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Single And Loving It

Single And Loving It:

Nine Ways To Transform Your Singlehood From

Miserable To Marvelous

by Emily Josephine

 

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. You have permission to quote small portions of this book in other publications, digital or print, as long as you give credit to the author and include a link to her website, http://liveyourdreamswithemily.com.

 

Disclaimer: Results, as usual, are not guaranteed.

 

License Note

This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please send them the link to download their own copy from an online e-book retailer. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Introduction

[Before I get into this book, I need to make an important point clear: I am targeting the information herein toward single women who do not have children. If you are a single parent, it’s a whole other ballgame. While some of the ten ideas listed in this book may help you, they may not simply because being a single parent takes up most, if not all, of your time.

Single childless men are welcome to read this book as well, though they will have to mentally modify certain phrases and pronouns.

And now, on with the content…]

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If I could go back in time, there are a whole lot of things I’d do differently. One of those things would be to enjoy my singlehood as much as possible. But I didn’t. Instead, I let my job that I didn’t like suck most of the energy out of my life so that I didn’t feel like doing anything that truly fulfilled me.

When I finally got to the point where I started to yearn for a lifetime companion, I spent what little energy I had thinking about how lonely I was and generally feeling sorry for myself, as well as envious of all the couples around me who seemed to have thriving relationships.

In short, I wasted my singlehood.

If you have downloaded this book, I suspect that you are in a similar situation. You either know or at least hope that your soul mate is out there somewhere, waiting for you, and you spend all of your free time worrying about whether you’ll ever find each other. And if you do, will you both live “happily ever after”, or will you experience a marriage full of struggle and heartache? Will he want as many kids as you do? What if he turns out to have a secret addiction? Will he still love you when you get old and wrinkled? What if one of you, after hitching together, changes his or her mind about spirituality, believing ideas that the other could never embrace?

Whoa! Slow down, girl! Talk about borrowing trouble. But if this is where your mind goes as you lie in bed by yourself, trying to get to sleep, you are in good company. Many single women worry over a future that may or may not happen, with a man they haven’t even met yet. They also plod through careers that they’ve decided they don’t like, tolerating their jobs because they believe that at any moment, Prince Charming (who has a great job that makes lots of money, don’t you know) is going to ride in on his white BMW-shaped horse and drive you away with him into everlasting bliss.

I know I did. And it was a complete waste of time.

I don’t want you to waste your time. I don’t want you to waste your mental energy worrying. I don’t want you to feel any more loneliness than you have to, and I definitely don’t want you to feel unfulfilled.

And so I wrote this mini-book. I wrote it to provide you with ideas on meaningful ways to fill your time as a single person.

The benefits of singlehood

Ask 100 women who did not get married until their late twenties or later – especially women who did not get married until their thirties, forties, or even fifties – and probably at least seventy-five of them would say the same thing that I did at the beginning of this chapter: if I had to do it over again, I would.

It’s crazy how single people who want to settle down with a life partner ignore all the blessings of being single…until they get married! We, the married women (and men, too, most likely) of the Western world, would like to give you single people a heads-up: you never had it so good!

At some point, you may have already created a list of the advantages of being single, either in your head or on paper, to make yourself feel better. If so, allow me to remind you of those advantages. Maybe it will mean more hearing it from a woman who has been married for well over a decade.

If you’ve never made such a list, well, you definitely need to see one! Here goes…the benefits of being single.

#1: Time freedom.

Sometimes, I wistfully remember the days when I only had to prepare food for one, and how much less time it took than it does now (and there are only three of us!). I remember when I wanted to go to a store or to the library, all I had to do was grab my fanny pack, get in my car, and go. There was no having to work around my husband’s schedule or needs, or take fifteen minutes getting a toddler or preschooler ready to go.

#2: Space and stuff freedom.

When you are single and living by yourself, you don’t have to work to mesh your stuff with somebody else’s, and you can do whatever you want with the space you live in (within whatever regulations you need to follow if you rent, of course).

#3: Decision freedom.

Want to spend a long weekend in Cancun? The only schedule you have to work around is yours, and you don’t have to try to talk someone else into it.

Want to go minimalist, sell everything you own, and travel the world with a backpack? You don’t have to try to convince someone else to completely change their perspective about life and living.

Want to be a regular part of the community theater group or local chorale? No kids, no problem!

Even married couples who don’t have kids cannot always just up and do what their spouse wants to do. Or, the spouse may just not want to do it. Single reader, enjoy your freedom while it lasts!

#4: A lot less conflict.

As a single person, you may have to deal with ongoing conflict with a relative, or occasional conflict with a friend. But once you partner up with somebody, expect to introduce more arguments into your life and have to compromise what you want so that there can be peace in your household. Once you bring children into the picture, expect the number of conflicts to increase dramatically. Just because you don’t want a strong-willed child doesn’t mean you won’t get one. Trust me.

