August marks not only the dog days of summer but also a major turning point for some parents: their youngest child is about to go off the college, leaving them with the proverbial empty nest. It’s quite a transition. Financially, you may be able to cut back on living expenses – perhaps even downsizing to a smaller home. And emotionally, the end of 24/7 parenting can be surprisingly stressful. Family dynamics and routines in place for years are suddenly different.
What’s next? Experts say to focus on the positive impact: more free time, less responsibilities. The opportunities abound to embark on long-deferred projects or vacations, to volunteer for a favorite nonprofit, to resume “date night” with your spouse, to start a new hobby, to expand your active friendships. Remember: an empty nest is an opportunity, not just an absence.