Ageing Well, Living Well Over 50s Lifestyle

Living Well after the Marriage and Kids are gone

February 9, 2020

The impact of Divorce plus an Empty Nest can certainly be challenging. I’ve experienced both as I’m sure many of you have. As my guest, in my Ageing Well, Living Well series, Allison from Start A Simple Life, shares her story of how she created a new life at 47 a life where both mental and physical health plus core values were a priority.

Living Well after the Marriage and Kids are gone

I just travelled 550 miles from California. We unloaded half the moving truck and now it lumbered down the Las Vegas suburb street, away from my baby. My youngest and last child living with me would now be 100 miles away and on his own.

Sadness rushed over me yet I also felt the weight of motherhood lift just slightly. I was a free woman. No husband and no kids living with me.

What do I do with all this time I now have?

I was 47 and knew I had some heavy choices ahead of me yet no matter what I did going forward I needed to keep myself healthy – physically and mentally.

This was just one chapter in a journey that started 5 years previous, right before my divorce, when I decided my life had too much clutter. So much mental clutter that I wasn’t taking care of myself.

At that time, I decided to simplify. Decided what truly mattered to me, focused on that and moved forward with a passion to live well.

Deciding to Be Healthy at Midlife

Starting over at midlife was not simple.

I was thrust into a huge life change after my divorce and then again when my kids where no longer living with me. I was on my own – later in life.

It was now “me, myself and I”. It was imperative I stay healthy.

I started to take care of myself better by doing things like drink more water, eat more veggies and walk more. I even took up hiking and cut dairy from my diet (ok, most of it, ice cream is my downfall.)

These helped me become more physically well yet I still felt incomplete.

My mind was scattered. I had trouble staying focused on what direction I should take in my life and how to build better relationships with my kids and those I love.

I knew what I had to do – decide what truly mattered in my life and cut everything else out. I needed to create a simpler life for myself by establishing my personal core values.

How Personal Core Values Help Me Live Well

Starting over half way through your life you bring a lot from your past. Insecurities, harsh feelings, and bad memories all play on your mind when you’re trying to make a better start.

Simplifying as much of the process helps tremendously.

I did this in 2 steps.

First, I cut back on many things and ideas that are not necessary for me to grow. These were things like moving to a smaller place, not listening to naysayers, cutting back on my social media time and giving away much of my stuff.

Once I culled back, I took the next step in developing my personal core values. With less to do and think about my mind was much clearer.

Personal core values are ideas and things that represent what is most important to you.

My personal core values involve staying healthy and living well, fostering healthy relationships with my adult kids, being autonomous and doing the things I love like hiking and writing.

When life gets tough, I look to my core values to bring me back to what I long for and love. They remind me of what is close to my heart.

And they always bring me back to my most content place in my mind.

My core values help me live well.

What Have You Done Lately that Helps You Live Well?

The theme for 2020 on Sizzling Toward 60 is Ageing Well, Living Well.

The second half of your life is for your enjoyment. How will you live well so you can enjoy life?

Would developing your own core values help?

Divorce and the Empty Nest

Meet Allison

Seeker of a Simpler Life. Allison is a single mom empty nester, hiker and explorer of the world. She loves sharing her story with others so she started her blog, Start a Simple Life.

Connect with Allison

Women Living Well After 50

Living Life Your Way


  • Reply Erica/Erika February 9, 2020 at 02:17

    Hi Allison, You bring up two key points when needing to stay healthy. Both the mental and physical aspects are important and they often go hand in hand. I read over your core values on one of your past posts. All of them are great values to have. I especially like “compassion towards myself.”

    I appreciate your very candid post and sharing some of the lessons you have learned. You remind me to continue clarifying to myself all that is truly important in my life. A great post!

    Thank you Sue, for this series. I appreciated learning more about Allison.?

