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Questions and Stories about Empty Nest and Retirement

Listed below is the compilation of all of the questions and stories that retirees and those with an empty nest have asked, shared, or submitted as a response to our national writing contest. Topics range from education, to money, to relationships, to health, and many more in between. Do you have a story to share about your experiences being retired or adjusting to an empty nest? Click the "Share Your Story" button to add your voice to!

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If you watch television these days you’ll see all sorts of commercials about life insurance. The theme is usually the same: a strapping young man just out of college finds a job and buys insurance to secure his future. Or a man in his late 20s has just got married and buys a life insurance policy for his wife’s security, just in case. Or parents in their mid-30s all smiling and happy buy a life insurance policy so that their kid has something to fall back on if something drastic happens. What’


November maple, chiseled rough by stones

From pastured boulder crops that glaciers bring,

Extending lichened frame like leafless bones

To shelter sapling shoots it spawned last spring.

The bark is frayed to grey by killing frost.

With blackened base from fires in the field,

The trunk is scarred with knots from limbs long lost

And deeper cuts that bled and hurt and healed.

Did you see the news about the Great Dane in Portland, Oregon, that ate 43-1/2 socks (the half sock was a mystery)? It made me think of Nike--not the company, the dog.

Nike was a large, sweet, handsome Belgian Shepherd owned by Bob Hoffman, owner of Playland, an amusement park, which recently closed, in Upstate New York. Many moons ago, we often took our daughters there for the arcade, rides or miniature golf; or if we were without the girls, my husband, my hero, sometimes inv

Dear Erik and Matt,

I learned yesterday that a friend of mine, Liam Nevins, was killed in Afghanistan. He was murdered by an Afghan soldier, along with two other American soldiers.

Liam worked for me in Afghanistan on my prior project, and I spent every day that I was in Kuwait with him. We had all meals together, rode to and from the base and worked together every day in the hot sun. At night we smoked Cuban cigars on the beach of the Arabia

As Vietnam Vets, we try to help each other. When one of ours was in real trouble, my brothers stepped up. The following letter is a far better tribute than anything I could write:

Dear Friends,

This has been the hardest letter to write because I know my efforts are doomed to fail to convey my and Gary's gratitude to you fellow Shipmates. He has tried to explain the bond forged at USNA and has spoken so fondly of you over the years of our marriage. Now I am on the cusp of

The word of the day is heedful, reminding me that I must ever be mindful of not only my actions but my words. I must remember that words that slip by the lips fall on ears that may misinterpret my meaning. My words are generated from within me, filtered through my likes, dislikes, beliefs and history then fall on ears that may have other filters and histories. Though I do not intentionally say hurtful things at times I see a reaction in another that surprises me when I see they have taken somet

I have a hunger for life that propels me forward everyday. I'm like my son when he got his first pair of glasses, "Mom, Dad!" his exuberance was uncontained. "There are leaves on the trees."

Our first reaction? Well of course there are but we caught those words before they spilled past our lips.

"Yes, there are. Didn't you know that?"

"Well I guess I knew it but when I look at a tree without my glasses all I see is a green blur. Now I see LEAVES!"


It's really not about who I think I am but about who I am. I am a bent, twisted, heavy framed women with an oxygen hose in the nose. At least that will be your first impression should we ever meet. But wait, that is only the shell of me.. Look closer, look into my brown eyes with still a sparkle and zest for life. Don't be fooled by the external, that is a mistake we make. We only look at surface, we're in such a hurry to blow through this life, especially when we're young, that we miss so much

Here we are in sunny Florida, the last place I thought I would ever end up and we love our location! We are near Tampa, which has a lot more to offer than one would guess. It has a lovely Theater of the Arts, museums, a large amphitheater for concerts and best of all, the setting is beautiful.

Since retiring to the area (from the Chicago area) my husband and I have also had some serious hardships. We have lost a son to a horrible brain disease and are still trying to cope with th

As Labor Day approaches, I feel as though I should be getting ready for school despite having retired from teaching decades ago. Most of my memories of teaching revolve around my students. In fact, the first article I ever wrote--"I remember Carol,” published in Datebook, a popular teen magazine in the 1960s--was about a student.

Carol was a sweet, dark-haired, dark-eyed little girl in my study hall. At one point, she asked for my help with Algebra. Although I was (and am) ma

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