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Empty Nest, Full Retirement: Turning an Emotional Transition into a Fresh Beginning

Today I have a guest post from Lily Meyers, which is a great way to view retirement matters from someone else's perspective. After all, there are so many different ways to do retirement (both early and traditional age), it would be crazy to think that one person will have all the information that you might want.

For example, it's unlikely that I'd have written this article because my personal experience of retiring is different. However, when I read Lily's article, I instantly saw some parallels to my wife's, Sally's, experience, so it could be useful for her. And because I read Lily's article, I perhaps have a better understanding of some of the challenges that Sally has faced in leaving a career in which she felt valued and having the children leave home at the same time. Of course, we also moved 5,000kms from Dubai to France at the same time, just to add a little more complexity! One last thing, if the empty nest part doesn't apply to you, don't be put off - many of the things Lily talks about apply equally, whether empty nesting or not.

That's enough from me, let's hear from Lily about Empty Nest, Full Retirement: Turning an Emotional Transition into a Fresh Beginning

Retirement is an important life milestone that can trigger mixed emotions. For many people, retirement marks the end of their career and the beginning of a new chapter. It's time for people to step back and reflect on their lives, achievements, and goals. Stopping working can be a time of great excitement and anticipation, but it can also be a time of uncertainty and anxiety, especially when combined with the empty nesting emotional transition.

The empty nest transition can be a challenging time for parents, as they watch their children grow up and move out of the family home. It's natural to feel a sense of loss and anxiety as they adjust to a new way of life. Similarly, retirement can also trigger a sense of loss, as it marks the end of a long and meaningful career. This emotional period can be compounded by feelings of uncertainty about what the future holds.

But, with a little planning and an open mind, you can turn this emotional shift into a fresh start. By taking the time to think about what matters, you can create a vision for the future that aligns with your values, goals, and aspirations. Retirement presents an opportunity to pursue new interests, hobbies, and passions that may have been neglected during the hectic times of parenting and career building.

The Emotional Transition

For parents, the emotional toll of their children leaving home can be significant. After years of raising and nurturing their children, it can be overwhelming to suddenly have an empty nest. The feelings of loss and anxiety can be intense and may take time to process. For some parents, it can even feel like a sense of purpose or identity has been lost.

Similarly, retirement can also trigger a sense of loss, as it marks the end of a long and meaningful career. Many people have invested years of their life into their job and may feel like a part of their identity is tied to their profession. The prospect of no longer going to work every day and interacting with colleagues can be daunting.

The emotional transition of an empty nest and retirement can be challenging, but it's important to remember that these transitions also offer a unique opportunity for growth and change. By acknowledging the emotions and working through them, individuals can come out the other side feeling rejuvenated and excited about what the future holds.

Creating a Plan

Creating a plan is an effective way to manage the emotional transition from empty nesting and retirement. By identifying goals and aspirations, individuals can create a roadmap for the future that aligns with their values ​​and aspirations. For example, retirement can be an opportunity to travel and explore new destinations, learn new skills and languages, volunteer for worthy causes, or pursue long-neglected hobbies. Travelling to old favourite places and reliving the golden ages is a great way to embrace new freedom.

Setting specific and achievable goals can provide a sense of purpose and direction, which can be especially important during this period of change. Having a plan can also provide a sense of control and reduce anxiety about the future. Working towards these goals can create a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment, which can improve overall well-being.

It's also important to consider the financial aspects of retirement. This includes creating a budget and identifying sources of income, such as benefits, pensions, and savings. Consulting with a financial advisor can be helpful in creating a sound financial plan and ensuring that retirement savings last through retirement.


While financial planning is a crucial aspect of retirement, prioritising self-care is equally important during this time. Engaging in physical activity, practicing mindfulness techniques, and spending time on hobbies or relaxation can help manage stress and promote overall wellbeing. Engaging in regular physical activity and mindfulness practices can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, which are common during major life transitions.

This is also a great time to reorganise your home and create space for new interests and hobbies that weren't possible before. Parents who are going through the empty nest transition can take this opportunity to transform their child's old room into an art studio, or training space. This helps create a sense of purpose and structure and provides a dedicated space for new activities.

Seeking support from loved ones, joining a support group, or speaking with a therapist can also be helpful in navigating these transitions. It's normal to feel a sense of loss and uncertainty during this time, and having a support system can make all the difference. Support groups specifically for empty nesters or retirees can provide a sense of community and a space to share experiences and advice.

Embracing the Future

While the emotional adjustment of an empty nest and retirement can be challenging, it's important to remember that it's also an opportunity for growth and new experiences. By creating a plan and prioritising self-care, it's possible to embrace this transition and move forward with excitement and purpose.

It's also important to remain open-minded and flexible, as unexpected opportunities and challenges can arise. By approaching this transition with a positive attitude and a willingness to adapt, it's possible to turn it into a fresh beginning filled with new opportunities, experiences, and connections.


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When I told people I was retiring, they always asked what I was going to do, and I told them I still had teenagers at home. Perhaps this was an easier, step-down transition instead of retiring after the kids left home. I did start doing things for my kids in retirement that i wasn't able to when I was working, which probably filled some of my time before i got the hang of my new schedule. Interesting article- thanks for posting.

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We definitely did a lot of stuff at the same time: retiring (actually, I retires while Sallybwould have preferredto keep working), kids leaving home, moving to a new country. It may well have been easier doing some of these things at different times as you did, but I guess some of the timing chose us (or at least me), rather than the other way around. That's the benefit of blogs, being able to learn from other people's experiences.

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