Our daughter went off to Chicago to go to scholl and stayed there - it's a great city (lots of culture0 and now weove got a great reason to visit. Our sone went into the Navy w.out talking to us about it - relatively instant empty nesthood. It's fine -t he whole goal is to produce competent adults - we seem to have done it. They've both made choices that I wouldn;t have - they're not me - S'OK. They both made mistakes - they'll learn, or not. We're still arounf for advice, frienship, what ever.
What we didn't expect was to become foster grandparent/aunt-uncles to a teen going to a local ressidential school distant from his home, who needed a place to get away from the school periodically. He's a great kid, but not mine. My grandkids are preteens - he's a teen - different relationship w.out the parent child baggage - easier on both parties - also great practice for when the preteens aren't pre any more.
He gets exposure to people who are on the general wavelength as his parents but significantly different m- and little baggage. If he/we blow it he could always write us off - geives us all freedom. Also, many of our co-seniors see the ranks of their friends thin with the years. Adding younger (not always teens) prevents your circle from narrowing and your brain/attitudes from ossifying.
Once the children left home after college, I thought we'd be alone.
Our daughter moved to Australia with her husband but came back after 3 years.
Our son lives an hour away, but is back home several days of the week. So officially
we are empty nesters, but in reality the kids are still here. And I love it.
My husband says, "let's move away so we can be "alone" again. I don't think he really means it.
We chose not to have children and thus have always had an "empty nest". However, my widowed MIL moved in with us a few years ago so our small cottage is a little more cramped than we'd like. But she can't live alone, so until she becomes unable to physically manage, she stays in our front bedroom.
My DH just retired 12/30 last year however. So we have started planning some of the trips we've always wanted to take together. We shall see how MIL handles having to stay with friends (only a few left in the area) or other family (all of whom live up in Canada) while we are off traveling. She won't stay alone in the house, and I'd rather she didn't do that anyway.
She's the sad example of a woman who wrapped her life around others and is now left with no one but her son, whom she doesn't understand, who is caring but in a detached way. Old friends have died or moved away. Without her husband to make friends (and all the decisions) she's proved incapable of making them on her own. He's been gone for 10 yrs and despite all efforts we've made, hasn't made a single new friend on her own despite regular participation at senior center classes for over three years.
She has no life because no one needs her any longer....tragic and pathetic. She has no idea what to do with herself. If left alone she will sit and watch TV all day, or occasionally turn on the computer to play video mahjongg games. She's dropped all her old hobbies and refuses to develop new ones. She's proud of never having read a book since leaving school in the sixth grade.
We have several elderly friends, in contrast, who are vibrant, energetic, alert. They have their medical problems but they continue being upbeat and interesting. Retirement has been just the beginning of a new world for them, one they have embraced wholeheartedly.
We are really excited about this next stage of our lives. DH has already had one serious medical episode so we learned to really value what is important in life - our love, the time we spend together, and doing the things we want to do - some of which cost money and some of which cost nothing at all.
We planned carefully to be able to take retirement young, and want to enjoy traveling while we are physically able. Eventually we'll sell our home, it's the kind of property hard to keep up as one gets old, so that will free up some $$ that we can use for senior housing. Right now I still enjoy gardening, so I don't mind taking care of so many plants, LOL. We live in a beautiful coastal area, where there's a lot to see and do. We've thought about moving elsewhere, but for now it doesn't make much sense.
My immediate family all live within 10 miles of us. The next generation is married and having babies, so no reason for us to go anywhere until we decide to sell the house. It's been completely remodeled and updated, so we have all we need to live comfortably, if not lavishly. We consider ourselves fortunate. I'm so thankful my DH was able to recover almost completely, and keep working long enough to earn a good pension and retiree benefits. A lot of our friends haven't been so lucky, and will have to keep working at least another 5-10 yrs.
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