preparing for the future
We're making changes and preparing for the future.

Technically I suppose that summer is not really over just yet, but when you’re married to a teacher and have three kids in school, once school starts back up again, it might as well be.  Unfortunately, Linda went back to school Monday, while the kids went back a week ago.

Seemingly overnight our bustling home, where I typically had to retreat to my basement office in order to concentrate, has turned into a lonely house of silence.  The silence only interrupted now by the blowing sound of my laptop’s fan and the occasional snoring from our 12-year-old dog.

This post isn’t going to be about anything related to infidelity.  In fact, it may bore you to death, but today I just felt like rambling a bit about some life changes we’re making and how we’re preparing for the future.  I hope you don’t mind.

Our Summer Test Drive

We had a great summer this year.  Since our girls decided not to play high school soccer this season, this is the first summer in years that we haven’t had to stick around town for some sort of sports training, practice or game.  As a result we were able to get away for a week or so as a family as well as take off here and there for some quick getaways.

Our kids are of the age now where they pretty much come and go as they please.  Our son stays up at college during the summer and when he’s not doing what college guys do, he’s rock climbing, kayaking or ‘chillin’ with friends.  And since both of our daughters have steady boyfriends, hanging out with us isn’t exactly high on their list of priorities.

As a result, I think Linda and I had one of the best summers ever.  I can’t remember any summer since having kids when we’ve spent as much time together.   Sure, there have been ups and downs and an argument here and there, but all in all it was a wonderful summer.

I think this summer is kind of a trial run, so to speak, from the sense that next year at this time we will have three kids away at college and Linda and I will be on our own as temporary empty nesters.  (I say temporary because what college kid doesn’t eventually come back home to roost after graduation, right?)  This summer has given us a little taste of how things will be when it’s just the two of us.

As we transition to ‘empty nesthood,’ it causes us to ponder just what in the hell we’re going to do with our time since so much of it has always been spent centered around our kids and their activities.

Even though we’re nowhere near ready for retirement, we do notice some of our retired neighbors, friends and relatives who seemingly lead incredibly boring existences.  Though perhaps not boring to them, regardless, we tell each other that we will never just sit around and do nothing and are intent on preparing for an active lifestyle.

So how are we preparing for the future?

We’re making some lifestyle changes that are way overdue:

Exercising.  We have always been fairly active, but have recently stepped it up to another level.  Six days a week we either hike, bike, kayak and/or workout with certain achievement goals to reach.  We won’t be able to live the type of life we envision if we’re over weight, out of shape – or dead.

We’re working as a team to motivate and push each other.  Believe it or not, there are times when one or both of us are too sore or tired and don’t want to exercise.  It would be very easy to just crash on the couch.  Instead, we push each other to get out the door and get moving.  Every time we have been thankful that we did and felt so much better once we got going.  Most of the time just starting is the hardest thing to do.

Eating right.  Though we’re not extreme enough to become vegans, we are trying to eliminate processed foods from our diet and are eating more veggies and fruits, along with monitoring our caloric intake.

Since we both love a good plate of nachos and a few beers every now and then, we do our best to eat nutritionally sound meals at least six days a week and reward ourselves by eating like crap on the seventh.

Getting our financial house in order.  It’s no mystery that raising kids and getting them through college can put a dent in the old wallet.  Add to that the economic nightmare that has taken hold of this country (and the industry I used to work in) and our finances took a major hit over the last few years.

As a result, we’ve started to take more austere measures when it comes to spending and budgeting. Our goal is to be completely debt free by the time our kids are out of college.  That means no mortgage, no student loans, nothing.

So now it’s only cheap beer for me and clothes from Walmart for Linda. (I haven’t mentioned this part to her yet!)

Getting our mental house in order.  Any time that a person makes changes there has to be some sort of mental shift that needs to take place.  From making a conscious effort to not over eat to pushing yourself to ride hard that last mile, our brains control our outcome.

One thing we both have re-learned over the last three years is how our thoughts and our reactions to those thoughts control everything we do.  Being able to increase our awareness to our thoughts and how we react is key.

Meditation, reading self-help books and taking workshops on self-development has become more of an emphasis.  I’m currently working through Optimal Living 101 and reading The 4-Hour Work Week and Linda is working on ‘rocking’ her Goddess Life while reading her normal 3-4 books at a time.

Charting our course.  If you want to feel closer to your spouse, start working on goals and planning your future together.  This has certainly been one thing that has brought us closer this summer.  Discovering what it is we want to do the rest of our lives has inspired honest heartfelt conversation and has provided us with the desire to do what is necessary to make our plans come true.

For many years we were more or less just flying by the seats of our pants when it came to living life with a purpose.  What’s silly about that is that we both know better.  Eventually, life has a way of forcing you to make decisions and to act upon those decisions in order to live a life of happiness and contentment.  I guess we finally realized it was time to make our decisions.

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LINESPACE

    11 replies to "Back to Reality and Preparing for the Future"

    • E

      I checked in here today Doug and can I just say – Good, no … Great for you guys!!! (btw, I love posts about non-infedility issues) As a recovering empty nester, your words are so important for couples to hear. My husband and I are very young empty nesters so I think it hit us both very hard. Everyone is different and has different likes but for us – we just are not at home very often especially on the weekends, and if we happen to be we are rarely in front of the television or spending time in separate areas of the house. We don’t always have to be together, I could be out with girlfriends, etc. My husband and I have become best friends again but we did experience the emptiness when both of our kids moved out around the same time 🙁 ! Having gone through it, I even would go as far as saying that empty nest is tougher to go through than bringing a newborn home.