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 9, 2020 at 18:05

      Hi Erica, I’m with Allison as you know regarding health not just physically but mentally and spiritually. I also like ‘compassion towards myself’. We can be so hard on ourselves, or raise the bar too high when we should be nurturing ourselves. I enjoyed getting to know Allison who I have only recently met through blogging. Thanks for stopping by and hope you are enjoying your weekend. xx

    • Reply Allison Gonzalez February 10, 2020 at 02:11

      Hi Erica,

      Thank you. Over and over throughout my life I would attempt to stay physically healthy like eating well and working out yet I’d always end up going back to my old routines. Not until I had a more clear mental path and compassion for myself could I then focus on the physical.

      I’m far from fit physically and mentally but they are more in balance than ever been because of my focus.

      Thank you for your comment!

  • Reply Donna Connolly February 9, 2020 at 05:57

    HI, Allison – It’s a pleasure to meet you here. I strongly agree with you about the importance (and the power) of core values. I also agree that we often have more choices than we realize. We can choose to live life with regret, or choose to live. Thank you for sharing your story with us — it is very imspiring.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 9, 2020 at 18:06

      Core values are so important Donna and sometimes we can lose sight of what they are if we are going through a difficult phase in our life. Allison is a new blogging friend and I hope to get to know her more through following her posts. xx

    • Reply Allison Gonzalez February 10, 2020 at 02:19

      Hi Donna,

      It’s nice to meet you as well!

      I’ve only developed my core values in the last year of so and I agree, they are very powerful in helping to guide me and remind me of what truly matters to me. It felt silly at first to literally declare that I’m important and my kids are, you’d think that would just be a given. Yet unfortunately, in the sometimes chaos of life we forget what we stand by. Like you said, we have more choices than we realize, and that can sometimes distract us. So I’m glad I wrote them down and declared them to myself and later publically.

      Thank you!

  • Reply Leanne | February 9, 2020 at 19:39

    Hi Allison – lovely seeing you over here on Sue’s blog and writing about something as important as core values. When I left my horrible job and wasn’t sure about the “what’s next?” question, doing a core value exercise really helped me see what was important and what I needed to keep in mind when making future decisions. It’s been a mainstay in my life ever since and I can see why you would have found it so helpful too.

    • Reply Allison Gonzalez February 10, 2020 at 02:39

      Hi Leanne,

      Thanks Leanne, I’m happy to be here!

      KNowing our personal core values really helps us during times of uncertainty. I feel that is when they are most valuable to guide us and keep us on the right track for ourselves.

      It’s so wonderful to hear they were able to help you make smart decisions for your future and for your life.


  • Reply Ingrid February 10, 2020 at 07:18

    This post has made me stop, think and reflect. Being at a cross roads currently thinking about and clearly defining my core values will be a useful exercise for me for me to undertake before I make any further decisions.

    • Reply Allison Gonzalez February 10, 2020 at 08:59

      Hi Ingrid,

      I think you’re on the right path for sure! Before I actually developed my own core values, my mind was in chaos anytime I had to make a decision. If only I had a set of beliefs I stood for I would have made much better decisions at times.

      I still struggle at times but now I have my compass to guide me.

      I wish you well! Let us know how everything goes.


  • Reply Natalie February 10, 2020 at 10:11

    Hi Allison – Kudos to you for spending time to identify your core values and writing them down. When I want to accomplish something, I write it down and keep it visible to me. The act of writing and visual reminders are simple but powerful tools. Thank you for sharing your story with us. #lifethisweek

    • Reply Allison Gonzalez February 21, 2020 at 01:54

      Hi Natalie,

      It’s amazing how powerful visuals can be to help us create the life we want and need! I lean on my core values everyday, and especially the bad days.


  • Reply Deborah February 10, 2020 at 11:18

    Thanks for sharing Sue and Allison and well done Allison on getting focussed and healthy. I think I know what my core values are but struggle to find the motivation to pursue them!

    • Reply Allison Gonzalez February 21, 2020 at 02:01

      Hi Deborah,

      That can be an issue, we know what is valuable to us yet find we can have a hard time focusing on them. I found I made them a hierarchy so what’s at the top gets priority and down the list. I also keep the list small, read it everyday, and not be hard on myself when I slip and neglect some of my priorities. If you focus you’ll eventually find you’re in tune with your core values.

