Empty Nesters Capturing Their Second Life With Action, Connections, and Tools

Mastering The Empty Nest is a National movement launched by conflict expert and mediator, Karleen Andresen, for the 35+ parent crowd, also known as, empty nesters.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​As young adult children leave the proverbial bed of roses, some parents appear to move on without a hitch; however, contrary to appearances, this substantial crowd is realizing a loneliness left in the wake. An increase in divorce among the empty nest is being recognized by religious groups to entertainment websites, and conflict resource tools are Andresen’s answer, “…because I have seen it work repeatedly.”

Conflict experts, like mediators, are brought into a court situation in the eleventh hour, when it’s time to divide assets. "It’s like the hospice for families and couples because it’s where relationships go to die” says Andresen. Yet, Andresen can attest that if empty nesters gain the necessary tools earlier, “There are many relationships that could be redeemed or rescued.”

According to WSJ and others there has been an increase of divorce among the empty nester crowd; however, Andresen says, "...using mediation or conflict tools, there are many relationships that could be redeemed or rescued."

Karleen Andresen, Owner/CEO

“People don’t get married or live together to get divorced. Behind every long lasting relationship are smaller tasks at work, and every bit of effort has needs and required tools to make it successful” Andresen says, “Knowledge, connection, a place to commiserate, a judge free zone, and tools can help them choose their terms. Andresen is not absent of reality, “Divorce can still come, but imagine it happening because it was their decision and not a knee jerk reaction to their loss.” She also says when it’s a thoughtful choice between people, there is more peace and wholeness present.

Mastering the Empty Nest is for pre-empty nest and empty nest age adults and provides free resources for those looking to recapture their “second life.” The site provides free information, a networking channel to ask and receive answers to questions, online webinars on how to navigate the changes that happen, a membership program, one-on-one consulting, and conferences to build a new life plan as couples or individuals.

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written by: Karleen Andresen

Long awaited homecomings, late night visits, and traditional pecking and hen pecking is all part of the holiday legacy experienced between November 1 to January 2 each and every season. Like the sun rising and setting, this period of time is fraught with frenzy and tension, but beloved and expected. However, darker days lay ahead for empty nesters especially after Christmas.

Without immediate re-engagement, empty nesters can be lulled into a reminiscent depression or isolation creating an emotional crash after Christmas. This can come almost immediately, or after the dishes are finished and the tree is at the curb. It can also show up weeks later as the calendar and shopping list have fewer entries.

For empty nesters, Christmas is a highly anticipated event. There is the pre-baking, special dishes prepared for each family member, thoughtful gifts, wrapping paper and ribbons, wiping down the stemware to be spot free, polishing of the silver, and making sure you know your store hours for last minute required dashes.

The after Christmas crash is not easy, but gleaning from experience and training, this single tip could help an empty nester land on their feet. When I created this in my life, it was so enjoyed that it has became a tradition. This is geared for couples, but can easily be modified for single empty nesters to do with friends.

Plan and follow through with an activity for the two of you on the same day as the house empties -

The day everyone leaves is the day you should have your next activity with your companion. Doing so will give you something to anticipate and talk about as the children are packing up to leave. I remember an aunt and uncle left my Grandmother’s home on Christmas day for their gift to each other: a trip to Venice. As a young girl, it was delightful to watch the anxiety while everyone helped them pack, to listen to everyone speculate about their trip, and soak up the energy that surrounded them. Planning something the same day as departure also comes with some of the same frenzy as my aunt and uncles trip. Finally, make this plan equally important to planning for the arrival of the extended family or leaving on that jet plane.

If you’re not sure what to do, consider attending a champagne brunch, strolling an outdoor or indoor mall, take a long drive and just stop at a local cafe and absorb the experience, or even spend a couple hours at a local McDonald’s. You might take a trip because airlines usually participate in Black Friday sales that can last for weeks. Maybe you dine at an expensive restaurant or visit people at an assisted living facility. Perhaps you want to look at babies at the local hospital or shut yourself in at a fine hotel overnight. Really, the choice is yours to plan, but it must be planned, expected, and treated as something you are gifting. The finale? Adding a few guidelines will be the icing to a warm event. 

Here are five guidelines to really add the nuances needed to make an empty nester forget their woes.

  • Gauge The Activity Toward The Schedule Ahead - For example, if you only have a few hours then plan something that fits within that timeframe. If you have the ability to spend a day or overnight, pull out the stops and extend the holiday celebration.
  • Forget The Clean Up - If you haven’t quite gotten the house back in order, don’t worry, the work will not clean itself. It will be there when you return. 
  • Get Dressed Up - It can be cumbersome to think about, but just like the effort made for the children, make the same effort for yourselves.
  • Conversation Starters - Talk about the best experiences of the holidays, the most growth you noticed in each of the family members, what you noticed about each other during the season, and how you will walk into the future together.
  • Hold Hands - This is so powerful that it requires announcing it. Touch is a necessity, and as empty nesters this can be a forgotten technique if not reminded.

It is a sobering time when you realize there are no more high demands on your time, no more hems to sew, no more scraped knees to kiss, and no more graduation invitations that need to be sent, but with a little help and openness, you can make a new tradition your best yet.

Karleen Andresen is a conflict expert dealing with legal cases and high conflict personalities. She runs an online community of empty nesters seeking connection and tools to navigate the terrain of living their second life. Prior, Andresen grew a women in business magazine to be the #1 in her State and published From Mystery to Math Formula: Simple equations to build your business; available on Amazon. Join her at www.MasteringTheEmptyNest.com 

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About Mastering The Empty Nest

A community of 35+ pre-empty nest or empty nest aged adults looking to live a lively second life.

Mastering The Empty Nest
PO Box 1544
Eagle, Idaho