23 Replies Latest reply on Dec 13, 2010 10:14 AM by heyjude328

    Alone in the  Empty Nest

    SandraIrene
      It looks like I will spend my retirement years "alone" in the empty nest.  I am still working full time, play golf and have other interests but am concerned about life after retirement when I don't have the structure of a job or someone close by as a companion.   I am having difficulty accepting this.  I try to reach out to others and create interesting activities but at the end of the day, I still dwell on this.  Help.....
        • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
          Rubiosa

          Having companions and close friends is important to some, and others (myself included) require a lot of solitude. Most large cities have retirement communities with all kinds of clubs (book, investment, bridge, etc.). I'll move to  nearby Robson Ranch in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area if I ever get bored. They have country club, golf course, greenbelt hiking trails, a huge athletic club, etc., etc., and the prices are coming down fast. A small home there today costs $190K minus 10-15% depending upon your haggling expertise.

          I find retirement totally liberating and while I had a productive career, I do not miss it in the least.

            • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
              Sharon

              I love retirement, but miss the teaching so keep my hand in by tutoring a few students. That keeps me young.

              Marriage is better since I see more of my husband and we actually have TIME for each other...like young lovers all over again.

              My aging parents lived to their mid 90's without any help from me...independent till the last few months of life. I hope I will be as fortunate as they  to live in my own home into my 90's on my own, independent-- no retirement place for me!

              I love the freedom of no time constrictions...free to camp in the wilderness, ride a bike anywhere I please, ski in the winter while the students are in school, and just wander around the world, enjoying what it has to offer.

              When my husband retires, we will move to Monterey county to be near the ocean. Since it is such an expensive area, we will just get a little 1bedroom cottage by the sea, get rid of the cars, and walk everywhere!

               

            • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
              Carolina47
              I am also "alone" in my empty nest being a widow.  I still work full time, go to Curves, out to dinner with friends and travel with friends.  I have reconnected with Sorority Sisters from college and we are always planning something to do.  I would suggest you look around at your friends now and discuss with them what they are going to do during retirement....find a travel buddy.  I also wondered what I was going to do until I reached out to friends and family.  Hang in there....I also wonder what I will do with an entire day free of structure but I now know that I will find something to do.....
              • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
                bj_hopeful
                Hi,  I am not currently alone, but I face difficulty due to my husbands health issues, and the possibilty of losing him at a fairly young age.  We've had a doctor tell him he would not have given him the ten years we've now shared that many years ago.  So you are not alone!  But Friends are the key!  Friends and maybe even roommates.  Girlfriends or guy friends that can share your living space.  Old friends that come and visit or you visit works the same.  Family connections, siblings, nieces and nephews become another resource if children are not a part of your life.  So keep in touch with friends and family far and near!  Or make new friends or open your home and your heart to someone who needs a place and some space! 
                  • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
                    margo

                    Hopeful, you have a whole different set of issues with health.  I have taken care of my mother so I do understand to some degree.  However, living alone is different again.  I agree with keeping busy, learning new things, cultivating friends, maybe volunteering, etc.  I myself try to do those things, plus I still work.  But at the end of the day, say about 2:00 a.m. when it seems like you are alone in the world, it is still hard.  I own my own home, but it wouldn't be condusive to getting a roommate and even if I was willing to move-in with someone else, it would be hard to make that upheaval just for the sake of not being alone.  I think the best thing, besides friends and family, is to always have something to learn and/or something to look forward to.   I find that is a great distraction and can be quite rewarding. My other thing is to work on my health (always room for improvement) and keep exercising, which in my case, is usually walking. 

