I have a new goal: not to fall asleep on the couch by 8 pm on weekends. You see, we are about to become empty nesters as our youngest starts Drexel University in the fall. Our idea of fun has centered around our children for the last 21 years. We’ve been to the fireworks, the zoo, the museums, the beach, the theater, and the aquarium. We’ve taken them swimming, boating, hiking, rock-climbing, sledding, ice skating, go-karting, sightseeing, and more. We’ve taken them everywhere, from the Jersey Shore to the Magic Kingdom to the Grand Canyon. We even went on a Caribbean cruise (pre-pandemic, of course).
It has been fun — so much fun. Some of the most fun I’ve had has been with our kids. They are fun people, but they are seeking out their version of fun without us, as it should be. And now, my husband and I will be on our own again. And I do not want to spend the next 15 years watching tv and falling asleep on the sofa.
So, I’m on the hunt for some fun.
Recently, two couples asked us for dinner and said they wanted to hang out with us more. We have been friends for years but rarely socialize outside our children’s extra-curricular activities or school functions. Now that our kids don’t need us to chaperone or drive them anywhere, we are all looking to expand our friendship circles and try new things. I love this idea. Hanging out with friends is definitely my idea of a good time.
This past weekend was a flurry of activity. Friday night, we saw Top Gun: Maverick at the movie theater. The next day, we took the dog on a car ride to visit my parents. We couldn’t bring grandchildren with us because neither of them was home. I didn’t know we were allowed to come over without at least one grandchild in tow. We watched the Phillies game and brought in Italian food for dinner. On Sunday, we ran errands and did some housework and food shopping before heading out with friends to Longwood Gardens for the evening. And on Monday, we invited my inlaws over for dinner and conversation, which closed out the weekend nicely.
I want more weekends like this. The trick is to plan ahead and put things on the calendar. But also leave room for spontaneity. The possibilities are endless. I want to try new restaurants and listen to live music. Longtime followers of my blog know that exploring and supporting indie bookstores is my idea of a good time. I want to be with people — more so now that I’m working from home and don’t get out much during the week.
I also hope to dedicate some time to my hobbies. I am a writer by trade and hope to be an author someday. I am working on a memoir and looking forward to attending a writer’s conference next month. It will be so nice to learn from and be inspired by other writers who love to read and share their stories.
My husband and I also love to travel. Before the pandemic, we had hoped to go to Italy to celebrate our 50th birthdays. Instead, we are staying on this side of the pond for another year before we travel overseas. When our son recently learned of these plans, he told us he would LOVE to go to Italy. I had to break it to him gently.
I said, “That’s nice, sweetie. I’m sure you’ll get there someday. How about you go to college instead? This is our time.”
This is a new stage of our lives and of course, there is no manual. What have other empty nesters done to find the fun again? Tell me in the comments.