Guest Author - Deb Bonam
When you least expect it, empty-nest syndrome can creep up on you over night. Children have a right to grow up and move out, but if you’re not prepared for their departure, you can find yourself feeling down in the dumps real quick. Whether you are transitioning into a new life, trying to spend time with the partner away from the kids, or married without children; there are countless activities to take you out of the ordinary routine so that you can just enjoy each other.
• Home Project – Design and work on any number of home improvement projects together ranging from merely painting a room to building an elaborate outside deck.
• Flea Markets/Antique Shops & Garage Sales – A Saturday morning stroll at an antique fair ground, flea market or garage sale can yield some great finds for both you and your partner. There is sure to be something for everyone.
• Dance Class – Sign up for a dance class together at a local studio or Community College. Take a Swing, Tango or Ballroom Class. You might be saying, “Oh my husband has two left feet.” The idea is to go and reconnect with each other again and to have fun touching and holding. It’s about having fun in the process. Other couples are there to do the same thing as you and so you will likely meet and make some new friends.
• Concerts – Attending a concert is a nice alternative to the same old dinner and movie routine. No matter what your musical taste is, you can catch any type of music in concert at a nearby city close to your hometown. Even small towns usually host musical artists every once in a while to which you should take advantage. If you’re into rock-n-roll old timers are constantly getting back together and are hitting the road in concert once again. Or perhaps you prefer to catch a classical music concert with a violin trio or the foot-stomping music of country western. Whatever your forte, a concert can really break up the routine and bring back memories.
• Jazz Clubs – Along the same line as concerts, but much more intimate is my favorite off the beaten path, Jazz Clubs. These little diamonds in the rough allow you to slip into something tight and black and listen to some sultry Blues singer or a good Piano Jazzy Jammer. It’s the perfect setting to stare into your partner’s eyes and reconnect, play a little footsie under the table and forget your troubles with your favorite saucy beverage.
• Plays – Give a local Theatre a chance every now and then. You just might be surprised how much you enjoy getting away from the usual routine and watching people act on stage. I live between 2 major Universities so we have a slew of play choices to select from at any given time.
• Comedy Show – Catch a comedy act when a comedian of your liking is in town. There is nothing better than having an evening of good laughs!
• Wine Tasting – If you and your partner enjoy wine, then wine tasting at various wineries is both educational and fun. Some vineyards, especially in California, offer Weekend Getaways with their Wine Tasting Tours called “Escape Weekends.”
• Dinner Train/Dinner Cruise – Make reservations on a Dinner Train that takes you on a voyage between several cities and provides you with an intimate 5-course lavish meal for two. Make sure your dinner train has entertainment like piano bar, musical performance, or theatre train. It’s really fun. My husband and I took a dinner train for our Anniversary and really enjoyed it. Some cities have Dinner Cruises on River Boats that serve you a nice dinner while taking you down a river. Detroit, MI offers dinner cruises along the Detroit River between the cities of Detroit and Windsor for the evening.
• Take Train Ride to Nearby City – Get up early in the morning and take a train ride to a nearby city to go window shopping for the day. Eat lunch at a nice restaurant while you’re there with your partner. Then catch the last train back home at the end of the day.
• Art Museum – Go to the nearest major metropolitan art museum near you and spend the whole day there with your partner. Take in all the sites and really enjoy your day, not missing out on any exhibits!
• Bowling – Most bowling alleys have automated score-keeping so it’s really am easy way to blow off steam and have a great time doing it. If you’re not the greatest bowler, just have the alley put up the bumpers. It can be a hilarious and fun time.
• Putt-Putt Golf – You don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy golfing at a putt-putt golf park with your partner. It’s not just for the kids either. It’s really fun knocking the ball around, and if you’re competitive – this is a good way to spend the afternoon followed by a trip to an ice cream parlor.
• Canoeing – Pack up food for the day and rent a canoe at a nearby river. Don’t forget the sunscreen and flip flops. Be sure to wear life preservers. This is a great activity to take in the sights, laugh and just have plain simple fun. Plan on getting wet.
• Hiking/Brisk Walking– Find a local park with hiking trails that you’ve never been to before and get your hiking shoes on, get your backpack on, grab your water bottle and some snacks and hit the trails with your partner. If you live in a major city and can’t get out to trails, go brisk walking together on city sidewalks.
• Bike Riding – There’s nothing like a good long bike ride no matter where you live. Just make sure you have the proper gear – good riding shoes, water bottle and a bike helmet.
• Rollerblading – If you’re really athletic and have a pair of rollerblades with a nice smooth place to rollerblade, then rollerblading together with your partner is a wonderful joint exercise you can do together that’s both fun and burns calories.
• Racquetball or Tennis – For the real athletic and competitive couples an open tennis court is always a good place to spend an afternoon. Even if you are a beginner to the world of tennis, it’s fun to find an open court and just practice hitting balls back and forth over the net to one another. If you’re not comfortable playing on an open court racquetball is a nice alternative because you get your own indoor court to yourselves and can hit the ball willy-nilly all over the place and you don’t have to worry about hitting your ball into the next court over.
The activities I listed above are things couples can do in one day and are relatively inexpensive given the tough economic times we live in. However, if a couple wanted to plan getaways there are always camping trips if you are the outdoorsy type or if you wanted to have a lavish travel trip a cruise would be the way to go. Be sure to take the kind of cruise with pit stops at many islands allowing you and your partner time to go site seeing off the cruise liner. Cruise liners in and of themselves provide you with a vast number of activities to enjoy with your partner all in one location. Fun, fun, fun.