Our dear friends just sent an article with advice to new empty nesters.  It summarized five ways to cope but I’d just figured it out.  My AHA! moment came when I was sitting on the deck the day prior.

My husband was working but I was having a sandwich on the edge of the woods.  I was listening to nature, had my feet up and our pug was sitting nearby.  I know Otis was just hoping food would drop but I like to think he was keeping me company.  The point is that I felt relaxed and like my life was in control.  That was a first in a long time.  When I started to feel badly about enjoying my alone time, I stopped myself, and literally said out loud, “I deserve this.”

We had worked hard to get to this point and we have great girls.  They were at college, seemed focused and had new friends.  They were going to be okay.  I decided to think about the things I wanted to focus on while they were on  campus:

* Enjoy my husband.

* Catch up with old friends.

* Expand my hobby.

* Exercise more. (OK, just exercise.)

* Clean my house.

In that order.

I admit to historically neglecting my husband with all that needs to be done each day.  Pets, house, dinner, kids, errands and the tiredness that goes with it.  He’s been last on the list too long.

Our lives have revolved around the girls and their friends for years.  They can have the fridge and TV when they hang out here.  We relinquish or share the living room too.  They make plans and ours often get delayed.  Now I can fill my own social calendar.

The girls don’t like to yard sale and they have no interest in my resale booth.  They’ve called my hobbies weird and messy.  Maybe but it’s what I like.  I’ll now find the junk in peace, without watching the clock, and reprice it in my kitchen.  I’ll use the profits for my own pocket money or for my husband and I to go to the movies.

I never really had exercise routines.  I used to tell my doctor that I stay in shape because I walk the dog, have a husband and play sports with my girls.  As they got older, it was less of each.  I’ve also never really been a person of routine.  That’s all my own fault.  It’s one thing I could have, should have, kept going.  If for no other reason to show my girls to take care of themselves.  Maybe when they visit for the holidays I can show them I got in shape with all my new time?

I don’t like housework but I don’t mind doing it if my husband is cooking nearby or Adam Lambert is playing loudly on my laptop. I’m not scrubbing floors yet but I have cleaned out a few cabinets and started to get more organized.  It’s easier when the mail isn’t getting tossed aside for dinner and the laundry basket isn’t in perpetual motion.

Our dear friends experienced their empty nest several years before us and are now enjoying the Florida sunshine. We’re just getting started but taking their advice and loving the reflection of the sun off our deck.