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Empty Nesters: 5 Tips For Those With Newly Empty Nests (PHOTOS)

Empty Nest Syndrome

The Huffington Post   Evan Allis First Posted: 10/14/11 09:42 AM ET Updated: 10/28/11 04:34 PM ET

You love them, sacrifice for them and root for them when no one else will -– it’s the unspoken promise of parenthood: “You are my child and I will always be there.” But in a blink of an eye, those same kids graduate and fly the coop, leaving parents (especially mothers) across the country, and increasingly the world, faced with the prospect of confronting that dreaded case of the blahs they call "empty nest syndrome." Sure it was part of the deal from the beginning, but to quote "Orange County" star Catherine O'Hara, “Who really said you had to go to college after high school?!”

With autumn in full swing, and a freshman class of parents facing the prospect of days that never seemed so long, schedules that never seemed so monotonous and houses that never seemed so big, we at Huff/Post50 decided to bring you our tips on how to turn an empty nest into a catalyst for growth and reinvention.

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  • Volunteer

    In the same way that volunteering at your child's school makes you part of a community and helps you make friends with fellow parents, volunteering at your local library, homeless shelter, or with a civic group will immerse you in a new community that includes neighbors and empty nesters.

  • Find A Hobby

    Did you know that Laura Ingalls Wilder didn't start writing books until her children were grown and with kids of their own? Take advantage of your empty nest and get involved in something that you have wanted to do and previously did not have enough time to do. Take a class, play a sport, or find a hobby.

  • Get A Job Or Start A Business

    If you've only ever done poorly paid part-time jobs while the children were at home (or if raising kids for 18 years was enough full time work in itself!), now you've got the chance to have a fresh start. Or you may have an ambition to run your own business -- the 'encore career' movement is rife with fresh faced entrepreneurs over 50. Now is the time to discover what passions live within you and pursue them to the bank!

  • See The World

    Now that you're not responsible for getting a kid to school at 8 a.m. five days a week, explore the idea of exploring. Rejoice in the freedom you haven't had in years and see the world. Feel like seeing the pyramids? Versailles? Living in Costa Rica for a <strike> year</strike> week? Step to it amigo!

  • Reacquaint Yourself With Romance

    If an empty nest means anything, it's privacy. Rejoice in your long-deserved break from acting like a parent and act like an adult. Whether you're married or single, take the opportunity to reignite the sputtering spark in your relationship or get out there and carve out for yourself a love life worth living. It's true what they say, sex IS better after 50.