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Morning Coffee and Other Empty Nester Opportunities

By Marie Burns September 15, 2023 Family

“Don’t let the door hit you in the #@!& (rear end)!” This was the comment one father made to me when sharing that his son was graduating from high school and moving out. My first reaction hearing that was “How sad!” Of course, I didn’t know his whole story. And then I had my own four teenagers go through the “leaving the nest” experience, and that helped me understand a little more.

Empty Nester Emotions

Everyone experiences children leaving home very differently. I know women who struggled with the quiet house, the absence of local sports/other events, and missing their child’s personality. Others were stressed by attitude and behavior challenges, so “out of sight, out of mind” was a blessing. And then there were those who were excited about their child’s new adventures.

More Time for Yourself

Morning coffee is a good example of my first positive change: more time for myself. Maybe your mornings are a bit less rushed and/or your morning routine can be designed more in line with your preferences if your work life allows. I know many women who enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning in silence, or reading scripture, or soaking in the fresh air on the back patio. Being an Empty Nester provides some newfound time that you get to decide how you want to use it.

Taking time to rethink yourself, your values and your priorities can help you recreate your days. Whether it’s more exercise, more socializing, more you time – there’s no right or wrong. You get to decide. I sat outside with my coffee just the other day, feeling the morning breeze, watching an eagle and a crane fly by, hearing the loons in the distance and the woodpecker right behind me while swinging on a creaky swing. Mother Nature has a way of helping you relax enough to focus on the important things you need to think about.

Rekindling Relationships

Whether you have a significant other in your life or friends/family outside of your living environment, being an Empty Nester can free up time to spend with other important people. Isolation poses a real risk to your health, whether you realize it or not. So investing time into nurturing relationships with loved ones is time well spent for various reasons.

Especially if you are thinking about retirement down the road, it is wise to figure out what you enjoy doing in your spare time. Do you already have hobbies? How do you envision spending time together with your loved one and alone? Now is the time to discover and practice those pursuits to help refine that side of retirement later on.

Playing Catchup Financially

Lastly, the next 10+ years until your retirement can be a great time to refocus on your money life. Hopefully, with one less person in the household, not only your time but also your bank accounts can benefit.

Can you beef up that savings account, increase your retirement contributions, and/or organize and update your records/legal documents? One idea is to check out my Empty Nester’s bundle of checklists to help you do all of that and more. No one can do everything, but you can do one thing, and then another and another. That’s the beauty of checklists.

Your Key to Happiness

I read once that the average American thinks about retirement in their 50s and has about $50,000 saved. It’s never too late to take that bull by the horns, but the sooner the better! Look at it as a chance to catch up on re-prioritizing yourself once again. Life is too short to leave the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket, so I encourage you to take action – all for your benefit now and later.

Grab your coffee, or whatever morning ritual you enjoy, and give this some thought. Throughout life, you’ve seen one door close and another one open. This is no different; be intentional about it and enjoy!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

How did your Empty Nester experience go? Were you excited or dreading it? Any tips for others to help ease the transition?

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Bridget Fitzgerald

My last child, a son, moved away from home recently. He had difficulties making the move away and has left and returned twice over the last few years as he struggled with anxiety. About a year ago he started seeing someone and then suddenly earlier this year, as he turned 28, he suddenly told us that he was moving out! His partner lives about 3 hours drive from us and has turned out to be a very good influence on our son. At first I was sad about my empty nest as I had my first child 40 years ago and I missed all three when they left. However my youngest came back for a week, when his partner was away on a work trip, and when I went into his room after he left and saw the mess he had left behind, my sad empty nest feelings suddenly evaporated! Since then i have moved on, happy that my children are all happy and well and all living in the same country as me and that we all see each other and the 5 grandchildren often!

Marie Burns

Bridget, different things can trigger the “moving on” part of being an Empty Nester. Glad everyone is happy in your family now!

Rene Askanazi

Wonderful thoughts! After raising 8 children in some traumatic circumstances I now enjoy my cup of coffee listening to youtube birds on peaceful videos! God has created so much good if we can see it even in difficult circumstances.
I appreciate this site over here in chilly Michigan🙂

Marie Burns

Rene, looking for the good, even in difficult times, makes all the difference. Thank you for sharing!

Judith Louise

My husband is in the Intensive Care Unit of a regional hospital, fighting for his life. We were never able to have children, despite trying everything that was available all those years ago. My empty nesting is a different kind. I have been rattling around the house, trying to keep myself busy and wondering if he will come home and if so, what long term health issues will there be. My September birthday proved to be the longest and the most lonely day I have ever had. Not a card, or a text, or a call or a visit. Nor a cuddle or a kiss. My husband and I have been best mates since teenagers. We fill each others lives.. Empty Nesting – can be felt by carers who may never share a meal with their loved one or when conversation is no longer possible or when you may never socialize together or share a memory. In all of this you may never share a coffee. I sit on our eastern verandah in the early light of the morning watching the kangaroos and birds find their way around the farm.
When the light is clearer,I shout “good morning”. In reply the ducks quack with excitement and the rooster crows. Life goes on. I who has a rare spinal disease, know that life on the farm is coming to an end. It’s the only life that my husband and I have known.

Rene Askanazi

I am sending a prayer for you as you are in this waiting room time with your husband’s medical crises. You are so wise to attend to the amazing nature around you. May God give you peace, comfort, and strength in this journey🙏


those Good morning shout out is what keeping those animals coming back. Keep doing that. My prayer is that you find peace and joy on your journey. Praying for you and your husband. Blessings

Marie Burns

Judith, I am sad for your plight but also admire your ability to find some peace and happiness in nature around you!


I’m so sorry to hear of your husband’s health issues. My husband passed in June 22 and my grandson moved out with his girlfriend and baby in July. I almost lost my mind. I still have moments of deep sadness over the two losses, however it is getting better. Blessings to you from Texas,.


Thank you for this article. I have been retired for 5 years not by choice but by health reasons. The first 2 years were the hardest. I no longer had a schedule or purpose in my life. I am good now.

Maureen Cummings

I feel like an empty nester all over because all my grandkids just started school. I am in a wheelchair, somewhat limiting my health. But I do drive and get around locally.

Marie Burns

Jacqueline, I am glad you adjusted. It is very common for most Americans to end up retiring 3-5 years sooner than they had planned. Usually it is due to health, family needs, company decisions, or the economy…none of which we can control!


That was fine it was when they were all busy with their own Daniela and lives and leave you feeling redundant.

The Author

Marie Burns, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), advocates for women’s financial health. She is an author of a financial checklist book series, speaker, podcast host and partners with clients to offer friendly financial advice in her independent practice Visit her at or

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