5 BENEFITS OF THE EMPTY NEST

5 benefits of the empty nest - it's not all doom and gloom

WHAT DO WE DO WITH OUR EMPTY NEST?

The empty nest is a strange time of adjustment - we go from having a house full of kids who are coming and going, eating, sleeping, talking, driving, socialising, arguing, and generally driving us crazy.....to a house that is just the two of us with all those demands gone and an uncanny amount of space and time suddenly available. 

What do we do about it? Do we mourn the fact that the noise and action have departed and wait for the occasional visits? Do we look at each other and wonder who we are and how we got here? Or do we stop and appreciate all that is returning to us and start building afresh on that foundation? 

For me, it's a matter of letting go constantly and reminding myself of the benefits that come from having our house and lives returned to us. Today I'm sharing five blessings that the empty nest brings.

1. PEACE AND QUIET

5 benefits of the empty nest - it's not all doom and gloom - peace and quiet

One of the biggest changes for us is the quiet that comes from two people and two cats sharing a largish house. No one shouts, no one has the TV going at mega-decibels, no one is calling out for something, all is calm, all is pleasant. 

I love the peace and the sense of serentity that just being the two of us brings. It's lovely when it's interrupted for periods of time when we have visitors, but the return to our tranquil way of life is always so relaxing and stress-free.

2. GAINING EXTRA FAMILY

5 benefits of the empty nest - it's not all doom and gloom - gaining extra family

We only have two children - a boy and a girl. We thought about having four at the beginning, but realized our limitations and coping ability and called it quits at two. When the kids left the nest and made their own way in the world, they met the loves of their lives and settled down and got married.

Bonus for us was gaining two new family members - young people who love our kids and who extend our family perimeters. It's not always easy - there are adjustments for everyone to make and the way can be a little bumpy at times. But, that's life and the benefits far outweigh the tweaks needed to make our larger family work.

3. GRANDBABIES

5 benefits of the empty nest - it's not all doom and gloom - grandbabies

Nothing beats grandbabies! The nest might be empty, but those grown and flown children are building nests of their own. Part of that whole process means starting their own families and producing lovely little people who we are related to, love beyond measure, and get to share special moments with.

There is a completely different feeling with grandchildren than there is when you were a parent with  your own kids. You get the joys without the responsibilities. You get to have baby snuggles, and baby giggles, and playtime and even a nappy change or two, but then you leave them in the care of their parents and go home with a smile - bliss!

4. FINDING YOUR PARTNER AGAIN

5 benefits of the empty nest - it's not all doom and gloom - finding your partner again

It's a bit scary when the kids leave the nest and you turn around and look at the person you've been married to for 30 years and think "now what?" My husband and I hit a real snag part way through the process, trying to figure out who we were as a couple, and what we had left that connected us. You don't notice that you've drifted over the years until it's time to re-establish the relationship and launch off as just a couple again.

Fortunately for us, we found each other before we made the mistake of walking away. We re-discovered time together, talking, just being in each other's company. We remembered that we actually really like each other and what we each bring to the relationship. The empty nest gave us the time and space to do that without the intrusion of others, and now it's where we share our life together.

5. FINDING YOURSELF AGAIN

5 benefits of the empty nest - it's not all doom and gloom - finding yourself again

I've said it many times on this blog - Midlife and the empty nest have been the places where I've started to find myself again. It's where there has been the time and space to think about what I actually want out of life and to figure out how I'm going to get there. I am a work in progress - sometimes I think I've worked it out, then I find I'm back a few steps and re-jigging things.

There is time, lots of time to find myself. I don't think I've ever really understood who I was separate to all the people in my life - now is the time to find that person. You can't be interesting and engaging if you don't know what interests you and how to invest and share that with others. I don't want to be a sad echo of my younger self, I want to be alive and vibrant and looking at the years ahead with anticipation - the empty nest is my place to nurture the process.

5 benefits of the empty nest - it's not all doom and gloom

What do you love about the empty nest? Did you down-size, up-size, follow the kids, move further away? It's different for everyone, but there is still joy in the midst of the changes that the empty nest brings isn't there?