It’s a lot easier to be at peace when you’re single. A related benefit…

#5: No heartache.

“Owner of a lonely heart/Much better than owner of a broken heart,” sang the old rock band Yes back in the 1980’s. Having been married as long as I have to an imperfect man, some days I really believe this. Even if you marry your soul mate, he will occasionally let you down. Just like you will occasionally let him down. And sometimes, this letting down really hurts. The closer you are to a person, the deeper the bond, the more painful it is when they do something that hurts you, whether it’s intentional or not.

Loneliness is a different kind of pain, yes, but in my experience it’s not the searing, trust-rending kind that often happens when one spouse does something that inflicts emotional wounds on the other. Single people don’t have to deal with that.

But there’s another kind of heartache, as well. It’s the one you get when a loved one is a victim of a fatal accident. Or becomes injured for life. Or develops a chronic, perhaps even terminal, disease. My husband has had to deal with some horrific fits of rage and bouts of depression as I’ve had to spend the lion’s share of the decade of my forties trying to get to the root of the hormonal imbalance and personality issues that were causing the powerful emotions.

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If I really put my head to it, I could probably come up with a few more benefits of being single. But I won’t, because I may have already convinced you that you don’t want a soul mate, thank you very much!

Truly, the compromises you have to make and occasional emotional pain you feel are worth bonding as deeply with another person as you do with your soul mate. Eventually you come to a point where you don’t care about the sacrifices you have to make, as long as you and your spouse continue to grow in your relationship. You’d rather have that love and constant companionship than your singlehood.

However, the fact is, you are single right now. And mooning over someone whom you’ve never met and/or keeping yourself stuck in a rut in hopes of being rescued out of it are both unproductive uses of your energy and time. The solution is twofold: first, embrace the benefits I just listed above; and second, latch onto some of the ideas that I’m going to flesh out in the rest of this mini-book so that you will stay much more focused on living a fulfilled, exciting (or at least interesting) life than on how lonely you feel.

Let’s get into the first idea, shall we?

Idea #1: Travel

One of the best decisions I made in my single life was to visit relatives in Switzerland right after I graduated from college. One of the worst decisions I made was to never do any extensive travel like that again, until my honeymoon.

My main problem was fear of spending the money (a long story not relevant to this book), but if I’d been thinking, might I have decided differently?

If you enjoy travel, once you find your soul mate you will want to travel with him. But in that case, you will, in all likelihood, have to try to juggle two schedules to be able to do so. The only exception would be if you both worked together in your own business, or if you were both freelancers who could do their work anywhere in the world.

And once children come into the picture – well, we’re not talking impossibilities, but people who travel frequently with children have to sacrifice a lot, be very disciplined with living frugally, and usually commit to homeschooling. Not that that’s a bad thing, by a long shot, but it’s another adjustment you may have to make.

With children, too, come living space issues and the work to keep them entertained while they have to be restrained to a seat in a mini-van or on a plane. And then you have to haul around all the stuff that children require.

“But I don’t want to go alone!”

If you are unwilling to travel all by yourself, find a friend or close family member who is interested in going where you want to go, and who can coordinate their schedule with yours. Another option is to book a cruise in which you bunk with other single ladies. Look online for other kinds of organized tour groups.

On the other hand, if you are reluctant to travel by yourself, perhaps taking a trip alone is exactly what you need. My uncle (the one who lives in Switzerland, coincidentally) once told me that you truly know that you can live with yourself when you can go for a long drive without needing to listen to any outside voices. Maybe you need to do a little solo traveling number one, to realize that whatever fears you have of traveling alone are unfounded; and number two, to learn to be comfortable with yourself.

Start small

If you’re not used to traveling, or are hesitant to travel alone, start with a few small trips. Is there an interesting place within a five-hour drive that you’ve always wanted to visit? Schedule an overnight trip. When you get to your motel or hotel, ask the clerk about other things to do besides the one thing you have in mind. Or, look online ahead of time. If, for example, you’re visiting a city with a concert hall, you will likely have to buy tickets ahead of time to hear an orchestra or watch a play.

As you take each small trip, make a running list of items that you need to take. After two or three trips, you should have a good idea of what you need when you’re going to be away for two or three days.

For years, I went camping in different parks every summer, and I had a master list of what I needed to pack. I also had a list of things I needed to do before I left (unplug certain appliances, make sure all the burners on the stove were turned off, flush the toilet, etc.).

That reminds me…

Pack light

There’s nothing more annoying than having to wait in baggage claim for a checked bag…and then finding out an hour and half later that it was sent to Duluth instead of Dallas! Do an online search for “how to travel light” or “minimalist packing”, and you’ll get some great ideas. My trip to Switzerland was a month long, and all I took was a stuffed-full carry-on and an equally stuffed oversized purse. You have to be willing to wear the same clothes several days in a row to pull this off. But, you know what? A piece of clothing isn’t dirty until it either smells or looks dirty!

