules, but to replace "the kid", I have an 88 year old mother in law with health issues (few 88 year olds don't have any) and a developmentally disabled brother in law, who both live about two miles from us. And one day, perhaps, we'll have grandchildren. We both still work, and although it is nice to be freer (wineries, anyone?) we still have our share of worries. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. I'm writing a post on this as part of the series Alana - the trade off of caring for children and then caring for our parents. We have a bit of a window in between (and I know a lot of us don't get that space) so I'm making the most of it. My in-laws are in their 80's and I can see the frailty starting.

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  11. I've heard quite a few friends mention that they FINALLY have more time for THEIR pursuits now that the nest is empty. I've actually found I have less time. Then again, the less time is because I'm spending most of it on a pursuit I didn't pursue while the kids lived at home. So... perhaps it *is* true. :-D

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    1. I think it is definitely true Lisa - it is about having more choice and more say in how we spend our time. The focus shifts and we get to determine our priorities in a different way - it's the next phase of life's journey.

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  12. I feel like Lisa, above. In many ways, I have less time now than I did with the kids home. I'm so busy with my writing - which I love - and my traveling for that writing that I am always exhausted!

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    1. Yes but you have to balance that with those lovely cruises you get to take Lois - I've seen the photos and they look amazing! Busyness by choice is a nice change to busyness from circumstance though :)

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  13. Well I'm there Leanne and it is great to have the spare time. One thing I found though when I retired was I didn't have a real plan and at first not having a purpose each day was hard to adjust to. Now three years on I'm loving life and have just started an online Nutrition course. My husband and I were fortunate to travel overseas each year although at the moment it has taken a back seat with the death of his Dad and his Mum now to care for. We do need a plan and its a big world of ideas out there.

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    1. There is an awful lot of choice isn't there Sue? It's finding what interests us and grows us as midlife women that makes all the difference. I'm so pleased you found that course and are starting it - kind of the next step in the journey from blogging to who knows what! :)

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  14. Yes, kids grow up and leave to live their own lives, and we are left with ours. I have years till that happens with my little one, but through my friends I am prepared. Good for you for enjoying your time and focusing on you!
    Estelle

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    1. You had your time in the sun for longer than we did in the beginning Estelle, now you focus on the balance of mothering and working, and before you know it you'll be enjoying all that spare time again :)

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  15. My first thought was, "What free time? I'm as busy now as ever." Then I realized like so many other commenters that most of what I do now is my choice. So yeah, even though my days are just as full as ever, it is so nice to have the freedom to fill them with some of the things I want to. And when you make it to the US, Leanne, I want to know! :)

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    1. It'll be a while before I get there Wendy but I would LOVE to meet up with some of you girls - I love the connections that blogging has made for me xx

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  16. You sound so relaxed and chilled Leanne. It's making me jealous. I always feel like I'm running from one to the other and we don't even have kids. But to be fair, we have just moved house and are undertaking some redecorating projections, so spare time is a luxury. I look forward to when it is all done.

    Sally @ Life Loving
    #LifeLovingLinkie

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    1. Your time will come Sally - it might take a decade or two though :)

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  17. I know this post is about free time...but you seem to have filled it admirably. Volunteering, creative outlets, reasonable travel, and writing to help pull it all together. Bravo.

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    1. Thanks Anna - it's what it's all about at this stage isn't it? Filling our lives with stuff that we choose, rather than what we obligated to.

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  18. Our blog hosting is coming up and mu husband wanted to renew at the cheaper rate for three years. I said no way! Three years we won't have kids at home, who knows what we could be doing? The possibilities are endless!!

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    1. You go girl! I expect to say "I knew them when they were just little bloggers like me" It's funny to think how much life can change in a few years isn't it?

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  19. I'm embarrassed by how much I enjoy sleeping in on weekends. Sometimes I wonder if I'm regressing to my teenage years. Oh well, to heck with it. Sleeping feels good, and as I get older I give myself permission to do what feels right.

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    1. I love a good sleep in Laurie and I still feel a bit guilty about it, but a few more years and I might be able to not give a hoot and just lie there in luxury and think about those poor people who are up at 6am (that would be my husband!)

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  20. I have so many interests and now spend so much time in the blogging world, I don't feel the luxury of the free time your write about Leanne. I blame it all on the full time job I have that takes 40 hours out of my week! I so enjoy unstructured time doing small things as you write about - going to a movie, spending a day at home catching up on chores, taking a walk. I feel like the true day to day joy lies in these treats instead of the mountain top experiences of trips of a lifetime (though that would certainly be fun too!) And I now have two grandsons who we are blessed to have living near us. I foresee the day when I'll be dashing off to their activities and events. When will I sleep in???

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    1. You just need to get rid of that full time job Molly - any filthy rich great-aunts dying and leaving you a fortune so you can retire? It's still nice to know that you can fill those spare minutes with things that are about you and not just playing catch up though isn't it :)

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  21. I don't have much free time at present, but I've always been pretty good at filling time & getting hobbies - I don't think I would be bored if I had free time.

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    1. I think that's the secret - gradually filling your spare time with things that interest you so that you can have a full life once all those obligations and commitments are reduced (that would be when those kids leave home!)

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  22. Stained glass is such a great idea! I've done mosaic and album art which are somewhat similar to the colour and ink aspects of stained glass respectively, though different activities altogether. If it were me I would probably attempt a tessellation of multicoloured diamond blocks, just like the classic window at churches and cathedrals.

    Though I'm not at all middle aged, I do also have a lot of free time which I have filled with an activity I would like to recommend: podcasting. They can occupy a significant amount of time, and the information conveyed through podcasts is much more interesting and personalised than what you might hear on the radio, at least in my experience. Still, it's definitely worth a short if you haven't tried listening to them :)

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    1. Hi Ryan - I haven't listened to many podcasts but I agree that they would be an interesting and educational way to use some of my spare time. You should definitely try stained glass - it would certainly be the next thing after mosaics :)

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  23. Hi Leanne,
    You and I started blogging around the same time. That's what I do in my free time! I'm looking forward to your blogging post upcoming soon.
    Thank you for bringing your post to Blogger's Pit Stop last week.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

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