How To Find Fulfillment as an Empty Nester
Dear Selfless Esteem,
Hello! 😊 How do I find myself again after my children have left the coop? I have no idea what my hobbies are or how to fill my time with fulfilling activities or where to find my friends.
Dear Empty Nester,
Thanks for bringing up the topic of empty nesting. Let’s divide your letter into 3 parts: 1) finding yourself 2) participating in fulfilling activities and 3) finding friends. ✍(◔◡◔)
It seems you’ve embraced becoming a parent, which likely indicates that you took good care of your children. Good job!
However, as you took on the parenting role, others may have diminished, such as spouse, friend, sibling, etc. And now you’re trying to reclaim some of that and/or discover new ones.
From the perspective of Selfless Esteem, your identity above any other is child of God. (See the post, “Why Selfless Esteem Is Better Than Self-Esteem,” for more details about who you are in Christ.) Therefore, you can find fulfillment in receiving God’s unconditional love, praying, and meditating on Scripture. (See “How To Pray in 5 Simple Steps” and “The Real Truth About God” for more info about focusing on God.)
Even so, there are understandably mixed thoughts and feelings. I recommend reading “Finding Your Way in an Empty (or Emptier) Nest” by Psychology Today, which addresses the mental and emotional impact.
Finding Fulfilling Activities
You stated you don’t know what your hobbies are. Were there hobbies you enjoyed before you had children that you’d like to resume? If so, see “8 Easy Steps to Rediscover Your Passions and Create a Fulfilling Life” by the Millennial Modern Mom. If not, you may be interested in the post, “4 Things To Remember When You’ve Lost Interest in Old Hobbies.”
Regardless, I recommend reading “22 Tips To Help You Find Your Passion Midlife” by Laurie Jonas. And here are a few more ideas.
You may have taken vacations with your children, but now you can tend more to your own needs and preferences. In other words, you won’t be packing a diaper bag this time!
Nichole and Clark of adventuresomehomesteader.com have all kinds of helpful tips for road trips, especially those in campervans. And for a practical packing list, see “The Ultimate Guide: What and How To Pack for a 7-Day Summer Vacation” by sweetpassions.net.
If you think traveling is more trouble than it’s worth, then have a staycation. Either way, give yourself a well-deserved break before starting your next project.
Renovate the House
Although you miss your kids, you probably don’t miss the fingerprint smudges, abandoned snack wrappers, and toys underfoot quite as much. Now you can renovate the house and maintain it as you wish. If finances are a barrier, see “Tips for Renovating on a Budget in 2023” by homearise.com.
Start a Blog
Join the club! Blogging is an interesting way to share your experiences and knowledge. Mommakescents.com describes 11 steps to start a blog. And Blogging Her Way is full of information about starting and maintaining a blog.
You don’t have to look far to find people, who need your help. One idea is to decrease hunger in your area. See “5 Ways To Fight Food Insecurity” by Stephanie Bedell for suggestions. Other places with opportunities to serve are nursing homes, Samaritan’s Purse, and Volunteers of America.
The next generation needs a positive role model. Consider volunteering at organizations, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, National CASA/GAL, the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, residential treatment facilities, and faith-based organizations.
Even the smallest, seemingly insignificant acts of kindness are greatly appreciated by others and honored by God. Check out this encouraging post about a minor character in the Bible, who completed a very important task: “Pheobe: One of the Most Misunderstood Women in the Bible” by Kelley Matthews.
Go on Retreat
Refresh your mind, body, and soul at one of “The 21 Best Wellness Retreats in the U.S” by U.S. News or “8 Affordable Wellness Retreats That’ll Leave You Rejuvenated” by HuffPost. You could also see if your church or place of worship offers or knows of any spiritual retreats. On a smaller scale, get a massage near you. Some places, such as The Now, offer memberships.
You asked where to begin friendships. How about joining a church or getting more involved in your current place of worship? You may hit it off with people in Bible studies, service teams, prayer groups, and mission trips. Other possible places to make new friends are your neighborhood, the local gym, and online. (Be sure to exercise caution by building trust and using good judgment.)
At the same time, think about reconnecting with old friends. For more information about making friends, see “How To Make Friends at 30 (or Any Age)” by lifebykathleen.com.
Most importantly, ask God to reveal what His purpose is for your life at this time, whether it’s anything you read in this post or something else He has in mind. “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). He created you to do good deeds, which He planned in advance (Ephesians 2:10). (っ＾▿＾)۶🌟٩(˘◡˘ )
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version®. Copyright © 1984 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
This post was originally published 7/29/23 and has been updated.
If you’ve found this blog interesting, please share it on social media. And be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest content.
Click here to ask a question about a life stressor you are facing. Your question and Selfless Esteem’s answer could be featured in a blog.