Accommodations

If you’re just starting out on your career, money is probably tight. If you’re used to staying at five-star hotels like you did when you traveled with your parents when you were younger, you’ll have to switch gears for a while. The Motel 6 chain may seem beneath you, but I can tell you from experience that the rooms, though basic, are always clean. They are also well-designed so that you don’t end up whacking your head against an ill-placed shelf while trying to unpack your suitcase.

Mom-and-pop motels, which you will find in small towns, are hit-and-miss. Some are better quality than others. Most certainly if they are AAA-approved, you can feel confident booking a room there.

If there is a specific place across the ocean you would like to visit, check online and see if there is anyone in that country who is requesting a house-sitter during the time you want to go. If hostels are available, they are very inexpensive, and these days you may be able to find an Airbnb option, as well.

Popular tourist areas are going to be full of overpriced luxurious hotels. But if you look around, you’ll very likely be able to find a nearby bed-and-breakfast that will fit your budget much better.

Perhaps the best – and cheapest – option would be to stay with a friend whom you’ve made online who lives in the country of interest. But if you arrange that, determine to be the best, most considerate guest that your friend has ever had. The phrase, “Fish and visitors smell in three days” comes from the plethora of guests who do not know how to make themselves scarce when necessary, and/or do not follow the Golden Rule.

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Traveling is fun, and the easiest time to do it is when you’re single with no children. The next idea could be combined with travel.

Idea #2: Volunteer

If you struggle with loneliness most evenings and weekends, a volunteer position may be right up your alley. If you are an extrovert who enjoys chatting, consider becoming a regular visitor to a few nursing home patients. Many nursing home residents crave visitors, and the ones who are mentally and verbally coherent are a great source of history in the form of their lives – plus, they love telling others about themselves (don’t we all?). The one downside of getting to know these elderly is, of course, you are going to get attached and therefore will grieve – at least a little – when they die. So you need to know that you can handle this aspect of befriending the elderly.

Another option most people either don’t think about, or reject out of hand, is visiting prisoners. Many of them never receive any visits from friends or family. And they are not all hardened sociopaths. Some of them just made stupid mistakes that they regret. For others, getting thrown into prison has been a wake-up call and they have been truly rehabilitated away from a life of crime. If there is a penitentiary in your area, consider calling the person in charge to ask if there are such men or women who would appreciate a visit now and then.

A big caution to the ladies: if you decide to take the leap and visit a male inmate, make sure to get one who is at least a couple of decades older than you and either is married or has been married and has children. He will likely be mature enough to maintain proper boundaries between the two of you, and you are less likely to be attracted to him. Best case scenario: women should try to visit women prisoners.

Do you live in a large city? Then another place to volunteer if you enjoy socializing is a center where teenagers assemble after school or on Saturdays. Teens love it when adults who treat them as adults hang out with them. You may be called upon to tutor, do some coaching, or just shoot some baskets.

Other volunteer ideas

If you live in even a mid-sized city in the United States, there may be a Dorothy Day house around. These are regular houses (a lot of them are, anyway) with several bedrooms that serve as a temporary dwelling for transient or homeless people. These – and similar charitable organizations – need a small group of people to make and serve dinner every night. The host or hostess of a particular Dorothy Day house also encourages volunteers to interact with their guests. Believe me, you can meet some quite interesting characters this way!

Your city may have an organization that produces audio material – with volunteers reading aloud and recording anything from newspaper articles to textbooks – for the blind. If you’re physically strong and enjoy manual labor, how about helping out with a Habitat For Humanity house? If you’re emotionally strong, you may consider receiving training to work a hotline. Do an online search for “volunteer opportunities in [NAME OF YOUR CITY, TOWN, OR COUNTY]” and you will undoubtedly find an option that works for you. Or, for the USA, check out websites like volunteermatch.org, redcross.org, or volunteer.gov.

I mentioned at the end of the last section about combining travel with volunteering. These days, there are many opportunities to travel overseas – either by yourself or with a group – and help with a project. And often, you have time to sightsee, as well. One place to start is projects-abroad.org.

But if you would like to volunteer some of your free time, don’t limit yourself to established organizations. Is there an elderly person in your neighborhood who lives alone and rarely gets visitors? Consider asking them if they would like you to check on them and have a short visit every day at a certain time. If you find out a certain family in your neighborhood or church group has been ill, bring them healthy soups for a few days. Or volunteer to shovel the snow on their sidewalk or do some basic housecleaning.

When I lived in Dallas, I loved to ride my bike around White Rock Lake. But it was so trashy, putting an ugly scar on an otherwise beautiful area. One summer day, I decided to start picking up the trash myself. I know that other people observed what I was doing, because one day after I’d been doing it for a while a lady walking by on the paved trail told me that I inspired her.

