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Oh, the joys of ‘empty nest syndrome’

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My husband and I have taken on new roles this year — we are now ‘empty nesters.’

Our 26-year-old son moved out over a year ago and now our 23-year-old daughter has ‘flown the coop.’

After the tears subsided, the reality set in... lower grocery, water, hydro bills and more parking in the driveway.

I began doing a bit of research into the term ‘empty nesters’ and was surprised to read that there is an actual ‘empty nest syndrome.’ It is described as a feeling of grief and loneliness, especially for a single parent, sometimes resulting in depression and a loss of purpose.

Between navigating through menopause (and yes, men can experience symptoms too), preparing for retirement and the kids leaving home, this stage in our lives can be an emotional roller-coaster.

But facing new challenges can be exciting and rewarding at the same time. Now is the time to pursue that hobby you never had time for. Or you can go back to work, if you wish.

Advanced technology such as cellphones and text messaging has increased communication with our kids once they are no longer in our home. I have done something I vowed I would never do — I’ve joined Facebook!

Our daughter is travelling for three months right now, so this wonderful invention has made our lives less stressful when we can sit down and talk to her and see her (eating fresh fruit with a beautiful beach in the background) every other night — even though she is on the other side of world right now.

Parents know that having children can put financial and emotional stress on a marriage but once you have come full circle again with each other (a term my husband came up with that describes ‘dating-to-marriage-to-dating-again’ perfectly), empty nesters can now rekindle their relationships by spending more quality time together with improved finances.

As for Gerald and myself, the past few years camping alone in the summer has prepared us for this ‘alone phase’ of our lives.

We have discovered that not only do we still love each other — we kind of like each other, too!

Virginia Sperl is a Silver Heights-based writer.

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