Eric and I were in Napa Valley a few years ago. It is a great place for adults to do things that adults like to do, particularly those who are empty-nesters or who left their children at home. We took a wine tour, played golf, ate nice dinners, visited with new friends and relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful sights.
We also walked every day. During our walks, we discovered the Veterans Home of California near our hotel. It is a scenic, campus-like home for qualified veterans, complete with a 1,200 seat theater (home of the Napa Valley Symphony), 9-hole golf course, RV park, baseball stadium, bowling lanes, and swimming pool. The campus is nestled in the scenic hills of Napa Valley with great views and within walking distance of the village of Yountville, even for those using a motorized scooter. It’s great that the California Department of Veterans Affairs is able to make such nice accommodations available to those who have served our country. There is probably a long waiting list to get into the facility. If it were a private facility, it would be in great demand.
Eric and I are veterans so we meet some of the basic eligibility criteria. But I do not strive to become a resident of the facility. I am hoping to avoid nursing home care.
In the documentary by Doug Block, The Kids Grow Up, he chronicles his daughter’s senior year of high school and how he and his wife dealt with their only daughter’s imminent departure for college. This is a stressful time for parents and child. The parents are saying goodbye to their daughter and coming to terms with their own mortality. In the movie, while in a therapeutic walking pool at a Florida recreation center, Mr. Block is quoted as telling his wife: “This is our future together. Get used to it.”
I can relate. When you become an empty-nester, your focus shifts from raising a child to . . . . what? What are you going to do with your extra time? Will you work more, find a new hobby, start blogging, watch more TV, have more sex (Eric votes yes)? What do you want to do with the rest of your life? Even if you still have kids at home, you may want to start thinking about this now. It goes by fast.