Reinventing yourself: The empty nester bucket list

Published Date: September 12, 2023

Tourist on vacation looking at Oia village view in Greece.
So the “kids” are now adults and have moved out? You might go through empty nest syndrome as you adjust to your newly quiet home, but you’ll soon be ready to make the most of your new lifestyle. As you start embracing your empty nest, consider creating a bucket list for yourself. It’s a fun way to jump-start your reinvention. Not sure where to start? Consider adding these 10 activities to your bucket list. 

1. Travel somewhere you’ve never been before

Many families with kids create yearly vacation traditions, returning to beloved destinations year after year. While this is a great way to make family memories, there are so many places to explore! Start by jotting down a list of destinations you’ve always wanted to visit, but never have. It’s time to explore the world on your terms. 

2. Take up a new hobby

Most empty nesters find themselves with more free time than they had while they were raising children. That makes it the ideal time to take up a new hobby. Perhaps you’ll pick up gardening, start a podcast, take some cooking classes, join a book club, learn to paint or take some online classes to finish a degree or just for fun. You might also consider reconnecting with a hobby you abandoned when you had less free time and more responsibilities. 

3. Start volunteering

Supporting a cause you’re passionate about is a great way to spend some free time. There are so many ways to get involved and so many wonderful organizations in need of people willing to roll up their sleeves. Maybe you’ll walk dogs at the local animal shelter, organize a food drive, coach a youth sports team or deliver care packages to local seniors. 

4. Get your finances in order

Entering the empty nester phase is a time when your finances may be in flux. You may find yourself with more disposable income after many years of paying for everything for your kids. Or money may be tight if you’re helping your kids pay for college. Either way, it’s the perfect time to make a financial plan that reflects your new reality. You may even want to bring in a professional to help you set some financial goals and guardrails. 

5. Learn a new language

Have you always wanted to learn Japanese orr brush up on the Spanish you learned in school? There are so many ways to learn a new language during your empty nesting phase. It can be as simple as downloading an app that teaches you a few new words or phrases every day. You can also enroll in an online or in-person courses at your local community college. If you’re just a bit rusty and need some practice, consider joining a conversation group that meets up to chat. 

6. Start a side hustle 

Owning a small business is a lot of work, but as an empty nester, the time might be right! Start by thinking which of your skills or passions could be monetized. A side hustle doesn’t mean starting a whole new career. It can be as simple as dedicating a few hours a week tutoring, pet sitting, selling your own baked goods, handyman work or hosting short-term renters in a spare room.  

7. Reconnect with your partner 

When you’re in the thick of raising kids, it can be hard to make enough time for your partner. Now that the kids have moved, you could set up a weekly date night to reconnect over a meal. Many empty nester couples also decide to pursue a new hobby together. 

8. Focus on self care 

After so much time caring for others, you deserve to focus on your self care and mental health. What this looks like depends on the person, but it could mean committing to a daily walking routine, re-focusing on nutrition or picking up a new wellness practice like yoga or meditation. It may be as simple as catching up on preventative doctor’s appointments or making sure you get enough sleep. 

9. Get back in touch with old friends 

This is a good time to reconnect with longtime friends who may also have been busy with family obligations. Reach out to a few friends and put something on the calendar. Catch up over coffee, host a game night or plan a weekend group getaway. 

10. Consider a second home

Many empty nesters decide it’s time to buy a second home. After all, you may find yourself with more time to travel and it can be nice to set down some roots in your favorite vacation destination. Pacaso makes it easy to own a second home in your favorite place. We offer co-ownership of luxurious, professionally decorated and maintained vacation homes without the headaches and price tag of whole second ownership. With impeccable amenities and access to endless activities, your Pacaso home will become the place where your family will want to gather for any occasion.Best of all, Pacaso homes are located in destinations that are great for crossing items off your bucket list: Take up golf in Palm Springs, learn to ski in Colorado, or learn how to cook traditional Mexican cuisine in Baja.

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Jen Lyons

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