      If you and your spouse are not best friends and your teenagers are soon to be out the door – find a way to get that back and start now.

      • Doug

        Hey E! Glad to hear from you! It’s so good to hear how you and your husband have become best friends again. I feel the same thing in our own relationship. We have some friends that are in the same situation as we are and the wife is scared to death of having her kids leave because she and her husband have different likes and dislikes and really aren’t best friends. She feels they have nothing in common after all these years. I hope they can figure things out! On the other hand, we have experienced several couples that have seemed to flourish as empty nesters. We plan on being in that group! Thanks for stopping by and for sharing – Take care!

    • Gizfield

      Maybe those people who are “leading such incredibly boring lives” are actually enjoying a little stability. While you and Linda have been married and raising a family for 30 years, I have spent about that amount of time being the star of my own personal Peyton Place, lol. I am ready for someone to slow this ride down. I lived in the same house the first 18 years of my life, til I got a job and moved out. It’s been a roller coaster ever since. I partied my way through college and most of my 20s. Found out my parents weren’t really my parents, got married to an abusive alcoholic who died, lost virtually every close family member, got pregnant and married at 45 to a man who became a cheater, and still is I guess and who I am about to divorce. If I could find a man who was happy to just live a “boring”life with me I would be estatic. They dont have to be my best friend, soulmate, playmate, and I dont want to have to be theirs. I’m a fun, nice, sweet person and not hideous or

    • Gizfield

      cont. Not hideous or anything and I dont want to feel like I have to be a man’s personal “whore”to keep his attention, but I guess thats the standard these day s. Ugh, like I said I would love a spell of “boring” with a”boring” man. As usual, just my thoughts.

      • DJ

        I love your comments, Gizfield! You so often offer a perspective that’s refreshing and totally open and honest.

        A simple life with a man who is happy to be washing dishes with you on a regular Tuesday night… who feels a sense of satisfaction with an afternoon of gardening and yardwork together… who finds your arms a wonderful source of comfort and peace, as well as sexual pleasure… how absolutely extraordinary.

        I’m not saying I don’t want what Doug is talking about – flourishing as empty nesters… some of those couples really are leading boring lives… and I’m sure Doug sees the importance of enjoying and being satisfied with the ordinary as well as the exciting… and we do need to take care of our future… Doug has excellent points about doing that… but I just really enjoy Gizfield’s point about the happiness that comes from being satisfied with the everyday and the seemingly mundane, rather than always looking for the storybook life. After all we’ve been through, that sounds so utterly divine.

      • Rachel

        Gizfield,
        I feel the same way. I just want to find a man who respects me. Someone who is boring like me wheather sitting on the deck breathing the cool fall air or sitting watching t.v. Together. I am a very low maintenance kind of girl. I don’t need fancy cars or diamonds to make me happy. I want someone who can talk to me and look in my eyes . Not a cell phone or newspaper. Oh and, no cheaters, please.

    • DJ

      After all that said about enjoying Gizfield’s comments, I’d like to add that Doug is absolutely right about setting your life in order as you move into the next stage of your life.

      I am already there. I started young and had all three children within 3.5 years. So I have already been an empty nester for a couple of years, although I am just a couple years older than Doug and Linda. My husband had decided to stay with me as we entered this phase and he ended his affair.

      We are still dealing with the aftermath of the affair, and it is still a roller coaster, but we have done all the things Doug mentioned and we are enjoying life as empty nesters. Life is better than ever in many regards. We have become fitness instructors. We travel. We have intimate dinners and eat good, whole foods. We will not retire for many years, but we have planned for it and we are comfortable with where we are going. If I could just believe that he loves me, it would be perfect…

      • Doug

        Good points DJ and Gizfield. Just so you know, I have no problems with everyday life and doing nothing. I like stability and being comfortable. So does Linda. But she and I also want more than to sit around and stare out a window in our old age – like my grandparents did. I appreciate both of your points of view. Thanks for commenting.

    • ocanas

      I’m 2 yrs short of being a “temporary” empty nester – the challenge in my case is that since my CS has not done many of the important things I need her to do to help our recovery, the day I drop my second kid to College could be the same day I file for divorce. I like Doug’s perspective on “life as an empty nester” – and I will definelty create a similar plan with whoever happens to be my best friend – hopefully that will be my wife, but if not and we end up divorcing, I’ll enjoy my “no kids to carry around band rehearsals and football games” with someone else.

      Cheers!

    • Battleborn

      Empty nesters. Sounds so… empty. We have had two sets of kids – 1st set in the late 70’s, then the 2d set in the mid 80’s. All out of the house… but we couldn’t stand it so along comes one of our granddaughters and we adopt her. Now we have an eight year old running around the house followed by her two older worn out parents. Wouldn’t have it any other way. So all of you who are empty nesters, let me know how it is while I go to yet another horse show – oh that’s right – but I have to pick her up from swimming lessons first. LOL

      • DJ

        I think that’s wonderful, Battleborn! We babysit our granddaughter daily and love it. We look forward to the days of afternoon activities and sleepovers, and more grandchildren, too!

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