Tuesday, March 22, 2011


When I thought about how to sum up the first year’s experience of living in an empty nest in only one word, my initial response was EMPTY.  Upon further reflection, however, I realized that the word ‘empty’ only relates to the girls not living at home not to the actual experience of living in this empty nest of ours.  A better word to sum it up is ‘different.’  

Obviously, our home is different with only two of us living here as opposed to six (then five, then four, etc).  The bedrooms are different because the girls have taken almost all of their possessions with them and I have made some changes in those rooms.  One bedroom has become a guest room and the other is now my study.  Further changes are coming that will make them even more different-fresh coats of paint, new curtains and rugs- are all in the works.  The noise level is certainly different.  It’s quieter now.  And we’ve really come to appreciate….enjoy….ok, we LOVE it.  We really notice this when everyone comes home.   Calling them LOUD would be an understatement.  They have the television blaring so they can hear it over the conversations.  The conversations get louder to be heard over the television and, well, it becomes a vicious cycle of constantly increasing volumes.  Of course someone is going to grab the dobro and start playing it as well and it may be coupled with some singing so, at some point, there could, quite possibly, be tv, conversations, dobro playing and singing all going on at the same time.  Oh, and then Breezy might decide to play with Tucker and start squeaking his favorite ball which makes him start barking… So, without using any powers of imagination at all, it’s easy to grasp an understanding as to why we don’t get teary eyed when they all leave anymore- which is also different.  Oh, we’ll miss them, but we also miss the quiet when they are here.  

Taking on a hobby is different because the amount of free time is different.  Instead of having a daughter (or two or three or four) fill up our hours for us, Hubs and I can now fill the time as we please (which my selfish nature ADORES).  My favorite new hobby is photography and I combine it with birding.  Who would have ever thought this would be so satisfying?!  Who had the time to make the discovery before empty nest?  Hubs doesn't have any new hobbies yet.  He's still busy with his all time favorite hobby of annoying me.  We have filled our time with a garden- three raised beds and one fenced in area for the squash.  Good thing we have all this time now though, because I have to spend many hours trying to figure out where I went wrong and got very little other than peppers and tomatoes.  I’m spending this gardening season searching for that elusive green thumb.  My flowers, however, were beautiful!  I plan to apply the ‘square foot gardening theory’ to our raised beds this year.  AND I won’t start from seeds anymore until we get the greenhouse up- also something different now that we have the time (of course, it will take Hubs several more years of talking about doing it before he actually put some action with those words).  I’ve had the time to organize all sorts of things in the house that have been living in chaos for the 23 years we’ve been in this house (and by organized I mean that I moved the chaos around so that it doesn’t look quite so…chaotic).  I had time to start a blog! I had time to hand-make everyone a gift for Christmas last year.  I had time to learn how to knit scarves, hats, fingerless gloves, baby blankets and sweaters and SOCKS!  When it comes down to it, Hubs and I now do what we want, when we want, where we want.  This freedom from time constraints and schedules is not only quite pleasing and easy to get accustomed to, it’s also liberating.  

We are now in the second half of our second year of an empty nest and the word I would choose now could very well be: adjusted.  Or, at least, almost adjusted.  Hubs and I have worked hard to find ourselves in this empty nest called home.  And we’re nearly there.  I’m looking forward to more and more discoveries—all related to the positives of having an empty nest.   

This is the 22nd day of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) for the month of March. The theme for this month is: in a word! My chosen word for today is: DIFFERENT.


  1. And I for one am really pleased you decided to take up blogging. Yes, I know what you mean. Empty can be a good empty...my bathroom certainly smells better these days without son ponging the place out all the time.
    Lovely post. I wish you many many more years of finding fun things to do too.
    By the way that is a super dooper cartoon to accompany the post. Gee you're good at this.

  2. I can SO relate to this post! Liberating - that's the perfect word to describe how it feels. I expected to feel at-loose-ends, aimless and maybe even depressed. But liberating? That surprised me.

  3. Empty Nest scares me and makes me cry. I know in time I too will adjust but I'm happy in this time and moment I don't have to worry about being alone. Oh I have Jim so not really alone but still, alone. Mike and I have so much in common and I know it's just how I raised him, with all the great outdoor stuff where Jim hates it unless it to work on something. I like play and some work, Jim like no play and all work. I know in time we'll adjust but for now empty nest scares me.
    I love your posts, keep them coming. Take care my friend and have a blessed afternoon.

  4. the longer I am an empty nester the more I want to downsize quickly to a loft in the downtown area where I can walk or bicycle to anywhere I want to go and I could grow my container veggies on the roof :-)

  5. The longer I am an empty nester the more I want to move into a city loft where I can walk or bicycle anywhere I want to go and still be able to grow my container veggie's on the roof :-)

  6. Carol-It's not just boys that can stink/mess up a bathroom--trust me on that one! LOL Thanks for the encouragement. I'm running on 'empty' right now with the writing.

    Kara- It took me well into my second year, but liberation was sitting here waiting on me!

    Julie- It has taken well into the second year for me to reach this point. It's not easy at first, but you come to appreciate it.

    Jeff- YES! I have been trying to simplify since the last one moved out. It's a slow go, but once I get there- smooth sailing!

  7. I love all the positive points in your post today, and glad that you are getting 'adjusted'! Like you, I really enjoy the peace and quiet, although I am fortunate enough to see one of my daughters with her two young grandchildren a couple of times a week. It's wonderful to be able to do what you want to do, when you want to do it. I have also found blogging, and I absolutely love it. Good post.

  8. See, I told you, you and hubbs would like it. We love, love, love, have the family over, but it is so nice when everyone goes home and the house is quiet.


  9. I was about to ask you if you had a hobby. I've always sewn or did crafts of some kind. It won't fill up your days, but it does help.
    I only had 2 children, and they left at different times.
    Now when everyone is here at one time, including the grands, we cherish our quiet time after they leave. LOL
    It's just a matter of what you get adjusted to, and it's different as you get older.

  10. It's good to read your positive account of the empty nest. Ours is still full, for a few more years, and a huge part of me dreads the empty. But now you've given me hope it will all be ok. Different, but ok.

  11. This-I'm glad I'm finally getting adjusted too! We still see our college babies at least once every week when they come over for supper...and bring their friends! LOL

    Susan- And it only took me a year and a half! LOL

    Shirley-Very good point!

    Mimi-It won't be all that great at first, if you're like me. But after that first year, it gets much better!

  12. Different is a good word to use, gosh I have been an empty nester for 14+ years and it now fits me like a glove. Yes, I miss the days of having those six little bodies giving me hugs everyday and the constant hustle and bustle of a growing family.
    However, now our life is our own. We can enjoy the family and when they go home, the quiet settles over us like a cozy comforter. We breathe that audible sigh, look at each other and smile....knowing we have some great kids.

  13. Glad to know that the transition of your last year is becoming more enjoyable as time goes by.

  14. Okay, call me a selfish one...but I looked forward to the retirement days and the empty nest. And both our kids know how much we enjoy the solitude. Of course the lifestyle changed drastically overnight, but as you say, the quiet is always there, and it's wonderful. We too have changed the extra bedrooms into a library/office and the other, a guest room. And flowers...love to garden. Oh and birdwatching -- I remember the days when I WAS A TEEN wondering what the fascination was in watching birds...now I TRAVEL to see 'em. Go figure.

    It was a pleasure having you visit with me yesterday.
    My Wednesday blog is:
    Black Night Heron
    Your company is always a special treat.


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