Hi and welcome back to Coffee with Clare everything Thursday!
I had been a working, single mom for years. My ex-husband and I got divorced when our kids were teenagers. I raised two children – a boy, Tim, now 28 years old and married with one daughter (they live out of state) and Stephanie, single, who is 24 years old (she lives locally). Although my ex got the kids on the weekends after the divorce, I worked like a dog, was frazzled all the time, rushed my kids back and forth from school, activities, dance, soccer – and well, you know the rest. Most of the time I was running on a low battery to say the least – and every moment I was not working was time spent in the car dropping kids off to school, picking them up from dance class, or speeding to the football field! I cherished and loved that part of my life, but I certainly had no “me” time.
My situation? I was blessed with a really good job as an accountant with wonderful retirement benefits. I am now 57 years old, and I will retire (early) in the next few months, and now I will have plenty of “me” time. The kids are out of the nest, and while I hope I will love not working…. I think I will have too much time on my hands, and I just don’t know what the next step is. Can you help? Any suggestions from you or your readers what I can do to add value to my life or feel like my life has purpose? Many women would be envious of being able to retire this young, but I don’t really know what to do next …
Signed – Empty Nester in Nevada
Dear Empty Nester:
You are right, I am a bit envious! Working hard as you have for most of your life and making sure your children were taken care of, don’t you think you have earned the right to take care of yourself for a change? You can do anything you want! I think you are probably not used this this!
The things you have to ask yourself is: What do you like to do? What inspires you? Do you have any activities, hobbies or interests that you like now or would like to explore? Is there something you always wanted to try or do when you were younger? (Maybe something like photography, taking a dance class, or going on a cruise?)
Well, now is the time to pursue your dreams and interests further! Take a class, take up a hobby, or travel!
You could also volunteer. Consider sharing your spare time and talents with the local hospital, or nursing home, or consider reading to children at the library or school, or volunteer to serve meals at a local homeless shelter.
You didn’t mention much about your social life. Do you have girlfriends? Now is the time to set up some day trips to have fun with your friends and also maybe some weekend trips with them!
Go on a cruise with your friends or another fun vacation!
Make a fun bucket list, and the sky is the limit! Plan out your next year, and do the things on your bucket list!
Be open to the next stage and possibilities in your life! I know this is going to be wonderful for you!
Readers – any thoughts of fun things to explore or check out for “Empty Nester”?
Thank you for stopping in today! I invite you to email your questions, problems and “life challenges” directly to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to hear from you!
Until next time~