HappiNest: Finding Fulfillment After Your Kids Leave Home is a valuable resource for empty nesters.


HappiNest: Finding Fulfillment After Your Kids Leave Home is a valuable resource for empty nesters.


“Journalist Holland provides advice for empty nesters, pulling from over 300 interviews with a diverse group of parents, in her instructive debut. With a focus on managing one’s relationships during this transitional period, Holland suggests reinvigorating ones’s life with double dates and social plans (while also being wary of “suffocating” friends and family) and engaging in activities such as volunteering, taking classes, and reconnecting with old friends… A significant portion of the book addresses creating new and respectful relationships with adult children, after they leave, or if they “boomerang” back home, with helpful advice on setting boundaries. This shrewd guide will be useful to any empty nester concerned about next steps.”
— Publishers Weekly

Rated one of the 6 New Self-Help Books for Better Living by AARP.

Holland puts a positive spin on what could be a tumultuous season of life, providing a solid route on which to travel.
— Library Journal

“I don’t say this lightly: this book could save your life. With middle-aged adults, particularly women, dying younger than previous generations from ‘diseases of despair,’ finding a renewed sense of purpose and zest during the empty nest period is a recipe for happiness and meaning. Judy Holland has brilliantly woven together stories, research and checklists that will appeal to anyone who wants to find out how to fill the empty nest in important ways.”
— Caroline Adams Miller, author of “Creating Your Best Life” and “Getting Grit”

“A thoughtful meditation on living as an empty-nester, this book is chock full ideas inspired by philosophy, social science, and hundreds of real-life experiences. Judy Holland has written a rich and compassionate work that will surely help the many who will read it not only avoid despair and isolation but, more importantly, lead increasingly meaningful and fulfilled lives. An inspiring and sorely needed work.”
—Mario L. Small, Grafstein Family Professor of Sociology, Harvard University

“In her book HappiNest, Judy Holland presents a vivid road map to help you navigate uncharted territory when your last child leaves home. This thought-provoking and evidence-based book presents valuable insights and practical advice such as how to set ground rules if your child “boomerangs” back into the household, how to prune and cultivate friendships for more soul per square inch, and how to add spark, novelty and joy to your empty nest marriage. HappiNest entertains, enlightens and eases the passage into the second half of life. ”
— David J. Pollay, MAPP, best-selling author of “The Law of the Garbage Truck”

“With the variety of stories included in HappiNest, Holland provides a wealth of support and suggestions to help readers effectively manage this transition. Just like the title promises, the book absolutely delivers engaging and inspiring ideas that will set the reader on a path to a new type of personal fulfillment.”
— Suzanne Degges-White, Professor and Chair, Department of Counseling and Higher Education, Northern Illinois University; author of “Sisters and Brothers for Life: Making Sense of Sibling Relationships in Adulthood”

“Becoming an empty nester poses an existential challenge to many parents: when kids leave, so does a major source of purpose for parents. Fortunately, they can now turn to HappiNest to help them navigate this transition. Judy Holland’s book draws on fascinating psychology research and tells the stories of many empty nesters to show how people can redefine their purpose and identity after the kids leave home. This book will bring hope and comfort to those parents searching for meaning in the second half of life. ”
— Emily Esfahani Smith, author of “The Power of Meaning”

“Having worked with thousands of empty nesters, as well as, living the empty nest, this book is on the pulse for helping others with a reality vs fantasy time of life. Holland has done her research and offers the reader the challenges and joys of the empty nest milestone. ”
— Natalie Caine, MA, founder of www.lifeintransition.org

“When the children finally leave the nest, women and men can find themselves challenged by a new stage in their lives. Judy Holland’s book tells these parents not to despair! There are many roads to happiness, and Holland provides them with insightful tools and tips for self-fulfillment as they take this exciting new journey.”
— Jocelyn Elise Crowley, PhD, author of “Gray Divorce: What We Lose and Gain from Mid-life Splits”

“We have been in the empty nest for 30 years and work with couples dealing with empty nest issues. Judy Holland’s book, HappiNest, is by far the best resource available today for all those who want to prepare for and enjoy this stage of life. Judy has done her homework and gathered the best research, advice from experts, and good common sense tips to guide you through the challenges of the empty nest years. A must read if you are near or in the empty nest—or even if your nest has refilled!”
— Claudia and David Arp, MSW, authors of “The Second Half of Marriage”

“Judy Holland has written an exceptional book balancing personal narratives with sound empirical evidence focusing on the complex and dynamic process of the empty nest. Judy offers a thick description of the struggles, rewards, and multiple challenges that parents face as their children leave home (and sometimes return), while simultaneously maintaining and managing their own intimate relationships with each-other, friends and their children. Judy offers sound advice that can help us successfully make our way through this inevitable and significant life transition. I highly recommend this book to all parents, and departing children as well, who will soon, or who are in the life long process of transitioning to the empty nest.”
— Jon F. NussBaum, Liberal Arts Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences & Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State University

HappiNest is a great resource for those parents who find they have been successful at what they have been working towards for almost two decades (getting their children out of the house) and yet, when the time actually comes, find it may not be as easy to deal with as they thought.
— Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD., Bestselling author of “Better Than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love”

Very few people in the past felt either the luxury or the loneliness of having an empty nest. Holland perceptively analyzes why this stage of life has become a problem for many people and offers practical suggestions for how to deal with it.
— Stephanie Coontz, author of “Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage”

We live now in an era where most people have only one or two children and live to be at least 80 years-old. That means there is a lot of life left once the kids leave home, as most do by their early twenties. This wise book provides a road map for how to make the most of the opportunities ahead once the nest has emptied out. and how to handle the challenges, too.
— Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, author of “Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road from the Late Teens Through the Twenties”

Beautifully written, interesting, and compelling, Judy Holland teaches us about the challenges faced by empty nesters, and, ultimately, about life itself. Highly recommended!
— Annette Lareau, University of Pennsylvania sociology professor and author of “Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race and Family Life”

A wealth of information based on research and interviews done by an expert journalist; HappiNest will help navigate you out of the lonely post-kids woods into a joyful next chapter.
— John “JW” and Pamela Gaye Walker, EmptyNestersPlay.com

“HappiNest: Finding Fulfillment After Your Kids Leave Home is a valuable resource for empty nesters. Judy Holland has expertly curated interviews, quotes, research studies and statistics to comfort, inspire and encourage those of us who are heading into or who are in the empty nest.”
— Christine Maziarz, Your Empty Nest Coach

“Life has many seasons, each rich in opportunities to learn, grow and, ultimately, to thrive amid its challenges. HappiNest will help you navigate this next season – to forge richer relationships, cultivate new passions, and to embrace its many possibilities with a newfound sense of courage, clarity and adventure. ”
— Margie Warrell, Bestselling author of “Train The Brave” and “Make Your Mark”

HappiNest explores a variety of challenges that arise when the house is suddenly empty or emptying, and Judy Holland provides tips and tools for managing the emotions and realities of this new life stage. Whether you’re seeking a renaissance in your romantic relationship, guiding a boomerang child at home, or figuring out how to handle an empty nest divorce, this HappiNest book and podcast are for you.

From dealing with friends and career transitions, to reconnecting with genuine interests and passions, this road map will help guide you. There are hills, valleys, thickets, briar patches, and ditches ahead, as well as waterfalls that resolve into pristine ponds. With mindfulness, hard work, and knowledge of experiences, research, and wisdom from seasoned empty nesters, you can create the most fulfilling phase of your life—and make the world a better place.

— Northwestern University | MEDILL