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Running Around Naked And 4 Other Ways I Behave Differently In An Empty Nest

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My nest was full for a good 20-plus years. Then one by one, my three girlie birds flew away.

It took a while to get used to the empty spaces and absent faces, but I'd say I'm now past the mourning phase and well into appreciating that my husband and I have the place all to ourselves.

Things are different in an empty nest. It's not only the fewer family members kicking about the place, but the activities that happen at home now that make for a wee bit different way of life. To wit, the following:

5 THINGS I DO DIFFERENTLY IN AN EMPTY NEST

I grocery shop only when absolutely necessary. When my nest was full, I had a regular shopping day. Every single week for a bazillion years, I'd make a list, gather my coupons, then head out the door for the chore I hate most: stocking the fridge, the pantry, the bathrooms and more. I'd walk the grocery store aisles and fill my cart on shopping day whether the cupboards were empty and we really needed food or not. Now that the nest is empty, I shop when the fridge features little more than a few shriveled grapes, a jar of pickle relish, and two bottles of salad dressing that likely should have been thrown away months ago.

We eat dinner in front of the television... a lot. When my oldest daughter was about five years old, we moved our big television -- the one in a massive wood console cabinet and weighing 10 tons and having a UHF and VHF channel changer thingee yet no remote -- out of the living room on the main floor where it was visible from the dining room and into the family room in the basement. Watching television during family dinners did not fit my idea of what family dinners should be. So the TV went down the stairs and conversation between family members became the goal. Every once in a while, we'd have a night featuring pizza and movies, a night when it was okay to sit in front of the TV in the family room while eating. Now that the nest is empty, My husband and I have many nights when it's okay to sit in front of the TV while eating. (The TV is still downstairs, though, as I still consider having it visible from the dining room verboten. Interestingly enough, our dining room features far less actual dining than it did in the past.)

I run around the house naked. Okay, I don't really run around the entire house naked, but I do a nude dash from the bathroom to the bedroom to get my clothes after I shower. When my girls were at home, I brought my clothes into the bathroom (not the master bath, which is my husband's; we don't share a bath -- one reason we've managed more than 30 years of marriage, though that's a story for another day) before showering, so I could get dried and dressed before even opening the door. I could still do that but I don't. Partially because racing from my bathroom to the bedroom -- which involves climbing a flight of stairs -- is sometimes the only exercise I get for the day. Plus, as I get a package delivered nearly every single day, I enjoy the challenge of hauling before a delivery man appears at the door. (Thankfully for said delivery men, I have never, ever not won the challenge.)

I make my husband breakfast on weekdays. When our children were at home, said children were my primary focus morning, noon and night. Poor hubby never got breakfast on school days unless he was willing to have a bowl of cold cereal -- which he hates and I've never seen him eat in all the decades of our marriage -- or a bowl of hot cereal, which he hates, too. Those were the main menu options on school days, along with Johnny Cake now and then (carbs were our friend back in the day). Now that the nest is empty -- and I'm a work-from-home freelancer -- I feel pretty guilty lounging around in my jammies as the primary provider heads out the door to toil away on bringing in our only stable income. The guilt is compounded if he has nothing in his tummy. So I make him coffee to take with him. And I make him breakfast to take with him, too. Mostly something featuring carbs because though they're no longer our friend, my husband loves carbs. At least he no longer goes hungry on weekday mornings.

And, of course, we eat funnel cake for breakfast if we want. Yes, we did. And likely will again. Carbs. Grease. No justifications. Enough said.

What do you do different in your empty nest -- or hope to do once it empties?

A version of this post originally appeared on Grandma's Briefs.

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