This post was shared at some of these great link parties
To keep up to date with my posts, feel free to add your email into the spot especially for it on my sidebar and I'd love you to follow me on Facebook

Five things Friday ~ www.crestingthehill.com.au

19 comments

  1. When we first reached the empty nest stage in life I remember standing in the lounge saying to my husband, "Let's go out to flicks and come home late." He looked at me in astonishment? "Why?" "Because we can!"
    We didn't have to make sure there was food in the fridge, or that everyone was safe in the home before we left. Nor did we have to explain why we were late home! (We had a very protective youngster of 20 who would look at his watch and ask where we'd been. Cute! But most annoying. :-) ) Cancer is a war. Bring in the Artillery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does make you feel a bit like a teenager sometimes doesn't it Shirley - no one to worry about and plenty of freedom to do what you want when you want :)

      Delete
  2. I was dreading the empty nest, I am getting to terms with my first going off to Uni. How did time fly? Thanks for sharing with us at the Pit Stop

    Pit Stop Crew!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The empty nest is what you make it Julie - it's all about being prepared and remembering what it was like to only have to worry about yourself - liberating!

      Delete
  3. Hey Leanne... my "nest" has never included kids so I don't have that perspective. Instead, I have relished in most of the experiences you mention. While there are no grandbabies... nieces and nephews are equally wonderful to cuddle and then send home with their parents. But no matter how you get to the point where you can rediscover who you "really are" the better. Congratulations for finding the silver lining! ~Kathy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it comes with reaching an age and stage where it's not all about establishing yourself and maintaining things isn't it Kathy - you reach a point where you can start doing things for yourself and enjoying all the little pleasures that come with that.

      Delete
  4. Hi Leanne! What a positive way to look at being an 'empty nester'. I know some women can be quite devastated by the experience but really don't we raise our children to be wonderful adults who fly off to experience their own lives? I totally agree with your 5 points and just because you children don't live with you doesn't mean you have lost them. This is also a wonderful time of life to rediscover yourself. Have a beautiful weekend!
    Sue
    www.sizzlingtowardssixty.com.au

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Sue - and you are absolutely right - we can't sit at home mourning the departure of our kids forever. They go on to make lives for themselves, and we need to as well. Re-discovering life on your own terms is such a great part of this stage of life isn't it?

      Delete
  5. Hi Leanne, having been in an empty nest for 10 months now is just like you say. No grandbabies yet though! This is Terri Webster Schrandt (google keeps announcing me as Terri Matal). We added a puppy to the household this year and THAT has been trying!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahhh yes - the fur baby stage - we did that with cats! I think it's nice to have something to lavish a bit of the left over affection on Terri - puppies certainly remind you of the "joys" of toilet training and obedience training don't they?

      Delete
  6. I especially love the freedom we have - if we want cereal for supper, we have it. If we want to stay up until 3 in the morning binge watching TV episodes, we do it. If we want to jump in the car and head to the nearby wildlife refuge for a hike, we grab water bottles and go! It's wonderful to have the freedom to do things without a plan whenever we get the notion!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't agree more Melody - we have slack dinner nights where we make a toasted sandwich and we can buy delicious things for afternoon tea for just the two of us - so many little delights aren't there?

      Delete
  7. My nest was truly 'empty' for eight years and then I volunteered to take care of my grandson. It is still empty at night though. I still live in the house I bought 45 years ago and since is is not overly huge, it works for one person. The yard is large and I often wonder how longer I can maintain it on my own. I love being alone and having the freedom to do what I please.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to be able to care for our granddaughter Denise but they live too far away - I think you are very blessed to have a littlie in your life to brighten your days. I think the freedom is such a bonus for empty nesters - not having to take others into consideration for every decision is so freeing!

      Delete
  8. Miss 20 moved back home recently for all of 2 weeks (we all thought it would be several months but she found a flatmate and apartment and that was that). I have to say it's a lot less stressful when they have their own place, even though I miss her! She's also moved further away, closer to the city (good half hour drive) so will be seeing less of her :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a see-saw isn't it Janet? You are happy they're launched and independent, but you miss the closeness of when they're at home. The consolation is that she would have gotten harder to live with as time went by - this way you part on a happy note and get to visit regularly x

      Delete
  9. Our youngest is just getting ready to move out and I find myself in his doorway imagining the guest room we will have, in the kitchen thinking how much easier it will be to keep clean, and in what will be the "guest" bathroom ...
    Love my kids to the moon and back, and thankfully they will both be less than an hour away and visit often - but really looking forward to fewer material things in the house and naked hot tub nights again!
    Diane @ ThisScatteredLife

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love your attitude Diane! If more empty nesters let go so easily it would be a really happy stage of life to be in. To have spare rooms, less "stuff" and more freedom as a pay off for the kids leaving and starting their own lives is a win/win for everyone.

      Delete
  10. I haven't come to the stage yet as my daughter is just 3 years..but yes one day she would really go out there to achieve her dreams

    http://www.simpleindianmom.in/nose-pins-a-tradition-that-enhances-the-beauty-of-indian-women/

    ReplyDelete