So, with Hallboy leaving yesterday for BMT, for the first time in my life, I’m single, as in, live-by-myself-run-around-nekkid-if-I-want-to single. I’ve been a parent since I was 16, divorced for twenty-six years, and have always had someone living in the house with me. I’m wondering what single people do with their time in the evenings and on the weekends.
I love ya’ll, but I don’t want to spend my evenings glued to the message board, and I’m not an extrovert (which means I’m not keen on hanging out in bars or other social places), and I’ve given up television in the past year. I read–a LOT–but don’t it to consume my evenings and weekends.
In the summer, I’ll be super busy with the yard and garden (especially since I’ll be doing it myself this coming year without help from a strapping 18 year old), but this winter, I’m half afraid of becoming a recluse (at least on the weekends).
What suggestions do you have for a new empty nester? Surely there’s something out there that I should do or try at this point in my life.
I go to the gym 5 days a week, and walk my dog every day. By the time I am done with work, done with the dog and the gym, fed and showered it’s time to lie down and watch TV (or read, if I was in to that) and then go to bed.
The nice thing about going to the gym regularly, other than how it makes you feel, is that you get out and do something without having to actually interact with anyone. Well you might throw a smile at someone here or there or have someone you cross paths with that you wave at, but it’s not Chatty Time at all. It’s like fake reclusion!
On the weekends I take care of the house/yard and go shopping, and on occasion I will hang out with people.
In the past I’ve also taken classes (karate, church) and joined a group (bowling league).
We enjoy articles like this because they are so true: Five Reasons it’s Great to be Single During the Holidays
You don’t have to get a tree. Trees are festive, but the needles, the watering and the space it takes up – especially in a small apartment – makes for a lot of work. If you have kids and/or a husband, you might not be able to get away with not having a tree. It would be way too bah humbug. But when you’re single, you can be more creative. Put up a wreath, buy a few poinsettias… and done!
No baking or cooking. And if you do, people make a very big deal about it. “Wow, look at what the single lady pulled off!”
No one really expects you to send holiday cards. These days, holiday photos of well-dressed children and/or children placed in really cool, interesting spots (at the family beach house, Macchu Picchu, etc.) are the norm. If you don’t have children, there is no need to send a card. No postage, no paper waste and no brainstorming cute outfits or cool spots for the pictures. If you’re married and don’t send cards, you could be stricken from every card list, no matter how old or dear the friendship. But as a single person, no one seems to mind.
Pick Your Parties. You don’t have to accompany the husband or kids to parties you don’t really want to go to.
No in-laws to fight with or about. This is always an issue with my married friends and they tell me this fight can get old really quickly… and yet it must be had every year.
My daughter works, then goes to the gym, then comes home to cooking, cleaning, laundry, pet care, lawn care, and household repair/maintenance. It seems like there is always something to do that’s not recreational. She does do some crafting once a week, and maybe she goes out to dinner with a friend every week or two. Since she leaves the house at 7:15 and gets out of work at 6:30, there’s not a lot of time for other stuff.
That’s the beauty of it, you don’t have to do anything.
Being single and free can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life if not the best. The first thing you have to do is break out of your old routines when you had people around whether you liked it or not. You can get social interaction on demand in lots of different ways from bars to meetup.com but I find it is best just to embrace the single lifestyle for all its worth and not try to emulate things that attached people do.
Pursue hobbies that you always wanted to, learn to cook whatever YOU want and mix it up because you don’t have to satisfy anyone but yourself, read, get a pet, catch up on every movie you always to see but other people wouldn’t watch with you, rearrange your living space, or just screw off most the time. Nobody will care.
The thing you don’t want to do is stagnation or slowing life’s pace down to a crawl. Do you ever notice that older retirees can only seem to do one thing a day as in “Thursday is no good because I have to go to the hairdresser and Tuesday is bad because I have to go grocery shopping”. That is bad. You have the opportunity to have more free time than ever but it is up to you to make the most of it.
All those photo albums (dead tree or online) you said you were going to put together when you have the time? That’s now, while you still recognize people, or still have relatives left who know who they are.
Welcome to the club. Most single people sit around all day furiously masturbating. Lube helps.
…But seriously, I suggest:
A) Developing a hobby, or devoting more time to an existing one. Are you a mediocre painter? Now’s the time to become a great one! Do you exercise? Here’s your chance to start training for a half marathon, or triathlon, or whatever. Take whatever you do for enjoyment to the next level. Or finally give that thing you’ve always wanted to do a try.
