The Best Is Yet To Come: Becoming An Empty Nester

On the fourth Friday of every month, the women of a local organization I belong to get together for a very informal Happy Hour…or hours as the case may be…hey don’t judge! It’s an awesome way for us to connect with each other in a very non-business setting. The guys meet up as well on the fourth Thursday, but I’m guessing they talk a lot of business with a little sports thrown in for good measure.  Us ladies, well, you just never know where the conversations will go.TBBO ladies night

Side note: TBBO aka Tampa Bay Business Owners is an awesome organization. Check it out by clicking here

While our motto has always been “what happens at ladies night, stays at ladies night”, the discussion this past Friday has been in my head so that means only one thing…write a blog about it. The question of the night…we always have one, you know, as an ice breaker kind of thing…not that we really need it but still…

If you could stay at a certain age forever,

what age would it be and why?

Not surprisingly, no one picked an age under 25. Let’s face it, no one wants to relive the teenage years. And anything that happened between 18 and 25 was just preparation for becoming a real adult.  I think only one person said an age in her late twenties, a few in their early thirties but the vast majority were 40 and beyond.

Yep, mixed in with our quest for the fountain of youth, it does seem most of us are quite content with mid-life and beyond.

If you asked me before I sat on the Howard Frankland Bridge for over an hour on the way home from a soccer tournament a little over a week ago, I definitely would have said 39. It was the age at which I…

  • got divorced, not that I’m advocating getting one but for me it did turn out to be for the best
  • went back to work after being a SAHM for 7 years at what was probably the best job I ever had (and for those not up on your internet slang SAHM means stay at home mom
  • met my current husband
  • and, last but certainly not least, felt like I had control over my life for the first time in over a dozen years which kind of explains the divorce 

So what changed my mind about the age I would like to forever be while sitting in a ridiculous amount of traffic after a very long weekend? If you read my previous blog, you may recall that my son had his last soccer game two Sundays ago. It is one of the many “lasts” that I am experiencing with him before he graduates from high school at the end of May and heads off to college in June (yes, June…lucky guy gets to start in the summer).  And that means my husband and I will officially be empty nesters. Sure our kids will always be our kids, but for the most part we’re done with all of the child rearing years.

Can you say happy dance?

Look, I could sit here and tell you I’m sad over how quickly the years have gone by and I want to turn back the hands of time, do some things over again, blah blah blah. The truth is, though, I really am ok with being 52 and I’m sure I’ll be ok when I’m 62, 72, 82 and 92. I have longevity on both sides of my family so I intend to live that long…sorry kids.

My husband and I have spent a lot of time lately talking about our plans for the indefinite future. Some of the conversations have been filled with dreams of extended travel while others have dealt with the not so fun estate planning stuff. We are getting ready to downsize (in fact, I’m in the midst of the #GreatPurge2015 but that will have to be a topic for another blog) and I can’t wait! The plan is to move to a different area of Tampa Bay which we have yet to agree on where that will actually be, but it will definitely be as maintenance free as possible.

I actually asked the same “pick an age” question the following night to a group of friends and everyone responded pretty much the same as my revised age or should I say symbolic time in our lives. Our kids are moving on, we feel financially secure by our own individual definitions and we are definitely going to embrace growing old.

Seriously, what’s the alternative?

funny-old-people-quotes2

That’s it for now…#BlackerOut

27 Comments

Filed under Call Me Crazy, Empty Nester

27 responses to “The Best Is Yet To Come: Becoming An Empty Nester

  1. Well, Beth, it seems as though I’m a couple of years ahead of you in this area. So here are some thoughts: empty nesters–embrace it! I also felt a little guilty for being, shall we say, less than bereft at the departure of AJ three years ago. And here’s why: they never really leave. They just grow up and become more interesting! I took the opportunity to do stuff I had always thought about but felt I didn’t have the time. I became a Guardian ad Litem, which is the most amazing volunteer work I’ve ever done (and we know I’ve done a lot). There’s something about helping kids who really need it that gives you perspective. Then I became a realtor. I did not see that coming, but I love it. We downsized, and moved to a totally different part of the area, and are living a totally different lifestyle. We went from our house on the lake in Odessa, to a high rise condo in south Tampa. The most important thing I can tell you from experience is, it takes time. It took us about two years to pare down until we were ready to sell. While it’s true that growing old is not for sissies, we are trying to own it rather than deny it. And realizing that we still have a few chapters to write in our lives is energizing. It helps you to take those first few painful steps every morning to get the joints moving. We should talk! If you and Stan are looking to make a move, Jason and I would love to help you out. And I could really use some input on increasing our online exposure. I love the work you’re doing!