      Best wishes,

  • Reply Jo February 10, 2020 at 12:41

    Starting over at any time is difficult, starting over so completely in mid-life – well, that takes courage. I love the idea of shedding the mental and emotional clutter too – and seeing what’s at the core. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply Allison Gonzalez February 21, 2020 at 02:04

      Hi Jo,

      Thank you. It’s been a journey for sure, with lots of doubt and crying. Yet also lots of truly happy and content days. The key is letting mental clutter go (which is extremely hard and ongoing) and accepting you’re flawed but beautiful.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • Reply Sydney Shop GIrl February 10, 2020 at 13:02

    Your post and journey resonate with me and my parenting journey. I’m nowhere near having an empty nest but in my mid forties, I am starting to actively shed clutter from my life – emotionally, mentally and physically. This process has inadvertently led me ‘back’ to myself and my core values.

    SSG xxx

    • Reply Allison Gonzalez February 21, 2020 at 02:15

      It’s feels odd at first to declutter and find yourself again. I felt a little guilty for feeling that youthful, free mentality again. Like I was not allowed that anymore, that was for people much younger. But who says you can’t feel youthful and still take care of business at our age? I find it a beautiful journey!

      Thank you,

  • Reply Christie Hawkes February 10, 2020 at 22:34

    Hello Allison! Thanks Sue for the introduction! I couldn’t agree more with what you are saying. I have taken time to discover and write down my core values: health, joy, growth, and relationships. When I’m setting goals–or if I start to feel overwhelmed–I check in with these values, and it really helps. I’m off to visit Allison’s site now. Have a lovely day ladies!

    • Reply Allison Gonzalez February 21, 2020 at 02:29

      Hi Christie,

      Thanks for commenting and stopping by my blog too!

      When I set my core values I didn’t realize how practical they would be in helping me make decisions, like you, when I set goals. I happened upon this kinda by accident when I was trying to make a big life decision and thought about what matters most in my life and my core values helped me make that decision. They are what matters most to me.


  • Reply Laurie February 10, 2020 at 23:09

    Allison, what an inspiring story. You exemplify the ideas I always told my own children – we are each in charge of our own happiness. You took charge of your life and made it into something beautiful! I hope to read about many more adventures. You have your core values straight.

    • Reply Allison Gonzalez February 21, 2020 at 02:38

      Thank you Laurie. That is so true – we are in charge of our own happiness. Most of my life I let others determine why and when I was happy yet as I continued my journey I found I was the only one that can do that, not my husband, mother or kids or anyone. This was very liberating and a bit frightening since now I was the only one to blame when sh*t goes wrong, lol.


  • Reply Debbie Harris February 12, 2020 at 07:48

    Hi Allison, it’s so good to read your story and to hear the steps you took to become healthy in midlife. I think it’s important to stop and take a look back at what we’ve been doing to ensure we take better care of ourselves as we age. Good on you! Thanks Sue for sharing another interesting and inspirational look at living well in midlife. #lifethisweek

    • Reply Allison Gonzalez February 21, 2020 at 02:41

      Thanks Debbie!

      Many women don’t stop and then, unfortunately, don’t take better care of themselves. I’m guilty of that at times. I’m finding that having my core values and supportive community, like here at Sue’s, is vital for a healthier life mentally and physically.


  • Reply Denyse Whelan February 12, 2020 at 15:14

    What a helpful and positive post for many Sue and Allison. I know if I am not living true to my core values I become unwell. A sign I now read much better as I have aged.

    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week is 7/51 T: Telling Self-Care Stories #1. 17.2.2020. Hope to see you there AND the next 10 prompts are on the home page now! Denyse.

    • Reply Allison Gonzalez February 21, 2020 at 02:47

      HI Denyse,

      Thank you for your comment.

      That is a very interesting view, that when you’re unwell to maybe take a look at your core values and see where you’ve strayed. That would certainly help for guidance back to your content life again.

      I took a look at your latest link up and I’ll be sure to participate when I can. Thanks!


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