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January 7, 2015

Survival for Singles.

alone quote

I read that the first Sunday after the New Year is the busiest day for dating sites.

And, as I sit here, on the first Sunday after New Year’s writing this, I can understand why. That feeling of pending social events is behind you. The year looms ahead, perhaps a time of new beginnings or perhaps a time to avoid the same aches as last year. Time to reflect, after the heady rush of the “silly season.” A blank void in front, to be shaped as you will.

I bid welcome to the newly single or searching.

I am sure that for most, this year will bring at least some version of what you seek. Dating, relationships, hooking up, getting laid—it seems to be fairly easy in some respects—and if you don’t find a permanent solution to your singledom, I am sure you can at least find a few temporary ones.

But, what about those for whom this is not their first tilt at this particular windmill? What if, for whatever reasons, you are facing your second, third, fifth year of singledom? Or, in my case, my tenth. Yep, you read that right.

Sure, I have dated along the way, but 10 years of seeing in the New Year with the vague but optimistic plan to make something real happen this year has worn my usually boundless good cheer down on this particular topic.

Honestly (and yes, for some reason, I pour out my vulnerabilities here when I can barely even admit them to myself), I cannot believe I have been single for most of 10 years.

While I was never really the type to picture myself with a white picket fence and a couple of blonde cherubs, I didn’t exactly envisage quite this level of solitude either! However, life does what life does, and now singledom is one of the few things I consider myself somewhat of an (accidental) expert in, so here are some survival tips from one who has practiced:

1. Alone time is actually really important and if you have only been one of us singles for a few weeks, stick with it for a while! Learn to be okay on your own, because even if you find the love of your life in a few months and spend the rest of your life together, being able to cope if they have to go visit their mother makes you sexier.

2. Yep, all that sh*t about learning to like yourself and working on yourself and blah blah is true. Perhaps invest in a meditation course or a gratitude journal or just something that gets you thinking about who you are.

3. Cooking for one is boring, but food is somewhat important, so do it! Make soups or casseroles and get some good freezerware. Home made frozen dinners are a million times better and yummier than bought ones.

4. I am an introvert, so for the main part, being on my own doesn’t bother me. However, we all get lonely. I have discovered that many of the “panacea for the singles” solutions only exacerbate the loneliness. I can go to the movies or even sign up for that kayaking course on my own, and sometimes I do make new friends, but often it just makes me feel worse. Lean on your nearest and dearest at these times. Save the new adventures for when you are actually feeling connected already.

5. I am lucky—my family are not the “well-meaning but intrusive” type. I heard a story from a 36-year-old single the other day who said her mother declared she was no longer going to put up the Christmas tree until either she or one of her siblings has kids. Here’s the thing—as Eleanor Roosevelt so eloquently said, “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” so your family can only get to you if you are not okay with your singleness. Get okay with it. As a “for now” concept: I am pretty sure most of you will not take it to my extreme art form! Be happy being you for a while.

6. As for how you get to that happiness, well, I am a writer, not a fairy godmother! All I can say is that happiness truly is an inside job. Spend an hour or two perusing elephant journal—there are lots of gorgeous article on here about yoga and meditation and overcoming stuff and gratitude and being happy. I know—I wrote a few of them!

7. Few things suck more than internet dating, but at the same time, few things will give you quite the boost of getting eight kisses or winks in your first day. At the very least, you will get some first date conversation practice in, as well as a better idea of who you don’t really want to date!

8. Romantic movies, songs and TV couples will make you alternately maudlin, lonely or horny. You will find yourself fantasizing about randoms, celebrities and generally inappropriate people, wishing, hoping, thinking they might be the one. They probably aren’t.

9. Last, but not least, invest in good quality sex toys. That’s all I’m going to say about that!

Like everything in life, being single has it’s pros and cons.

Yep, the loneliness and tickets for one suck, but the freedoms and time to spend on yourself are an invaluable gift. You get to decide what’s for dinner every night—no matter what your food mood, it’s your choice! Everything gets left exactly where you left it. It is actually pretty easy to come to a place of inner peace without a partner to stir up your insecurities.

Hey, I have had 10 years of inner peace—I am now unreasonably calm!

Does anyone out there have any other survival tips or singledom questions?

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Author: Tui Anderson

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Rajesh Kumar/Flickr

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