A couple of years later, having moved to another area of Dallas, I heard that someone had started a White Rock Lake cleanup organization. I like to think that my small actions did, indeed, inspire someone else to take a bigger action.

When you’re single, you have much more free time than you would ever have as a married person – and loads of it compared to what you’ll have after the kids start coming! Volunteering your time:

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p<>{color:#111;}. gives you a sense of satisfaction,

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p<>{color:#111;}. helps you feel more fulfilled,

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p<>{color:#111;}. reduces your loneliness,

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p<>{color:#111;}. increases your skill sets and improves the skills you already have,

*
p<>{color:#111;}. makes a positive difference in other people’s lives, and

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p<>{color:#111;}. keeps you from getting dangerously bored.

Idea #3: Work an extra job

I know, I know. You’re already beat at the end of each workday. How could you even think about working another job? And why would you want to? Well, you probably wouldn’t if you got super-involved with volunteering!

But if you don’t, there are two reasons to consider taking on a second, part-time job: first, the busier you stay, the less time you have to feel lonely. Second, another job means more money.

If I had known at twenty-five what I know now, I would have taught summer school every summer (I was a teacher by trade) and moonlighted at a restaurant. I would have worked my rear end off so that I could have been financially independent by my mid-thirties. I would have endured thirteen or fourteen years of misery (I despised my job) if I had been smarter about earning money and investing, and known I would be able to quit my job before I turned forty.

If this sounds crazy, read my book Hatching The Nest Egg: Achieve Super-Early Retirement Without Gambling, Side-Gigs Or An Above-Average Income. My husband and I retired in our early forties…thanks to my husband’s better-paying job and consistent investing beginning right out of college. Look for the book at the same website from which you downloaded this one.

You may not care about retiring early. You may prefer to be more relaxed about life and spend the conventional thirty to forty years in the workforce. And that’s fine. If that’s you, feel free to move on to the next idea.

However, if you want to get way ahead of your peers financially, there are two steps to take:

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p<>{color:#111;}. make sure you have plenty of money leftover at the end of each month, and

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p<>{color:#111;}. invest the money wisely (I explain how in the book I just mentioned).

If you already happen to have an extra grand every month, then perhaps volunteering or travel would be more appropriate. If you don’t, taking on a part-time job would help. Use the extra money to pay off any debts you have, first, but then set up an online account with a company such as T. Rowe Price or Vanguard and start investing it.

As with travel and volunteering, you will never have a better opportunity to take on extra work hours than when you are single. And wouldn’t it be great if, by the time you met and married your soul mate, you had gotten a huge head start on a nest egg so that the two of you could enjoy most of your lives doing things that you really wanted to do, rather than being stuck at jobs you didn’t like?

Just a thought. The next idea is related to this, but may be more appealing to the general single public.

Idea #4: Turn a hobby or talent into a side business.

A part of me feels like I don’t even need to say this, because I know of so many people who have started online businesses or work-at-home businesses such as life coaching, landscape design, or interior decorating. But another part of me remembers that the percentage of entrepreneurs among the adult population in general, and the twenty-somethings in particular, is still pretty small. This is probably due in part to people not wanting to take a financial risk. But when you know that the fee to set up, say, an eBay store is so low, or that you can start a YouTube channel for nothing, this reasoning should fly out the window.

More often than not, single people who do not own their own micro-businesses have had it drilled into them that they must work at a “regular job” if they want to be certain of a regular paycheck. So they work a full-time job, then either go out to the bar or club or go home and watch T.V. or spend a couple of hours on Facebook. They get into the habit of ignoring their passions, interests, or special talents and so don’t even think about spending time on them.

Or, they have a hobby that they work on occasionally, but have no thought about working on it often enough to make it turn a profit.

I’m not saying that every hobby ought to be turned into a side business, or that you should never go out for a couple of drinks with friends after work. My point is that turning a hobby, interest, or talent into a side business can do wonders in preventing you from wasting your singlehood as I mentioned at the beginning of this book. One reason is that a side-business requires that you stick to a regular schedule of work outside of your regular job hours. When you are so busy you have to create a schedule, you tend not to waste time and are much more productive.

Another reason is that working a side biz will, indeed, keep you busy, which will keep your mind on things other than the fact that you don’t have a partner, which will keep you from feeling as lonely as you might otherwise.

Of course, there’s always a chance that your side-biz ends up, say, making at least as much money as your day job, enabling you to eventually quit your day job. This does not happen to most people, but that’s only because most people don’t do what it takes to bring a side-biz to that level. That’s fine if you don’t want to; I’m just offering it as a possibility.

What kind of business should I start?

Your side business will depend on one or more of the following: your interests, your skills, and/or your talents. No idea in the following list will fit everyone, as everyone has different hobbies and innate abilities or gifts. And the list certainly isn’t comprehensive. Take inventory of what you enjoy doing in your spare time, topics you enjoy learning more about, and natural talents that you have. Then use the list as a springboard for your own ideas.

