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Many people look forward to the day their children leave home. No dirty socks lying around, no worrying about curfews, no preparing food at all hours of the day. But others foresee boredom, lack of identity, and sadness about the loss of their “babies.” Most people fall somewhere in the middle, but either way, no one can say that life won’t change in a major way.
That's why this is precisely the best time to find new interests and even reinvent yourself. Here are five ways to accomplish this transition and come out the other end a stronger, happier you.
1. Learn something new.
After helping your children through 12 or more years of school, maybe it is time for you to go to school. Take a course, or apply to college for a new degree. Now is the time to do what you’ve always wanted to do in your career, home business, or hobby. It’s never too late to become a social worker, entrepreneur, attorney or teacher. The possibilities are endless. If you're overwhelmed with choices, try volunteering in a new field to see if you enjoy it before making a full commitment.
2. Revamp your diet.
You're not cooking for the kids anymore, so try something new. How about becoming vegan for a month, or going gluten free? See how you feel after 30 days of a new food plan. Try different ways of eating, low carb, paleo, raw… have fun with it. Buy a juicer and drink fresh vegetable and fruit juices every day. Your hair and skin will glow, and you'll feel better physically and emotionally.
3. Change your body.
Simple changes like a new hair style or color, or a professional makeup application are easy and fun. Have you always wanted to be a redhead, or have bangs? Try it! Your kids aren’t around to tell you that you're embarrassing them. Or go for a complete body makeover with a full exercise regimen. Join a gym, or check out YouTube videos to learn body weight exercises which you can do for free in your home. Take a yoga or zumba class, or get outside for some serious walking and running. The combination of fresh air and exercise will rejuvenate you.
4. Get to know yourself better.
Have you lost yourself somewhere along the way while raising your children? Is your identity stuck at Mom/Wife/Dad/Husband? Maybe it is time to find the real you; it’s still in there waiting to get out. Explore different ways of connecting with your spirituality, find a therapist, or do energy work such as Reiki. Browse the self-help section at your bookstore or library. You might be pleased and surprised at what you find within yourself that you forgot was there.
5. Meet new people.
Your friends will always be a source of support, but meeting new people can expand your interests. Check out Meetup, start a dinner club or book club, find a hiking or running group, or sign up for tennis lessons. If you're starting a new business, join a networking group to find like-minded entrepreneurs.
Once the kids are gone and you have a new look, a new diet, and a new attitude, you’ll find yourself hardly missing them at all. But be prepared – there is a good chance the kids will come back!