First of all, 'no, I didn't get a divorce'. I'm still married to the same man I met over thirty years ago. But, I am dating again: my husband. My husband and I are Empty Nester's and LOVING every minute of it. I know a lot of couples really struggle when the last kid leaves the nest, but for us it has brought us closer together and we've been having the time of our lives. We've been taking a ton of vacations, and having lots of date nights doing anything and everything we've always wanted to do but couldn't before because of the kids. Now, before you get all mad at me, lets back up a bit. We got married young, both still in college, and I got pregnant six weeks after we got married. We both still finished college and worked at the same time. After the baby came, life became an endless round of debt, more debt, constantly working to get out of debt, then we bought a hundred year old house, spent oh, a mere fifteen years fixing that up, then both my children decided to be musicians resulting in constant chauffeuring to only about five music lessons a week: piano, voice, drum, guitar, etc. not to mention the endless concert recitals, auditions, rehearsals, and all the huge financial costs those things incur; resulting in my husband and I never to have any time or money for us. Most couples, when they get married, have at least a few years to enjoy as a couple before the first baby comes. They not only use that time to get financially secure, buy their first home, and get their careers off the ground, but they also have that time to grow as a couple. We never really had that time because our first child arrived a little earlier than we planned. Now, I certainly have no regrets about my baby: she has been the absolute joy of my life, she is my best girl-friend (my husband is my best friend), and she is probably the most amazing human being I have ever known. I could not imagine life without her, and I thank God for the blessing He has given me in her every day. BUT, we did lose those years early in our marriage to bond as a couple because we had a baby. Now my 'baby' is married and living in another city and my other 'baby' is in his last year of college. My husband and I finally have some time to just be alone as a couple and enjoy each other; and you know what? We really, really love being alone again! I often feel guilty for it. I mean, what's wrong with me, all the other mothers usually cry their eyes out when the last kid leaves the nest? But, I don't feel lonely, I feel very fulfilled, very happy, and very blessed. In spite of the distance, I am still very close to both my children. Maybe, that's why I don't feel 'the empty nest', because we communicate constantly and still see each other often. I don't know, I only know I enjoy having the 'couple years' I never had early in our marriage, and it is wonderful.
Now, how does one date after fifty? Well, pretty much the same way we dated when we were twenty: CHEAP. The irony is when my husband and I first met, we had no money because we were both in college, now we have a son who is in college and we pay 100% of his private tuition so that he will graduate debt free (unlike us), so, we still don't have much expendable income. Although we travel a lot, we travel cheaply. I use Hotels.com to get the best rates on hotels and accumulate free nights. We always travel by car, not by plane. We only eat out one meal a day, and stay at hotels with free breakfasts, having yogurts and fruit for a mid-day snack and eating an early dinner. And we try to find more inexpensive activities like state or national parks, walking tours, etc., so we don't have pay steep admission costs. However, money doesn't stop us from seeing something we really want to see. If we drove hundreds of mile to get somewhere, by golly, were going to see what we want to see!
On our dates nights, we usually go to a movie, out for dinner, or just take a walk . We always check to see what is playing at the Budget Cinema first or we go to a matinee at a regular theatre.
On our last date night, we did all three! Our budget cinema is located in beautiful downtown Eau Claire. Our city has really done a beautiful job in the past few years renovating the downtown area. Eau Claire is located on a river and has a gorgeous river walk and community area where concerts and a farmers market are held. There are many bridges crossing over the river for scenic views or fishing. It's a very deep and dangerous river, but people still tube on it (although I never would).
Now to the most important part: WHAT DO I WEAR on date nights? Well, I like to dress up for a date with my husband just like I did before we were married. I want to look pretty for him, even though he would think I was pretty with no make up on and sweat pants, I still put some effort into my attire. I like to wear casual dressy clothes because most of the time I'm either wearing a uniform (my day job), or wearing really dressy clothes for church. The only time I get to wear my casual clothes is on a date, or shopping.
Here I am pictured on one of the many bridges overlooking the Eau Claire river. I am wearing white skinny jeans, and my blue and white polka dotted shirt from Stitch Fix. I turned what could have been a really casual outfit into a more dressy one by adding large hoop earrings, bracelets, and heels.
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We had so much fun taking this picture because the phone was very new when this picture was taken and we had no idea HOW to take a selfie. We laughed our fool heads off when we found the little button that flips the image around to take a picture of ourselves.
So, life after fifty is good. There is nothing to mourn, but only to rejoice. Rejoice in the blessings of a wonderful family. Rejoice in new time to get to know each other all over again. Rejoice in new opportunities to explore and learn. For me, being over fifty is a new beginning! And, I LOVE it!
Have a great day! Amy