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p<>{color:#111;}. If you’re a talented writer, write novels or non-fiction books in your area of expertise and self-publish them.

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p<>{color:#111;}. Are you good at making things? Set up an Etsy or eBay store to sell the crafts or clothing you love making, or the art you love to create.

*
p<>{color:#111;}. If you’re a decent speaker, set up a YouTube channel that will be about a topic that you – and a lot of other people – are interested in. Start making and publishing videos to the channel as you take a course or two on how to create quality videos and increase your videos’ views.

*
p<>{color:#111;}. If you’re a musician, consider buying the equipment necessary to record your music and create music videos, and start a YouTube channel to promote those videos. Sell individual songs at places like Amazon and iTunes.

*
p<>{color:#111;}. Alternatively, sing/play at weddings.

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p<>{color:#111;}. Consider yourself an expert in the area of health and fitness? Read a few books about coaching, then see about setting yourself up as a health coach, either independently or in conjunction with a local fitness club or Park and Rec department.

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p<>{color:#111;}. Teach classes for your local Park and Rec department.

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p<>{color:#111;}. Landscape other people’s lawns on the weekend.

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p<>{color:#111;}. Set up a dog-walking/sitting service.

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p<>{color:#111;}. Tutor children after school.

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p<>{color:#111;}. If you live in a house with a decent-sized backyard and you love to garden, grow extra and sell it at a weekend farmer’s market.

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p<>{color:#111;}. Become a professional organizer.

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p<>{color:#111;}. Set up a small photography studio and start advertising.

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p<>{color:#111;}. Help other people decorate and design their living spaces using items that they already have.

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p<>{color:#111;}. Breed small animals for pet stores.

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p<>{color:#111;}. Buy items at garage sales, buff them up, and sell them for a profit on craigslist.

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p<>{color:#111;}. Help local small businesses redesign (or create) websites.

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p<>{color:#111;}. If you are well-skilled at software such as PhotoShop or a similar software program, design book covers for independent e-book authors. Become a part of any of several freelancing service websites (such as guru.com) so that people can find your services.

I could go on, and on, and on. The possibilities are endless when it comes to thinking up a possible micro-business that you could work on when you’re not at your day job. But that leads to a big question…

“How do people find out about my business?”

You probably already have an account on one or more of the major social media sites. Start there! Make sure to edit your “about” section to include information regarding your new business. Then grow your network. On Facebook, you do this by joining Facebook groups related to your business. When you’ve interacted with someone in a group a couple of times, send them a friend request.

Make sure you start a LinkedIn account, if you don’t already have one. If you decide to start a blog to help promote your business, you can have the blog feed automatically sent to your LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter account. (For Twitter, you have to use an outside service – which is free – to have this done. They change occasionally, so I am reluctant to give you the URL to any specific website. However, one that is working as I write these words is https://dlvrit.com/.)

If you’re going to mainly serve your local area, read the book Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson. Also read The Fusion Marketing Bible by Lon Safko. Both of these books also include detailed ideas about how to market your business online, and so would be helpful whether you plan to start an online business or a strictly local one.

A word about multi-level marketing

You may be familiar with multi-level marketing, otherwise referred to as MLM, network marketing, or “home-based business.” If you are, you may be wondering whether you could succeed in this kind of business, and/or whether it’s as easy to do as the companies’ “opportunity videos” make you think.

Yes to the first question, not at all to the second.

Far be it from me to tell anyone what to do. But I spent probably a good eight years with some MLM company or other, and here’s what I learned:

#
p<>{color:#111;}. The company tries to make you think that if you join, you’ll own your own business. Totally not true. You become a distributor for the company, and therefore a pawn in its game to grow its bottom line.

#
p<>{color:#111;}. You may lose friends after you start trying to build your business, because you keep pressuring them to join the business even after they’ve told you “no.”

#
p<>{color:#111;}. The people who succeed do so because they learn to become Master Manipulators. They tell half-truths, and get greedier by the day.

When I encourage you to start your own business, I most emphatically do not mean MLM.

Idea #5: Learn a new skill (or skill set).

When I was in high school, during the summer between my sophomore and junior years I taught myself American Sign Language, and during the summer between my junior and senior years I read some books about photography. I was an introvert (so I didn’t socialize unless pushed into it) and found myself getting excruciatingly bored when I wasn’t working at my waitressing job, so I decided to pursue some interests I had.

Thirty years later, I still remember the basics of composing a good photograph and can still get by in sign language.

Learning new skills will be par for the course if you set out to start a micro-business or take on a part-time job. But you don’t have to add extra work to your schedule in order to fill it out more. You can simply choose to learn something new.

