Author Archives: Maryann Long
This guest post is from Karen Weeks of elderwellness.net.
Reignite Your Passions: How to Flourish in the Empty Nest Phase
The empty nest phase is a time of significant change, as the kids you’ve nurtured for years are now venturing out on their own. But this phase also offers you newfound freedom and a wealth of time that can be molded to fit your interests and aspirations. This guide aims to offer you strategies for making this chapter of life not just tolerable, but enriching and joy-filled.
Cultivate New Interests
An empty nest is like a blank canvas: it’s a chance to revisit those passions you may have left behind in the bustle of parenting. Whether it’s diving into watercolor painting, perfecting your culinary techniques, or strumming a guitar, engaging in a hobby not only fills your time but also provides a deep sense of satisfaction. This reconnection with your interests is not merely a way to pass the time but a method for enhancing your quality of life. Plus, hobbies often present opportunities to socialize and meet like-minded individuals.
Earn An Online Degree
An empty nest might be the perfect launchpad for pursuing a career in teaching or another field that you’re passionate about. Numerous online education programs are tailored specifically for adult learners, offering flexible schedules and varied courses. With digital accessibility, you can complete coursework at your pace and on your timetable. Not only does this quench a thirst for knowledge, but it also opens doors for career advancements or switches, offering a fulfilling and productive second act in life.
Enhance Social Connections
Loneliness can be a challenge in this phase, but it’s also an opportunity to reinvest in your social life. Whether it’s reconnecting with long-lost friends, joining hobby-related clubs, or participating in community events, social engagement offers multifaceted benefits. It not only wards off feelings of isolation but introduces you to a variety of experiences and perspectives, enriching your life further. This newfound social circle can also serve as a network of support, critical for navigating the ups and downs of this stage.
Prioritize Intimate Relationships
The absence of children means you have more time to devote to your significant other, close family, or friends. Whether it’s romantic getaways, meaningful conversations over dinner, or shared moments of tranquility, this time is invaluable for rejuvenating your closest relationships. Reinvesting in these bonds not only offers emotional sustenance but creates a reliable support network, which is pivotal in this new life chapter.
Engage in Volunteerism
A wonderful way to find purpose in this stage of life is by contributing to the community. Volunteering offers a sense of accomplishment and the chance to make a tangible difference. Whether that involves mentoring younger people, contributing at a local shelter, or advocating for ecological change, your life experiences and skills are invaluable assets. Volunteering is not just philanthropy; it’s a two-way street where you give and gain in equal measure. And Cville Village is ready to embrace your energy and talents as valued volunteers for our aging-in-place community. When you’re ready, you can be a member as well and enjoy the benefits of the connections you’ll already have made with other Cville Villagers!
Embrace a Mindful Approach to Life
Many people experience an introspective period when they first become empty nesters. Leveraging mindfulness practices like meditation or yoga can have powerful benefits for your mental and emotional health. These activities foster a balanced state of mind, and their calming effects can serve as an antidote to any anxiety or sadness you might be experiencing.
Transform Your Living Space
Your home, once bustling with the energy of a full family, might feel a bit too large or outdated. Undertaking a renovation project can revitalize your living space, aligning it more closely with your current needs and lifestyle. Plus, the act of transforming your environment can be incredibly satisfying, marking a physical shift that parallels your internal changes.
The empty nest phase of life need not be a period of aimless wandering or feelings of loss. It’s a gateway to myriad opportunities for personal growth, whether through pursuing long-neglected hobbies, fostering fresh social connections, or even embarking on new educational endeavors. It’s a time for focusing on yourself and the relationships that mean the most to you, all while contributing to your community in meaningful ways. In short, it’s a chapter teeming with potential—so why not seize it with both hands?
It’s a French saying: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Or, in English: same stuff, different day. Helen and I, the chief movers of this initiative (if we can be said to be moving it) were on the verge of meeting to revive our Village development efforts when August happened and we got the Delta surge.
It’s heartening to see that vaccination numbers are ticking up and cases now ticking down; nationwide cases were below 75K yesterday. That’s down from close to 200K per day in September which is a definite improvement, but still…75K PER DAY! And in Cville/Albe, we are still getting cases every day, 26 of them on Friday, October 22 after peaking at 123 on September 2.
I hope the handful of readers of this blog have taken the opportunity to get all doses of covid vaccine for which they are eligible. My own prediction is that eventually we will settle into an endemic situation in which, like with influenza, we’ll all need a covid vaccine booster every year or two.
If no further variants cause big surges and our local case numbers continue dropping we will indeed go back to our planning activities. If you want to help us out, we welcome your participation. Meanwhile, please stay safe!
