An empty nest, but no fun
There are things they don’t tell you about getting older and your children leaving home, so I will.
1. If you’re not careful, weeknights are boring. By the time you’ve got home from work, cooked and eaten, gawped at your phone and watched a few episodes of a box set, you can hardly keep your eyes open for News At 10.
2. Because that’s another thing they don’t tell you about ageing. You’re 20 years older than when your kids were born, and sadly for you, they were the best 20.
When they were little, teething and keeping you up half the night, you had an excuse for looking like death and behaving like Oscar the Grouch. Now it’s because you’re a middle-aged bore with health issues.
3. The house is so deathly quiet you can hear those weird groaning noises you make when you sink into and haul yourself out of the sofa. That sports car you promised yourself when the kids moved out? Your lower back screams just looking at one.
4. You will hear from your kids. FaceTime, texts, phone calls and Facebook. But nine times out of 10 it’s you that will initiate the contact because they’re busy living their lives. Your role is now an emergency bank and laundry service. And when they say, “See you at Christmas”, they aren’t joking.
5. Money. You have more of it, but have no idea what to spend it on. Your food bill shrinks to £40 a week and car insurance costs a third of what it did.
But you’ve already got enough records to open up your own shop and don’t buy new ones these days because modern music is awful and you already pay £15 a month for Spotify.
6. Time is elastic. Now that weekends are your own for the first time since the 1990s, they seem to last about four days. But there’s a limit to the number of £5-a-ticket films you can watch at the cinema and lunches you can eat at garden centres.
7. You and your partner have to talk to each other. If you haven’t run out of things to say to each other by now then you have won at life, or at least completed the most difficult level on the toughest video game of them all – Raising Kids.