Why is this a good activity for singles to pursue? Besides possibly helping you to make new friends, it’s a relaxing and fun way to stay busy. There isn’t the stress of a second job, and you don’t need to discipline yourself as sternly as you do to maintain a micro-business.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to know how to do, but kept putting off? Is there a skill you know you’ll enjoy learning that will help you be more effective on the job or with your business? Maybe you just want to explore a few things to see which ones interest you enough to stick with over the long haul.

The following list, like the list in the previous section, is far from comprehensive. But it’s a good jumping-off point as far as ideas of new things you might try to learn.

photography, vegetarian cooking, scrapbooking, natural remedies, knitting/crocheting/etc., wilderness survival, learning a new (spoken) language, learning a computer language, writing poetry, rock climbing, skiing, tennis, interior decorating, fashion design, play an instrument, speed reading, handwriting analysis, appliance repair, basic car repair, public speaking, basic construction

Often, learning one new skill leads to wanting to learn a related skill. It can also lead to new career opportunities or business ideas. Besides that, actively learning new things improves mental function and gives you something interesting to talk about at parties.

Idea #6: Maintain an exercise routine.

For probably at least half of my readers, this idea will sound like a no-brainer. You already have an exercise routine, may even have a personal trainer with whom you work at a gym. If that’s the case, I still want you to read this section, because I’m going to give you some information that you may not know that will help you down the line.

First, what on earth does having an exercise routine have to do with improving your single life? For one thing, it gets – and keeps – you in the shape you may want to be in once your soul mate comes into your life. For another, the younger you are when you get into the habit of staying fit, the better chance you have of maintaining that habit when you get older and have less energy.

And ladies, if you’re planning to have children, a fit body generally has a lot easier time giving birth than an unfit one!

Finally, having a daily exercise routine will add at least another thirty minutes to your schedule, which will be that much less time that you will spend pining over your future companion.

This leads me to the first important issue about exercise: don’t overdo it. While I am going to recommend that you do some kind of movement every day, I am also going to recommend that you do a different kind of exercise every second or third day. If you do aerobics every day for longer than twenty minutes, you are going to cause the body to produce the stress hormones, which will slow down your metabolism. If you do any kind of strength training every day, you won’t give your muscles time to recover in between workouts, and you will end up injuring yourself.

So when I suggest setting aside thirty minutes a day for exercise, I’m not implying that you should do the same thing for every thirty-minute session. Break it up. For example, Day One might be yoga or Pilates. On Day Two, you might go for a bike ride or dance around your apartment. On Day Three, you do a strength training or core workout routine. This way, neither your body in general nor your muscles in particular get stressed.

The core of the problem

This leads me to Exercise Issue number two, particularly important for the ladies but not something men want to ignore, either. You need to keep your core – your abdominal muscles – strong.

Please, please PLEASE hear the voice of sad experience: You need to keep your core strong.

I didn’t know this until – too late! – I was in my late thirties. In my middle school and high school P.E. classes, the teachers taught sports and skills that only a small percentage of the students would actually go on to use later in life. They made us do things like run around the track, cold, without teaching us a month earlier how to work up to it!

Worthless things, that made me hate running and be leery of organized exercise in general. (No, I never liked P.E.) They didn’t teach important things, like what your core is and why it is critical to keep it strong.

In case P.E. teachers are still slacking off in that area, allow me to pick up the slack: if you don’t have a strong core, you are at much greater risk of injuring your lower back somewhere down the line.

And don’t think that just because you’re young, you can get away with lifting or pushing things that your arms are strong enough to do, but that your core isn’t. I began gradually injuring my lower back when I was in my mid-twenties. Now, I have to be extremely careful with what I pick up, even after having seen chiropractors off and on over the years. If I so much as pick up two gallons of water from the floor, my back might ache for the next two months! It really sucks, and it’s all because when I was younger I thought just doing some power-walking every day was enough to keep me fit.

At least twice a week, three would be better, do some kind of exercise to strengthen your core. Pilates does that. There are exercise-ball exercises with that objective – and plenty of videos on YouTube that demonstrate them. My core exercise of choice I discovered quite by accident: lie down on your bed or on a mat on the floor, place your legs up in the air so that they are perpendicular to your trunk, and move your legs like you’re riding a bicycle. This will build up and tighten not only your thigh muscles, but your core as well.

Physical therapist Peggy Brill put a book out about a decade or so ago entitled, The Core Program, which I recommend if you don’t want to do anything else. Her workout, and any other core-strengthening program, will only take ten to fifteen minutes a few times per week, so there’s no reason to skimp on it. Which reminds me…

“But I don’t have time to work out!”

Can you find ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the afternoon to do some vigorous high-knee marching and/or lift five- to ten-pound weights? If you can’t, you need to look at your schedule because you are just too busy – especially for a single person without a family. Of all the ideas in this book, this is the only one I would not call optional because it is so important to your future health. So find time. Make it more interesting by listening to music or podcasts while you exercise.