                  • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
                    seaoats7
                    After my husband and I had been retired for several years I had the shock of my life when he suddenly announced after 37 years of marriage that he wanted to leave our marriage. I, as well as our families and friends , thought we had an ideal marriage. Many told me they aspired to a marriage like ours. He had been a wonderful husband, father and community member. He'd made no mention of being unhappy or dissatisfied. Evidently there were things going on within him that he never expressed and they suddenly overwhelmed him. I experienced a type of post-traumatic stress and sought the help of a psychologist to help me accept the situation and learn to function as a single senior. I am extremely grateful for the help I received. I now am able to experience moments of joy in every day and can identify things for which I am grateful every night. I acknowledge these things aloud before I go to bed each evening, which gives me a  feeling of contentment and peace. I sleep better because of this practice. Friends, volunteer work, grandchildren, attending local functions (sometimes alone, if I can't find a buddy), traveling with Elderhostel groups, and becoming appreciative of the freedom of living alone and being in charge of my own life have been among the many foci of my new life. I've been alone now for about 6 years and my life is full and meaningful. The sadness of being alone raises its head occasionally because I, too, miss having a special someone with whom to share the day's events at the end of each day. Therapy has helped me process this loss and face the world as a single person in a meaningful and satisfying way. If you find that your sadness is deep and pervasive over time, I encourage you to seek professional help. In my opinion, therapy is for the courageous; ignoring the value of therapy is often a sign of weakness and lack of courage. A satisfying life demands being courageous! I wish you well and hope that you'll soon be able to embrace your new status.
                    • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
                      DenisEnglish
                      I'm not really retired as I am paid to write...but I ended up empty nesting about 2 months ago. Everything was fine. Then my son got married and my wife divorced me and I found myself alone in this world with no obligations (my son is a physician), no responsibilities, an adequate income at 62 years old; no pets, no friends really, no family (son is doing a residency in cold Michigan; I live in FLorida and probably always will. I really need to find a partner...Something about me can't live alone. I am OK financially and emotionally, well I thiink. I looked at some options...social clubs, whatever. But I am a bit "different" so that is going to be a difficult challenge.
                        • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
                          piratelinda

                          I'm not retired yet, but I'm feeling the same empty nest blues. At 51, I'm home alone. Life is now an altered reality. After living your life always taking care of someone, to find yourself alone, is quite the challenge. Divorced, kids gone, I too want to find that special someone to share life with. I know I need to make that big step, but...

                            • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
                              Guiselle

                              I don't think I ever been alone in my life until now. I am enjoying it to no end. Being alone for the first time in my life has made me realize that now I can do all the "me" things I couldn't do before. My family always came first and I almost forgot "me".

                              Life is good!!

                               

                              • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
                                indigogirl17

                                I felt the same way when my son grew up.  I had him late, so he is 21 and I am 58.  He still "lives" at home but is his own man now, as it should be.  At first I thought of adopting a child, because I really enjoyed motherhood, but decided I was too old to start over:)!  So I applied to Big Brothers and Big Sisters and was just recently matched with a 7 year old girl.  I never had daughters, so this has been a learning experience for me.  We are having fun and building rapport right now and this fills a need for me and helps her at the same time.  I still teach full-time, but I have started taking on some other volunteer opportunities.  My classes, son and I have adopted a portion of highway through ODOT to keep litter-free and we do that 4 times a year.  I have always been involved in church and can do a little more now in my Episcopal Church. And I spend a lot of time with my two rescue dogs, Darby and Charley.  Hope this is of help.  Think of this as a new start for you as a woman and as an individual to develop new interests.  Blessings!

                                ps.  I'm also learning how to crochet!

                              • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
                                heyjude328
                                This sounds much like my situation.  The same semester my youngest child turned 18 and graduated from college her dad decided he wanted a new life, asked for a divorce and took a job in another location.  Five years later my daughters both live 120 miles away while the rest of my family lives out of state.  I married right out of college, so am on my own for the very first time.  I spent the first year just re-discovering who I once was, having been in a relationship/marriage for over 30 years, wife, mother, and always a full-time worker, attempting to be some kind of Donna Reed -- perfect at everything I did.  It was an impossible burden.  But the divorce left me with a lot of shattered friendships, other couples we'd been close to that felt the need to take sides or keep their distance.  Two years ago my father passed away, another hazard of growing older. Instead of being the child that was comforted when my husband left, I now find myself caring for my mother.  Through all this I have come to know an intense loneliness that is most accute as winter and the holidays approach.  Being single is both a blessing and a curse, and finding one's way through all these life changes takes an enormous energy that many days leaves me drained. 
                                  • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
                                    Stay around positive people, cry when you want, and don't let anyone tell you get over it.  Take the time that you need to have a short pitty party, ( SHORT)-   Spoil yourself, take long walks, get a make over, and  listen to relaxing music. Take that trip you always wanted to take . Pray and ask God for directions for your life, and know that you are deserve the best that life has to offer, dont sell yourself short.
                                    • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
                                        Hi, I know I get alot of fellowship and pleasure from attending church. I don't know if your into that,  but I found that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ far superceeds any human relationship. Some call it a crutch, but I think not. I was a tough guy before I found the Lord, a police officer, a former U.S. Marine, now I'm in the medical field. Don't despair there are some wonderful people out there. Pray about it and see where it leads you. Good luck and God bless.
                                        • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
                                          heyjude328
                                          Thank you for a very kind note.  I'm glad that you have found peace.  My ex was a minister who made use of the church and fellow clergy and bishop to publically divorce me.  So I have an aversion to anything having to do with organized religion these days.  I have joined a secular students org at the college where I work and that has been a good group for me.  Continued happiness and success to you.
                                            • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
                                                Sorry to hear all that heyjude, unfortunately man is still sinful no matter what! It's ashame when persons hide behind organized religion to pull off their shameful acts. I don't want to preach at you I'm sure it's the last thing you want to hear. Don't give up on God just yet, remember it was sinful man, not a loving God that did this. So get to know "Him"(God) again through reading your bible and private prayer. I'm sure you will see a difference in your self soon. Regards,