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    • Wow Kellie…being a GAL is such a noble thing…good for you!!! And I had no idea you had become a Realtor! We definitely need to talk. And thanks for the sage advice. As I said, I think I’m ready to embrace the empty nest. Truth be told, my kids have always had one foot out the door. They went back and forth between my house and their father’s every other week and spent their summers away usually so I’ve gotten used to them coming and going. It is, though, a much more permanent feeling at this juncture and making some of the big changes (ie downsizing) definitely feels right.

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  2. I have yet TO nest LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hollyjeantampa

    Your baby is leaving the nest?! I can only imagine that time will fly between now and when my little Gracie is that age… WOW! Sounds like a great group of ladies– what fun you’re having! Cheers to long and happy lives 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My children are long grown up but when my son was just old enough to go by himself to a little gift shop a few blocks away, he surprised me with a little plastic thingy on a tiny easel that said something like “Mothers are not to lean on but to show you that leaning isn’t necessary.” That’s pretty close to what it said and I’ve never forgotten, though I can’t lay my hands on it today, how happy I was that he knew that. I’ve lived a lot of decades and all of them have been interesting in different ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think my favorite age is what I am today. Sure, I can look back on the past with nostalgia, and into the future with hope, but I’m enjoying my journey; each day is a gift.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well I’m 54 and still have my daughters at home! Both were in college and then took some time off and have recently returned to finish up. I am definitely looking forward to the empty nest year and not because I don’t enjoy my daughters, quite the contrary. I have a fantastic relationship with them and thoroughly enjoy their company as young adults. I suppose what makes me eager for those years to enjoy those years with my husband as a couple and not so much as parents! We’re about a year and half away!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s very unlikely either of my kids are going to return. One is heading to NYC after she graduates in December and the other claims he is going to Colorado. But there will be no room at Casa Blacker if either decides to come back…we are going Robert Mondavi in Napa…a one bedroom house.
      Just kidding…sort of 🙂

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  7. I’m actually dreading the older years (My kids older years), especial;y the girls being teens (yikes). My wife I know would love to freeze their growth and keep them the ages they are now, forever. They are older, more independent and really fun to be around and have conversations with but still kids 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Having no children, I can’t relate to your empty-nester condition, but I will say that every age has it’s compensations. Re “what age would you be,” I think the saddest thing is to see grown-ups say the best years of their life were high school.

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    • OMG…I can’t imagine ever thinking high school would be anyone’s best years! I suppose if you were super popular and found out no employer was going to care if you were voted best dressed reflecting back to those days may be your salvation. Fortunately, I don’t have those memories to fall back on 🙂

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  9. Being in an empty nester is a reality. I agree with you that we have to embrace it.

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  10. My eldest son went off to University 3 years ago now and I thought it would be easy to keep in touch regularly. Boy was I in for a shock, he very rarely charged his mobile and for some reason Skype was always playing up(his end) With the invention of Skype and mobile phones you would think it easy to keep in touch.
    It was also difficult because he has Aspergers and this made it difficult for him.
    Having a younger son at home and running my own business kept me busy which helped. It’s been a long 3 years, he is still at Uni but at least we have regular contact now.

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    • Yeah, communication is definitely not a college student’s strong suit even with all of the technology available today! Glad your son is doing well and before you know it, your other one will be gone too!

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  11. I don’t have children but I admire all of you who do. You’ve done an admirable job raising them and now they’ve got their own adventures ahead to jump on. Way to go, Mom. Now, go have some more fun yourself.

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  12. Vicky

    I’ve had a great time so far but like to think my best years are still to come.

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  13. Both my boys are flown the coop, gotten married and now I’m a grand mom (or Birdy as they call me). I’m 44 and loving this empty nest. We rent a room out to a girl, so I have someone at the house if the hubby is away. Works out perfectly. Now I have time to kayak,walk, and backpack with my husband. It’s truly a wonderful experience all around as the kids all keep in touch via texts, pictures and visits.
    Best of luck with the grand purge. 😅

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