We just passed our one month anniversary of being official empty nesters. It’s weird. For over twenty years we’ve looked forward to being young, kid free, financially secure, with the world open to us. Nothing is ever what you think, the image people have of empty nesters doing their thing is usually something like this:
50-something, perfectly sipping wine while on vacation in Tuscany or RV-ing across the United States, happily spending their kids’ inheritance.
But honestly, so far, it feels a bit more like this:
Just teetering into our 40’s, sipping kombucha and coffee, scouring budget travel websites dreaming of our next trip. And our kids’ inheritance? What’s that again?
It’ll all come. We had kids young, we finished young. We knew we had plenty of time to plan in between. Who knew it would happen so fast?
We’re an odd demographic. Most of our friends our age still have young kids in the house, and there is very little out there about Gen X empty nesters. Yep, I even googled it for kicks. The result? Most articles talked about “when Gen Xers SOMEDAY become empty nesters…” Well guys, we’re there! I’m not looking for advice, everyone’s journey and plan is different, but I love research. I didn’t know we’d be some of the pioneering “researchers”. I know there are a lot of us out there…but maybe it’s the whole Gen X stereotype that we just go with the flow, and really don’t care. Ignorance is bliss.
The early days of empty nesting often include the excitement of “Oh, it’s back to just the two of us again!” Thing is, when Dan and I married, it never was just the two of us. This is the first time we’ve ever lived together without kids. Samantha was already on the way, so we were already in parent mode. So this is new, unchartered territory for us. It’s exciting, but now that it’s here, it looks different than I would have thought. We’ve always tried to put our marriage and relationship first, but now I’m realizing that no matter how hard we tried, the kids always took priority. As low maintenance as they were, it just naturally happens.
Inital report? It’s been pretty great. It feels like we’ve returned to our college years, not something I would have expected. Here are some of the perks we’ve discovered:
We can eat in front of the TV whenever we want and not feel guilty.
Cereal is a perfectly acceptable dinner choice.
Ice cream is a perfectly acceptable breakfast choice.
You can sleep in on the weekends guilt-free.
Heck, you can stay in bed all weekend if you want.
You can stay out late without “permission” or planning.
You can go on spontaneous trips, dates, etc.
We put 21 years into having kids at home, and doing simple, optimistic math, we might have another 40+ years to go, just the two of us. So, it might be our biggest adventure yet! We’ll let you know how it goes!