                                              -Jerry
                                          • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest

                                            Hi...

                                            My situation is a little different but the results are similar...I lost my wife to early Alzheimer's...took a while to get adjusted...what got me through was a village of people/friends...the kindness of people continues to amaze me...a suggested solution: friends, friends, friends...AND volunteer for activities which interest you...

                                            Pete

                                             

                                              • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
                                                portlandapd

                                                The difficulties expressed by the many posts here are exactly why I have moved to co-housing. I live at Daybreak Co-housing in Portland, Oregon. I have my own apartment, and thus, have all the solitude I choose to have. But I also live in a very close-knit community. I see my neighbors regularly, and we have regular activities and meetings and meals so I am involved with them nearly every day. We share a large Common House with a commerical kitchen and large dining area. We have meals about twice a week, right now at a very reasonable $5 per meal. Last night we hosted the neighborhood's holiday party. A local church's movie discussion group has met in our Common House, and next Sunday we are planning a cookie baking party. We have all ages, from a 16 month old to a 75 year old. When I need help I can find someone with the right knowledge -- from how to fix a computer glitch to what to plant in the yard. We pooled all of our tools, so now I have a very complete workshop at my disposal, but also multiple neighbors to recommend how to go about a project.

                                                I think co-housing is perfect for those of us of retirement age who find ourselves on our own, but who still want to be more connected in a regular way with others. There are co-housing groups all across the country. Check them out!

                                                Laura

                                                www.DaybreakCohousing.org

                                                 

                                                • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
                                                  heyjude328

                                                  I'm so sorry to hear about your wife.  My mother-in-law had the disease and so I do understand what you went through in that short time.  Yes, friends!  Bless them.  A good job helps.  And I do volunteer at my college and in the community and I believe in getting outside yourself in that way.  And it's fun!  I send my best.

                                              • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
                                                Samantine
                                                Denis,
                                                  If you've been alone for only 2 months after a divorce, give yourself the gift of some time to sort out how the wheels came off, get your soft tissues recovered from the bruises, and sort out who YOU are after, presumably, many years of marriage. It's easier to find a soul mate if you know who you are (and you, alone, are different from the you-that-was-married to what's-her-name). Give yourself time and patience to explore; it'll work much better that way than rebound!
                                                Good luck!
                                                Sam
                                                • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
                                                  strawberrysally

                                                  I would recommend that you not rush into any relationship soon after a divorce.  I hear you that you want to have a social life and do things.  Have you thought of  volunteering for something that you think you would like.  You can get matched up online with Volunteer match and other places.  Some ideas are the library,  a food bank, a local school , hospital.  If you are busy doing things maybe some of the other areas of concern will fall into place.  Another good thing to do is to take a class at the local adult education.  Good Luck.

                                                • Re: Alone in the  Empty Nest
                                                  Marite

                                                  The Empty nest is hard to fill even if you have grandchildren. Volunteering is probably the most useful activity if you are interested in what you are doing. Having good health is very important so doing things to keep healthy is paramount to a good retirement. Exercise can be fun, and being with other people in the same condition helps a lot. Zumba is a great exercise to get involve in. You exercise while dancing. The only problem here is how good a dancer you are, but even if you are not it is still fun. Having a companion also helps, but sometimes we can't find the right person. My last comment is to continuie working for as long as you can.