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Tell us a little bit about yourself. (age, # of children and ages, marital status, how long ago you became an empty nester, and anything about you that you think is relevant)
My husband is 75 and I am 70. Our children are 47 and 45. Our eldest left for University at 17 and our youngest at 18.
What were the circumstances of your last child leaving home and what were your initial emotions.?
Our eldest daughter left for university shortly after my husband went away for 10 months to Military College far away. When our youngest went to university my husband was still often away. Living in the country made it seem extra lonely.
Did you make any changes in your lifestyle or living arrangements after you became an empty nester?
I worked and did a few extra shifts to fill in the time. With two away at University, the extra money helped.
What has been the biggest change in your relationships since becoming an empty nester?
With my husband away so much, I became more independent and self-sufficient. When the well pump broke, I had to guess how to fix it. When cars broke down, I had to sort them out. The experience ended up being very good for me in the long term.
What do you think is the most difficult thing about becoming an empty nester?
After being the chauffeur for two teenagers and living in the country, all that extra time weighed heavy on me.
What do you wish you might have known about life as an empty nester?
I wish I had known how many things would turn up to fill in my time. I wish I’d have trusted that everything would work out in the long run.
What advice would you give someone whose last child is about to leave home?
Take it one day at a time. Things evolve and change but you and your adult children will remain close. Find hobbies you enjoy and never stop learning.
What do you think are the advantages of being an empty nester?
You have time to spend doing things you love without guilt.
How has your life changed since your children left home?
Our lives just slowly evolved. I went to university, we moved across the country, and we both expanded our horizons. Our daughters now live half way across the country and we miss them horribly.
Any additional thoughts, comments or advice?
Embrace this change. Be there to support your children but respect their rights to become unique adults. They will make mistakes; your job is to support them when they ask for help. Keep your spouse/partner close and support each other.