It’s incredibly fulfilling to raise children and equip them to live independently. It can also be depleting as you frequently put them first to help them thrive in school, sports, and hobbies. But now, your time is here (or will be here soon)! You can enjoy some empty nester freedoms that maybe you haven’t had in a while and begin a new chapter focused on your happiness. We’ve outlined some steps that we’ve taken during this transition below and hope that they’ll help you make your next chapter the best one yet.

Imagine your future self

It’s fun to daydream! You can be anyone you want to be. If you had unlimited options, how would you describe your best self a year from now? How does your best self spend their day? Where do they travel? What kind of cuisine do do they eat? What do they wear?

When I completed this exercise a year ago, I imagined my best self walking on the beach at least once a week, taking hot yoga classes, reading murder mysteries, getting most of her food from local farms, becoming a wine connoisseur, and spontaneously hosting get togethers. I NEVER did these things during my younger mom years. Over the last year, I’m happy to say that I’ve been making progress in all of these areas and having a blast!

Seize the day and don’t delay

Once you have a sense for who you’d like to be in this next phase of life, it’s time to begin the transition from your current life to your new one! It’s all too easy to slip into a new ho-hum routine, even in empty nestdom. You may be thinking that it’s tough to make time for the new you without eliminating some of the old. I heard a great podcast recently from Jody Moore on “The Power of Quitting.” In essence, she explains that it can be helpful to imagine yourself quitting a variety of obligations, hobbies, jobs, etc. that may not be serving your best self. How would it make you feel to quit? What would be the short and long-term consequences? What opportunities would open up? Is there an alternative way to continue with this item that brings you more into alignment? It’s time to consider what you truly want and move in that direction.

Try mini-experiments

Perhaps you think that you’d love to be a stand-up paddleboarder, but you’ve never tried it. Before investing in an SUP and gear, rent one a few times or try an inflatable. Do you fantasize about downsizing into a tiny home or houseboat and traveling the country? Tiny living looks great on tv, but you might want to try it temporarily before selling your home. Try out everything that interests you and see what sticks. Even try things totally out of your comfort zone.

A few years back, I was craving a new creative outlet. I had visions of becoming an incredible painter, so I signed up for lessons, invested in paints and canvases, and gave it a whirl. Well, painting turned out to be so much harder for me than I thought it would be! I then pivoted to decorating, which is my primary creative outlet now, and I love it with a passion.

Automate the bliss

I created a bliss list. It’s composed of the top 20 activities that truly light me up. For a while I would use it in this way — if I was having a tough day, I would go to the bliss list and pick something to do, and that would instantly perk me up. But, then I took it a step further and started automating these items, because more fun is what being an empty nester is all about!

For instance, I began scheduling a weekly get-together with friends to go for a sunrise walk on the beach. I made reservations once a week for a romantic date night. I signed up for a 6-week wine 101 class. I joined a local food council to help our community gain access to healthy meals. I began to weave my favorite activities into new routines that keep the joy front and center.

Be bold

I’ve outlined some small ways to make this chapter of life happy and fulfilling. But sometimes, a big, bold step can bring the most reward. Many of our real estate clients in the last year have been new empty nesters. They’ve moved from all over the country to the coast of North Carolina so that they can be out in nature all year long and enjoy boating, fishing, biking, and beaching. They enjoy entertaining their friends and children in their new coastal homes. Sometimes a big change of scenery is exactly the jump start you need to your next chapter.

Or, maybe you love where you live, but you’ve always dreamed of starting a business or blog, or renovating a home, or going back to school. This is the perfect time to listen to your inner voice and align your life to your core values. “The doors will be opened to those who are bold enough to knock.” Tony Gaskins

In the event that you’re considering an empty-nest move to NC’s Crystal Coast, please give us a call. We’re living our best lives and would love to connect!