Idea #7: Have a regular “date night” with friends

There’s nothing that makes life more fun than having something you can look forward to. And when you and a friend or three agree on a regular time to get together, that means that every month or week you will always have something enjoyable to anticipate.

You might decide to have lunch together every Saturday. Or go out to dinner every second Tuesday of the month. But you don’t have to limit yourself to eating. You could meet at an entertainment place and play paintball or bowl. You could go watch a movie. Or just get together at somebody’s house and plan to share snacks and chat, and/or watch a movie or play games.

If you’re an introvert like me and prefer to see each of your friends one at a time, maybe you could have a date with Friend 1 on the first Wednesday of the month, Friend 2 on the second Friday, and so on. Likely as not there is an extrovert among your group of friends who will plan occasional outings or parties that include everybody, which gives you another time to be social.

The important thing about these get-togethers is not to let them turn into mooning-over-men sessions. The last thing you need from a date with friends is to go home feeling lonelier than ever. That’s not to say you shouldn’t support a friend who’s experiencing confusion or trouble over a man friend, just that the fact that you all are single and don’t like it shouldn’t be the focus.

Why Facebook isn’t enough

You might be wondering why you can’t just socialize via phone-texting and the social media sites. Here are several reasons.

*
p<>{color:#111;}. There is no body language to read, so you can’t really understand how a person is feeling. Therefore,

*
p<>{color:#111;}. Your interactions will tend to remain superficial, because

*
p<>{color:#111;}. You can’t really get to know that person at a deep level. Also,

*
p<>{color:#111;}. Sometimes you need a physical shoulder to cry on. As well,

*
p<>{color:#111;}. Sharing a joke face-to-face brings a lot more laughter and feeling of togetherness than sharing it online.

You need to connect with people face-to-face sometimes – and your job doesn’t count! Only with face-to-face interactions can you really get to know somebody else, and that kind of bond can help you through the toughest times.

Okay, sappy stuff over. The next idea is free of sap. ;)

Idea #8: Augment your education.

This is not the same as learning a new skill, although the two areas can definitely overlap. By “augment your education,” I mean to build upon whatever education you’ve had so far. If you have a high school diploma or G.E.D., this could mean taking some community college courses. If you have a bachelor’s degree, it could mean heading toward your Master’s. It could mean getting more advanced training for your job that would increase your chances of getting a promotion, or it could be taking a few classes so that you could qualify for a totally different career or job path.

Could you do this once you are married? Sure, but it’s hard to work on a relationship when you don’t see each other much. How about if you have children? Yes, but at what cost? Often when a parent decides to go back to school to get a better job or switch careers, the parent-child relationship suffers, and the children don’t get their emotional needs met. So there’s no better time to work on increasing your formal education than when you are single.

Why make this choice?

There are several reasons you might take this road.

#
p<>{color:#111;}. You regret your career choice and want to explore something different.

#
p<>{color:#111;}. You want a more advanced job in your career of choice.

#
p<>{color:#111;}. The degree you obtained in college didn’t do much to help you get a job you enjoy.

#
p<>{color:#111;}. You’ve never been to college, and you want a job in an area that requires specific coursework (which, by the way, does not necessarily mean college coursework).

Financing

In the book I mentioned earlier, Hatching the Nest Egg, I take a good, hard look at the idea that you have to go to college to get a good job. The fact is, many young people get into a lot of debt to obtain a college degree…and then never do anything with that degree!

You may have done so, and therefore are facing a mound (if not a mountain) of debt that you’re not sure you’ll be able to get paid off by the time you’re forty, or even fifty. If that’s you, I certainly don’t want you to get into more debt. Instead, apply for scholarships. Ask your employer if they will pay for at least part of your continuing education. Cash-flow it; in other words, only take classes as you save up the money to pay for them. See if you can apprentice with somebody or create your own study course in order to be considered competent in a certain area. For example, you might take a chiropractor to lunch and pick her brain about the textbooks she had to read while she was studying about nutrition in school. Reading these textbooks will not qualify you to become a chiropractor, but it could give you the expertise you need to leave your stressful office manager job and work as a nutrition consultant or health coach either in a fitness club, or on your own.

Whatever you do, if this idea of augmenting your education appeals to you to the extent that you act on it, stay out of debt. Your future family will thank you.

Idea #9: Switch careers.

You can switch careers at any time in your life, of course. But sometimes, it’s easier to do when you do not have any other attachments. I say “sometimes”, because I know that was not the case with me. Wanting to try my hand at a full-time writing career, this was not possible until I married my husband who happened to make twice as much money as I did. At the time, digital self-publishing was still only a seed of an idea in somebody’s mind and so very few aspiring authors were able to get their work published, and even fewer to make a full-time income from it.

