Empty Nest? Time to Fly!

Host: Valerie Hatcher

Episode: 19

Release Date: 08/22/23

Show Notes:


Valerie discusses the challenges and opportunities of the empty nest phase, offering five practical tips for women to navigate this transition. She emphasizes the importance of allowing oneself to feel the complex emotions that come with children leaving home, while also celebrating the achievement of raising independent adults. Valerie suggests reigniting the relationship with one’s partner, exploring newfound freedom, finding renewed purpose, and making the home truly yours again. She encourages women to embrace this transition as an opportunity for self-discovery and personal growth.

Timestamp Summary

00:00 Introduction to the episode and topic of empty nesters

01:10 Sharing personal experience of becoming an empty nester

02:35 Tip 1: Allow yourself to fully feel the emotions

03:52 Tip 2: Reignite your relationship with your partner

05:38 Tip 3: Seize your newfound freedom

06:20 Tip 4: Explore ways to find renewed purpose

07:32 Tip 5: Make your home truly yours again

09:30 Recap of the tips and closing thoughts

10:11 Conclusion and call to action

Key Takeaways:

  1. Give yourself permission to feel the complex emotions that come with the empty nest phase.
  2. Use this time to reconnect with your partner and rediscover each other beyond the roles of parents.
  3. Take advantage of newfound freedom and pursue activities that bring you joy.
  4. Explore ways to find renewed purpose; whether through volunteering, a new career path, or pursuing a passion.
  5. Make your home truly yours again by redecorating and creating spaces that reflect your personal style and interests.


 Connect with Valerie:

* Facebook, Instagram, and Threads @iamvaleriehatcher.  

* Email at hello@agingwithgraceandstyle.com

Join Us Next Time:

Stay tuned for more inspiring chats, tips, and stories about the midlife journey. If you enjoyed this episode please rate and review. Don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss an episode! 

See you soon as we continue to age with grace, style, and a touch of sass.


0:00:00 Valerie You. Hello, beautiful ladies. Welcome back to another episode of Five to Thrive. I'm your host, Valerie Hatcher. Our mission is to provide empowering tips for women over 50 to help us navigate this vibrant stage of life with grace, style, and a whole lot of fun. Each week, I bring you five practical and engaging tips on a specific topic. I hope you find them relative and relatable, and we'll come back for more.

0:00:29 Valerie Ready for today's episode? Then let's go. I have a few friends whose either only child or last child recently left home for college. That brought back memories. So I thought it was a perfect time to chat about empty nesters. Whether your kids have recently flown the coupe or you're starting to envision their departure soon, this new phase can turn your whole world upside down. As psychologist Michelle Ho writes in her book Empty Nesting, this time of change and reinvention often includes a roller coaster of emotions.

0:01:10 Valerie Be patient with the process and know that you will create a life beyond your wildest dreams. I remember when my son left for college. Everyone thought I was going to be an absolute wreck because of how close we are. Surprisingly, I wasn't. I think this was partially because he was only like an hour or so away, and because he played basketball. I knew I would see him most weeks at games. He also came home most weekends during his first year.

0:01:46 Valerie But even with all of that, I still felt a void in my life. Other than the occasional sleepover at a friend's house, this human had been with me almost every day for 18 years. My life and daily routine were built around his life and daily routine. It was totally different. Today, I'll share five tips to help you rediscover purpose and joy as you navigate the emptiness. From revamping your relationship to pursuing new passions, the key is reframing this transition as an opportunity to redefine yourself.

0:02:35 Valerie Tip one allow yourself to fully feel the emotions. Saying goodbye to having kids at home every day is no small change. Give yourself permission to fully feel all the complex emotions grief, loss, pride, relief. There's no right or wrong way to experience this transition. I kept myself busy, and I journaled a lot when the house suddenly felt too quiet. Looking back, those reflections helped me process it all.

0:03:11 Valerie So find outlets that allow you to express release and embrace the roller coaster. It's okay to miss the noise and the chaos that once filled the house. Your feelings are valid. Give yourself grace. But you can also celebrate this milestone. Think about it. You have raised independent, capable adults, and that is a huge achievement. Tip number two reignite your relationship with your partner kids moving out allows couples to reconnect.

