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Empty Nesters

Parents whose children have grown and left home make up a rapidly expanding portion of American households. It was once believed that it was a sad time for parents when their kids left home. But today's empty nesters are more likely to feel a renewed sense of personal freedom. The adjustment can be hard, however, in the early weeks when parents often feel "homesick" for their children. Rather than constantly bemoaning your circumstances (even close friends will tire of it, so keep to a minimum), focus on positive things you can do with your new independence—all those things you haven't had time for in the last twenty years or so! If you are in a relationship, take time to get to know your partner again. Revisit old shared interests, or embark on new adventures. Treat this as an opportunity to "date"—go out for dinner, to the movies, on walks, or to a concert, play, or sporting event. Consider other ways to spend your time, such as taking classes, volunteering, or returning to work if you were a stay-at-home parent.