08/31/2012 12:35 pm ET Updated Oct 31, 2012

The Kids Are Gone -- What Will I Do?

What will I do?

The rallying cry of empty nesters is the mating call for reinvention. So many friends are going through this horrible/terrific transition after their kids leave home.

Yes, we'll miss them, we'll wonder how to get by without making their school lunch, yelling at them to clean up, waiting up till 1 a.m. to hear the front door close quietly behind them, dragging them out of bed, making their friends get their feet off our coffee tables...

But this is also an opportunity to take back some of our old life, a time where we wondered what we could do to make our own lives full and complete, a time when we reveled in thought of our own personal indulgences, hobbies and creative passions. One way or another, we've all wondered what we would do with a little more time if we weren't so busy raising our kids. Would we expand our careers, finding a passion we could turn into a job, finding a hobby that nurtured our soul?

What would you do if you had a little extra time on your hands or needed to find something to fill that now-missing piece of time in your life? Sometimes, the hardest thing is to figure out what we like and what interests us. Right?

Here are some ideas for embarking on this journey:

  • Keep pen and paper handy at all times -- you never know when a great idea may pop in your head or where you'll be when that inspiration crosses your path.
  • Be very open to the possibilities -- let the Universe know that you're looking.
  • Talk to everyone you know -- you'd be surprised what ideas or anecdotes others may have about their source of inspiration, something they read, the way they know you and others stories they can share.
  • Flip through magazines that catch your eye that maybe you've not bothered with before. Go to a newsstand and see what intrigues you. Buy it!
  • Dare to dream
  • Look in the classified ads -- you'll see jobs, industries and ideas that may never have dawned on you.
  • Consider taking some classes.
  • Put a group together for dinner, coffee with like-minded friends going through this and brainstorm and share.
  • Consider yourself lucky -- you have raised great kids and helped send hem on their way. Pat yourself on the back and keep growing.

Enjoy and Happy Reinventing!

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