0:03:52 Valerie Believe it or not, it might be a bit awkward at times when you think of it. You've spent years with the kids in the house and making sure their needs are taken care of. The kids are often the focus of your conversations. So now what? What are we supposed to talk about? Schedule regular date nights, just the two of you. Travel, try new restaurants. Take classes together. Rediscover each other beyond your roles as parents.

0:04:25 Valerie And if you're single and you're open to it, consider exploring the dating scene. Girl there is no age limit on finding love or companionship. As psychologist Fran Walfish recommends. Use this new alone time to speak openly about one another's needs, reinvest in intimacy, and bonding with your spouse or partner during the empty nest. So what's funny is, my husband was more broken up about our son leaving than I was.

0:04:59 Valerie That was a total surprise. But this is a good reminder that this new chapter is theirs, too. Tip three seize your newfound freedom. Just think there's no more back to school shopping. Although I actually miss buying school supplies, and that's really only because I'm a stationery and pen junkie. But unless your child is playing college sports, there's no revolving life around sports games and homework.

0:05:38 Valerie Take advantage of your flexible schedule, binge your favorite shows, pick up new hobbies, or plan that dream trip uninterrupted. I know it's going to feel weird, but it's worth doing reconnect with activities that enliven you outside of parental responsibilities. The possibilities are wide open now. Embrace them. Number four is explore ways to find renewed purpose. With your core identity shifting, it's the perfect time to explore what ignites you.

0:06:20 Valerie Consider if you want to focus on volunteering a new career path, start your own business, or go back to school. I actually started an online boutique with a friend during the period of time in which my son was in college, and it was a great experience. Think back to the things that once sparked your joy. Was it painting? Decorating? Cooking? Or maybe it's time to discover a new passion. Ever thought about writing a book?

0:06:52 Valerie Remember, it's your time. Reignite that spark. And last but not least, number five make your home truly yours again. With kids gone, you have full creative liberty over your home again. Redecorate bedrooms to better suit your needs and your style. Convert unnecessary rooms into dream spaces just for you, like a reading room, craft area, or a home workout studio. Take back ownership of the whole house.

0:07:32 Valerie I have to be honest. My son has been out of college for five years now, and now that he's married, I'm finally considering changing his room. While he hasn't stayed the night here in a while and I don't anticipate him to do so now that he's married, there's still a part of me that holds on to that last piece of him. I actually want to change it to a content creation room/photo studio, but I also want to at least have a bed or someplace to sleep just in case they ever need to stay.

0:08:11 Valerie And then long term, it might need to be a room for my grandchild or children when they come to visit. So, as you can tell, I haven't figured that out yet. But what I need to do is stop using it as storage space. This is an opportunity to redecorate the living room, even exactly the way you want it. We did this when our son left because we no longer had to worry about stinky boys on the furniture. Just think, your home can evolve just as you are evolving.

0:08:53 Valerie There you have it, ladies. The emptiness phase is a big transition, but is bursting with opportunities to recap. We're going to embrace your emotions, reignite and reconnect with your partner. Seize your newfound freedom, rediscover your interest and new purpose, and reimagine your home. Or better yet, take your home back. It may feel daunting at first, but as family expert Amy Goyer says, this can be an awakening, your chance to rediscover yourself.

0:09:30 Valerie I hope these tips inspire you to embrace this transition wholeheartedly by pursuing what you love. I'd love to hear your thoughts. What are you most looking forward to as an empty nester? Or have you already had an AHA moment in your empty nest journey? Share with me on Instagram, Facebook or Threads at I am Valerie Hatcher. Oh, and by the way, I've included some resources in the show notes just in case you need them.

0:10:03 Valerie Until next time, find joy in every corner of your empty nest.

0:10:11 Thank you so much for joining me for Five to Thrive Tuesday. If you haven't already done so, please subscribe so that you don't miss an episode. If you enjoyed the segment, please rate, review, and share it with a friend. Let's stay connected on Instagram, Facebook and/ or Threads @iamvaleriehatcher. Or email me at hello@agingwithgraceandstyle.com.

Until next time, let's continue to age with grace, style and a touch of sass.

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