We all know you can be alone without being lonely. They’re two different things. Likewise, you can be lonely while surrounded by people. Either way, loneliness is a health hazard, and this article is a fine summary of why and the many actions we can take to mitigate it. Providing companionship is a core service of a Village, and at the top of our list of services we want to provide when Cville Village launches.
“During the pandemic, isolation was one of the biggest risk factors, both emotionally and in terms of getting basic needs met. Our synagogue had volunteers calling everyone to make sure they were all right and to offer any needed assistance.
“In a Village, there would be a network of people who could check on each other. We now appreciate more than ever how important that is.”
Getting basic needs met – physical and emotional – is more or less the foundation of why Villages exist. Even those of us who live with partners or have family close by can’t assume those people are always available to see to our needs.
How did your pandemic go? What helped you cope?
It’s June, 2021. Two years ago this time, we were hoping we would have a functioning Village by now! We had no idea what would descend upon us in early March of 2020. For readers who lost a loved one to covid or anything else in the past 15 months, our most sincere condolences.
No doubt we have all learned something from this pandemic experience about ourselves and about living in this world.
We Zoomed, had driveway parties, adopted pets, read, baked, binge-watched, walked, talked on the phone. We coped however we could.
Over those long months, nearly every day I heard or read something that shouted to me, “Cville NEEDS a Village!” A plea to check on neighbors. Food delivery. Help with technology so families could stay in touch.
Laura said, “…all this quarantine and isolation has carried a strong message about building and supporting community for people in our area who are facing the crisis of aging alone.” She’s right. Community, companionship, are critical for humans and especially for those who are on their own. A Village can make them happen.
This very long link will take you to a message from Marta Keane, JABA Executive Director. In it, she describes some of the JABA activities going on in these Covid-19 days.
Stay home, but walk outside when you can. Wear a mask to protect others in case you’re pre-symptomatic. Stay connected. Stay safe!
I’ve heard from a few of the steering committee in the past couple of weeks. It’s been difficult but necessary to put our organizing efforts on hold for a bit while we all focus on keeping ourselves and others we love safe. But here’s a little update from a few of us.
Laura is enjoying the relative peace and being grateful for friendly faces (from 6 feet away) and friendly voices.
Carla is getting ready to plant her garden.
Vikki is enjoying the blossoming of spring, watching Netflix (she recommends “Kim’s Convenience”), supporting local restaurants by ordering takeaway on Friday nights. She was part of a Zoom seder this week!
Helen is working hard from home to prepare her workplace for her imminent retirement. In her spare time she’s been producing masks, and there’s a new puppy at her house, so undoubtedly she is busy.
Yours truly has also been making masks, as well as finishing two baby quilts (one is for my grandson due in early May!), working on a gift quilt, reading from the stash I got from the library before it closed, and continuing involvement with other aspects of my volunteer life. I tweet something to the @cvillevillage feed almost every day, try to maintain a bit of strength via training with elastic bands, and walk at least a couple of miles every day if it’s not pouring. Oh, and bake.
Now would be a good time to make sure your voter registration is up to date. Stay safe, help each other, we’ll get through this.
We, the Board and Steering Committee of CvilleVillage, really wish we were already a functional Village right now. In our community and worldwide, we’re coping with a health challenge like nothing we’ve seen before. Times are tough and not looking like getting better any time soon. So what can each of us do to help?
Keep yourself safe. Stay home unless you have to go out for food, medicines, or other essentials. Wash your hands, for at least 20 seconds, several times a day, especially after you’ve touched something from outside your house. Keep a distance of at least 6 feet from other people both inside and outside. If you feel unwell, call your primary care provider for instructions if you can, before going to the office or the ER.
Do you need help? Help is available in Cville and surrounding counties. Here are some resources:
Charlottesville Area Community Foundation https://www.cacfonline.org/ is another source for urgent assistance. The Community Resource hotline phone is 434-234-4490.
When we developed the schedule for our spring coffee parties, we didn’t anticipate a virus getting in the way. But it has, and so out of caution we have taken the decision to postpone the next two parties.
They were set for this Sunday, March 15; also Sunday, April 19.
We will get word out to all when we reschedule them. Thanks for visiting our website and let us know what you think!
Recently my sister has been without the use of her car, so I have had the chance to drive my sister and her son when they have needed to attend an event or to do some grocery shopping. Helping them in this way has been immensely satisfying for me. Not only has it brought me closer to my sister and her son and been a time of camaraderie for us, but I have noticed that I have also been energized by it. This has been especially apparent when I have further helped my sister, who has scoliosis, by carrying her groceries from my car to her kitchen. When I am taking in my own groceries at home, I do what I need to do, but without enthusiasm. Hauling her bags in, though, is a lively, jolly experience and it is gratifying to see how much she appreciates it. This experience with my sister gives me a sense of how privileged I will feel as a volunteer for Cville Village.