B) Start hanging out with your friends. Your probably used to cooking for your teenage son. Well, now that he’s out you can cook for your friends every once in a while! Invite friends over for dinner, play some games, shoot the shit.
C) Make a few new friends. You don’t have to leave the house thinking “Okay, today I’m going to make a friend.” Just put yourself around other people, and smile. I refer you back to item “A” for a great way to meet new people.
If you want a list of specific things you should try this winter to keep you from becoming a hermit, here’s a few off the top of my head to give you some ideas:
You say you’re a big reader, join a book club! Find out about one through word of mouth (ask friends, your local library, etc), or you could check out a site like meetup.com.
Learn to ski
Learn to curl
Sign up for some exercise or yoga class at your gym or Y
Start swimming at your local gym or Y
Learn to fly a plane
Sign up for some art classes at your local artsy place. If you want to meet men, sign up for a duck carving class. You’ll be the only woman in the group!
Find a place to volunteer, or even get a weekend job (don’t know what your work schedule is like).
Learn to ride a horse
Learn to fence
Learn to shoot a gun and/or hunt
Sign up for a course at your local community college. Anything from a foreign language you’ve always wanted to learn to small engine repair.
ETA: The best thing about being single? Look at your clothes dryer; that’s now your dresser! Look at your washing machine; that’s now your hamper!
When not hanging out with friends or out with a girlfriend I play guitar, read, cook, practice my French, learn about stuff that interest me, etc. I go hiking and kayaking alone or with others on days off if I can. I make a lot of functional art stuff (which means I fancy-up a mundane but useful item, usually) or I build a new piece of furniture. There’s plenty to do.
Most days I think it’s awesome to get home and not have to talk about my day or her day or anyone else’s day. The cats are always glad to see me, and hardly ever bitch about anything unless their water dispenser ran out or something.
Volunteer! It doesn’t even have to be something where you meet lots of people. Work on the website of a cause you support. Audio describe plays for the hard of hearing (many theaters have this service - and you get to see the play for free). Read newspapers for the hard of hearing.
If you want to meet people but in a limited way, drive people to blood donation sites (coordinate with your blood service). Shelve books at your library.
If you want to meet people in a greater way - build with habitate for humanites - you don’t need skills they will teach you. Deliver food for meals on wheels. Check with a church or a temple or a mosque you trust (and go through their training and evaluation program) and get the name of some caregivers who could use a 2 hr break to go shopping or just take 2 hrs for themselves - give them a once a week 2 hr break.
I’ve been single for a long time, but usually had the kids living with me. I went through a 3 years stretch not long ago when they lived elsewhere so it can be really hard to adapt.
First thing is learn to cook for 1 person otherwise you have constant leftovers, then develop some new habits and routines.
I’m also an introvert and was used to using the kids as an excuse why I couldn’t do things. Once you’re single, time to stop making the excuses and allow yourself to be spontaneous.
Go and see that movie/play/band/concert/art exhibition instead of telling yourself you don’t have time.
Do stuff on the spur of the moment, get a hobby or develop an interest you already had.
One thing I did was set myself rules on TV and Internet usage so I didn’t blow all my time staring at a a screen. Things like no intenet in the morning until after walk or gym then only for an hour to read the news or BB’s from overnight. No TV during the day etc.
basically, start rediscovering what you want, and do stuff for you. Time to be a bit selfish.
You can set up a table in a spare room, buy a strategy wargame such as Avalon Hill Panzerblitz, lay it all out on the table, and dig in to some serious solitaire wargaming. Most wargamers actually go it alone, playing solitaire because they can’t find a worthy or interested opponent. Anyhow, with the solitaire play, you get to play both sides at the same time, and play according to what you think they would sensibly play, or evaluating historical what ifs, rather than trying to outsmart your opponent since your opponent is yourself. And then there’s Napoleonic miniatures if you want to get really serious about it. Of course, don’t laugh, but video games are another way to spend alone time.
Another vote for volunteering. The great thing about being a volunteer is you only do what you like to do. I have been a volunteer ever since I can remember. When I was younger I did hard stuff like taking care of those that were dying. But now I do fun stuff. I help teach art to kids three times a year and I also participate in a music program. I photograph the entertainers and participants and post it on the web. I put up posters. I take food for backstage dinners. I meet a lot of interesting people and hang out with crazy artists.
Once or twice a week I like going up the mountain to do a small easy hike. Someone usually joins me. I make sure I share a lunch with someone at least once a week and a dinner out with friends at least once a month.
I also try to have an on going art project. Right now I am working on a small scratch board.
I also play words with friends with my Mom about five days a week.
I also am fairly reclusive. And I enjoy my alone time.