Parents often approach this phase with a mix of dread and excitement.
Parents often approach the empty nest phase with a mix of dread and excitement.

The definition of an empty nester is a parent whose child has grown up and moved out of their home. Active adults and retirees enter this stage in their lives with mixed emotions. On the one hand, they are finally free to do what they want. But on the other hand, they wonder how they will fill all their free time. Finding ways to fulfill your home and time can be easy once you discover what you want to do. There are a variety of activities, hobbies, and things to do that can help you enjoy being an empty nester. Here are some useful suggestions.

One of the first things an empty nester notices is that they have more free time and a home that’s less crowded than before. Occupied rooms will now look like storage spaces for their children’s memorabilia. Empty nesters should take this time to explore whether or not they want to repurpose those rooms into something new like a craft and hobby room, exercise room, private office, or guest room. Retirees will be able to enjoy their new space as well as the peace and quiet of their home to do as they please.

Downsizing can also be another option for empty nesters. You can save money in the long run by avoiding high costs of maintaining a larger home. Typically, large single-family homes with two-story living might not be the ideal residence for an active adult or empty nester. The extra space is an inconvenience when it comes to exterior-home care. Sometimes it’s better to downsize into a smaller single-family home with one-story living or a condo. Often downsizing can mean fewer expenses, allowing you to spend more on hobbies and other interests.

Empty nesters may have the option to relocate to an area where the cost of living is more affordable, where the climate is more enjoyable, or to live among their peers in an active adult community. The benefit of living in an active adult neighborhood allows you to share similar interests in a socially engaging environment with other empty nesters. A great option would be to move into an active adult community that has an established homeowners’ association that takes care of lawn maintenance and provides a clubhouse with great amenities. Active adult communities like Sun City Grand and On Top of the World feature world-class amenities, low-maintenance homes, and a long list of clubs, activities, and events that keep residents entertained all year long.

Traveling is a lot easier when the kids have left the nest. You can take that vacation you’ve always wanted without having to work around school schedules or meetings. The lack of prior obligations allow empty nesters to explore exotic locations and countries they’ve never visited due to the high costs of traveling with a large family or not being able to find childcare.

Having more free time to pursue individual interests and hobbies is also a great benefit of being an empty nester. Retirees and active adults can choose to go back to school, learn a new skill, or pick up a hobby. They have more free time to write a memoir, participate in a book club, create a masterpiece of artwork, or perfect their gardening techniques.

Empty nesters can get reacquainted with their spouse or significant other. Now that the kids are gone, they have more quiet and alone time. Taking this moment to reconnect with your significant other without the daily distractions of children and their schedules can be fun and interesting. Couples can have adult conversations without interruptions or go to the movies to watch whatever they want. Empty nesters can go on dates and reconnect as two adults. They can reminisce about the past and make plans for the future to do as they please.

If you're an empty nester, what has been your favorite part about it? If you're waiting to become an empty nester, what are you planning to do with your free time? Share in the comments below!