In other words, quitting your day job to try to make money by writing books (which was my dream, as opposed to journalism or copywriting) was a huge risk. But since my husband’s income was more than sufficient for both of us, he was willing to let me resign from teaching to buckle down and work on my novels full-time. (This never happened, because soon after deciding to resign from teaching I became pregnant, but that’s beside the point.)

That said, if you have come to dislike your job or career, I strongly encourage you to begin exploring other possibilities. The only exception is if you have a well-paying job and have already set a goal of being financially independent within the next ten to twenty years, and you are willing to put your nose to the grindstone and sacrifice enjoyment at work for a much greater reward down the road.

In that case, you’re finished reading the core of this book. Feel free to skip to the conclusion.

If that’s not the case for you, then let’s talk about what happens if you have a dream that seems risky, like mine was (and still is to an extent – it takes a lot of time, work, and marketing savvy to make it as an Independent author). If so, you have three options.

First, work on that dream in the evenings and on weekends. Basically, you’d be doing what we talked about in Idea #4, turning a hobby into a side business.

Second, make a list of all the possible jobs and careers that come “close enough” to your dream. They may not be your ideal, but you’re at least ninety percent sure you would like them a lot better than what you’re doing for a living at this moment…and you have a good chance of finding that kind of job, or entering that kind of career.

Your third option would be to consider your other interests and skill sets. If you hate your current job, but to leave it to chase after your dream might leave you homeless and unable to feed yourself, you can most certainly find a job or career in a different area that would be more fulfilling.

For example, say your dream is to make a full-time income as a musician, “full-time income” being described as the current $4,000 a month you make from your job as a plumber. But you know it would take a lot of time and connecting to just the right people to see that dream come true. At the same time, you’ve always wanted to be an event manager for a corporation. So, you could seek out employment as one where you would get to plan and network all day instead of fix toilets and leaky faucets. It’s not related to music, but it is related to something else you are interested in and gifted at, and will likely be much more enjoyable to you than your plumbing job.

You may or may not choose to get extra training or go back to college to pursue a different career. If you do, taking this leap while you are single is so much the better, for the reasons I discussed in the last Idea: your time is your own, so there’s no reason not to use it to create a more fulfilling life for yourself.

Conclusion

These nine ideas involve the main non-dating ways to keep yourself occupied as a single person…and they won’t cause you to end up with a broken heart! They also will lead you to live a more satisfying, richer life than you may have had otherwise. They will help you to grow as a person, perhaps even grow into the person that your soul mate is looking for!

But what about your soul mate? No matter how hard you throw yourself into the ideas in this book, if you believe he is out there somewhere, you are going to still experience times of loneliness and longing. How do you find him? Should you still try to date even on top of pursuing one or more of the ideas in this book?

I answer those questions in another book, No More Broken Hearts: The Low-Stress, Joyful Way To Find Your Soulmate. You can find the book at the same website from which you downloaded this one.

I chose the title very intentionally, because most women go through broken heart after broken heart in search of her “other half”, and that stress and pain is often – if not usually – completely unnecessary.

In the book, I explain how to go about encountering your soul mate without resorting to dating jerks or constantly feeling used. I explain how your own personal growth makes the journey much easier, and the steps you can take to guard your heart and be authentic with the people you meet, so that you don’t make painful mistakes.

No More Broken Hearts is designed to support you on your journey toward finding your life partner, your soul mate, and to help you keep your eyes wide open in the process.

ONE MORE THING BEFORE YOU GO: If this book, Single And Loving It, helped you, please take a moment to leave a review at the online e-book retailer from which you downloaded it. Your review will help other struggling singles to find this book and experience the same support that you did.

Thank you so much!

To your very prosperous and fulfilling life,

Emily Josephine


Single And Loving It

Do you have trouble sleeping at night because you feel so lonely and yearn to find your soul mate? Are you stuck in a rut at your job, hoping that one day soon, your Knight In Shining Armor will come and rescue you out of it? Has dating become just a way to fill your time instead of a way to enjoy life and other people? If any of that is true for you, then you are not enjoying your singlehood. In fact, if you are like many single people, you spend far too much time wallowing in misery, daydreaming about the your future life with someone you haven’t even met yet. While this book does not promise to cure you of loneliness, envy, and longing, it DOES offer nine ideas that can alleviate the pain of an empty heart. These ideas invite you to delve into your creative self, to take a few risks, and generally to fill your free time with endeavors that will bring you fulfillment and/or future rewards. The ideas challenge you to challenge yourself, so that you can begin to transform your single life from miserable to marvelous. While this book is targeted to single women without children, single men who do not have children can benefit from the ideas as well. Whatever your gender, these ideas will help you realize that there’s more to the single life than the dating game, or pining to meet your soul mate.

  • Author: Emily Josephine
  • Published: 2017-03-28 21:50:10
  • Words: 8686
Single And Loving It Single And Loving It