It was actually a typo. She meant to ask how I liked my empty nest. Instead my friend asked what I was doing with my empty "next". I knew what she meant, but wondering what’s next for me is a much better question. When my children moved out I had room for new things to come into the space left behind. What's next?
I'm still years from retirement, but I do have more time now. I have quiet evenings and weekends. If time is a gift, how can I give it to others? What can I do with my “empty next"?
Raising children was a wonderful chapter in my life, now I’m writing the next ones. I can choose to spend my "empty next" time anyway I want. But I don’t want to neglect the privilege I’ve had living in America. Now that I have more time, it’s my turn to give back. And no one argues that America needs her people.
I’m part of the Baby Boomers-Empty Nesters with more time to give. Some argue that Boomers ARE the nation's biggest problem, but there are enough of us to become a bigger part of the solution. For all of us empty nesters—what’s next? Volunteer somewhere? Every hour makes a difference to someone else.
Anyone who has time to invest should consider where it could bring the greatest return. For students—invest in your studies. Parents invest in your children. Our elders need care too. Investing our time in our communities strengthens America from within. This isn't about our money; it's about something much more valuable...our time. And our time is something we'll never be able to keep, but we're free to give away.