Empty Nesting: What’s Next?
Congratulations, you did it! You got married, started a family, and raised a full house of children. You posed for family Christmas cards, paid deposits for karate classes, and shuttled your kids around town for more activities than you can count. Now, your youngest is off to college. “How does it feel?” is the question new empty-nesters are often asked. You might reply with pat answers like “Time flies” and “We’re so excited for our son (or daughter).”
With a little more reflection, the answer is “bittersweet.” On one hand, empty nesters feel satisfied with the decades of work they’ve spent forming content, successful young adults. They may even feel relieved that big financial obligations like education and grocery shopping for six are mostly behind them. The house is quieter: Mom, a successful attorney, might feel the strange urge to pick up a new crafting hobby. Dad’s bond with the family dog might suddenly grow deeper than it’s been for a decade. Social media activity spikes when parents get curious about what their kids are up to in their new, grown-up lives.
Empty nesting is not a finish line for parenting. Young adults still turn to parents for guidance, support and confidence—especially when they really need it. It is, however, a finish line for the day-to-day minutiae of housing and caring for kids. So now what?
For many empty nesters, the next steps become a question of downsizing. Whether that involves trading in your SUV for the sporty sedan you’ve always wanted or perusing vacation property listings, it begins to feel like your time. So what do empty nesters value? A helpful axiom is “quality over quantity.” Instead of a sprawling six-bedroom family home, empty nesters focus on finishes.
That trusty, dated kitchen (home of Easy Mac, Thanksgiving dinners, and science experiments) could use a facelift. The master bathroom was never quite big enough for two. Items of business that fell low on your list of priorities move to the top as soon as childcare is out of the equation. Suddenly you find the time and resources to tackle things you’ve put off for years.
This is the exciting time when empty nesters begin to consider the lifestyle they’d really like to live. Your dream home has granite countertops, a smart temperature control system, outdoor entertainment space and a giant master suite. Those ideas can defy model floor plans, calling for a higher level of customization. It’s time to stop asking “when?” The years when children leave the nest are a perfect window to put those plans into action.
Socially, moms and dads move beyond the carpool line and seek a community of peers who are similarly unencumbered by academic calendars and high school sports schedules. Entertaining at home becomes easier—inviting neighbors over for impromptu drinks requires less preparation, clean-up and shepherding to do at the last minute. Spontaneous weekend trips can become “a thing.” A robust and vibrant community like MillBridge provides a social circle and activity hubs to ensure empty nesters make the most of this life chapter. At the Community House, residents enjoy resort-style amenities in easy walking distance from home.
Of course, versatile living space and additional bedrooms are important for the times when everyone comes home. Over-downsizing can lead to cramped quarters around the holidays. When life deals you an “empty nest,” the challenge and opportunity is, “What do I fill it with?” Your options at MillBridge are endless.