Sunday, June 30, 2013

Reinventing Summer

Empty nesters are masters of reinventing. We reinvent various aspects of our lives all the time. We have to. When the last of our brood grows up and moves out to peruse their first real independence in the world either while attending the college of their choice or going directly into the work force, we are left, after the shock of the quiet wears off, finding ways to fill the empty hours. We have no choice other than to reinvent everything from our daily lives to those times of year that centered around family gatherings. Seasons are no exception. As a matter of fact, summer can be one of the toughest to reinvent.

Gone are the days of piling everyone into the car and driving the three miles to the beach every summer day. Gone are the days of hosting neighborhood, family cookouts and enjoying the kids running around chasing one another and fireflies. Gone are the days of the high pitched shrieks when the cold water of the sprinkler hits home. Gone are the lazy days of lounging around telling stories because it’s too hot to go outside. Gone are the days of playing charades when the power goes out during a summer thunderstorm. Gone are the days where every steamy summer second is chock-full of some sort of family fun related activity complete with excited childhood chatter, giggles and shrieks. 

What’s an empty nester to do? It is simple- we reinvent. We change our perspective. We readjust. And, slowly but surely, we begin to see what it can hold when we can enjoy summer without every single activity being child centered. And we realize, it’s not a bad thing at all.

My empty nest summers are now filled with redecorating, visiting and hosting guests, gardening and canning; photography; reading and writing; walking on the beach and, maybe most importantly, going where I want to go when I want to go. 

Sound boring? It's not. After raising four spectacular daughters, a slow pace is appreciated. So is the quiet. Besides, my summer days are filled with self-discoveries that lead to even more reinventing of summertime fun. Because, when your nest is empty, you have time. Time to learn, to explore and to do.

Summer still holds fun in an empty nest. It’s just different fun. Fun that you will come to treasure almost as much as those summers past. And there will be more times than you might think when the family will visit and surround you with all that summer time noise that will still bring such joy to your soul. If your nest is empty, embrace it. Go forth and reinvent your summer to be one to remember.     


  1. This is such an insightful and important post for those whose lives are in change mode. As you said, the quiet times can be wonderful and not at all boring. Having the opportunity to choose what one will or will not do today can be deeply satisfying. It's so important that people not get trapped in mourning what is now the past, but savor each day as it comes.

  2. Great post. You're right. It's not bad, it's just different. And if we're not prepared that it's going to be different, it can catch us off guard. I want to enjoy this part of life, and not live with 'if only' s, but move forward, as you said, making it memorable.

  3. Thanks, Debby!

    Kathleen- Thanks! It's easy to get in that trap if we're not careful or aware of it.

    Judy- Thanks! You're right- we have to be alert or it will catch us off guard.

  4. In total agreement with you...a time to learn, grow and lve when they return to visit as they learn and grow!...:)JP

  5. Enjoying those reinvented summers :)

    Lucy from Lucy's Reality

  6. Even though I'm not an empty nester because I never had a full nest to begin with...wait, maybe I've been an empty nester all my life...Oh well, either way, I think your summers sound like a lot of fun, even if it's a different kind of fun. I suspect you'll enjoy them a lot :)

  7. I can relate very well. The empty nest is full of wonderful new things to learn and try, and happy memories too. Hope the wedding planning is going well!

  8. Well said and lovely thoughts. I think all of it is true. As I struggle or may I say muddle through this I am finding ever so quietly that I like the new normal.
    I like finding out that Yes, I can live without the kids and I can be me again but first I have to become acquainted and comfortable with me. Does that sound weird? Some days the only voice I hear is what is going on in my head.
    It isn't bad just different. I think I will enjoy it after awhile. It just takes time.
    Glad you wrote this down.

  9. When I retired my goal was to not have to be anywhere at a set time again. And to only spend time with people I liked. That lasted about 3 years and now I'm back to meetings and schedules. Summer is just less busy as seniors have no holidays!

    Enjoy your unstructured and reinvented summer.


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! It makes me feel connected to everyone even though we may live far apart! Have a wonderful day!

Design by Imagination Designs
Illustration by MerryLittleDoodle
Background by CinnamonDove