Continuing Resolutions (not the Congressional kind)

blog pix new year

Happy New Year, my single and not single friends. We’re almost through the holidays, a time that can be stressful for those without a partner.

Piled on top of singleness are the tiresome 2017 wrap-up news stories and the guides to making New Year’s resolutions that stick. I’m pretty sick of these.

Let’s talk about a different approach while indulging in baked macaroni and cheese with crunchy panko topping.

I never make New Year’s resolutions. However I do make resolutions on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Reflecting on my life and how to make it better is something I do whenever I’m feeling a surge of dissatisfaction with the status quo and an energy boost to do something about it. That might happen after a break-up.

Breakups, particularly, when you are angry, can be good for motivating you to do things. I always exercise more intently when I need to get my angries out.

I also make resolutions when I’m in a rut and need more and new people or activities in my life. I’ve lived through some lonely times and they inevitably drove me to sign up for classes or activities that would expand my social life.

I’m mulling over some next steps right now – but nothing I’m going to announce tomorrow on New Year’s Day. There are classes to think about, new meet-ups to attend, trips to plan, and solo field trips that might trigger a meet-cute.

In the meantime, I recall someone (Ralph Waldo Emerson? T.S. Eliot?) said it is the journey not the destination that counts.

I believe that philosophy and it supports a practice of ongoing resolutions. So, I raise a glass of champagne (or asti spumante, prosecco, or cava) to you, my readers: let’s be our best selves in 2018 and embrace resolutions whenever we need them. It’s a good way to keep hope.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Embracing Singlehood

 BF5B559D-977B-4845-9459-F01CAF1ACB98

There’s a lot of media attention focused on the perspectives and issues surrounding singledom. Discussion about the single life seems to be everywhere: Blogs (yes, including this one), podcasts, news articles, social media, movies, TV shows, and published essays. Google “being single” and you’ll see what I mean.

In a recent essay in the NY Times Modern Love column, Helen Rubinstein writes about her struggles to embrace singlehood. The essay sparked a lot of reader interest with over 305 comments published on the Times’ website.

Let’s chat about this while eating a modest lunch of seared tuna with shaved vegetable salad to counter the effects of Halloween candy excess.

Rubinstein recounts her struggle to be comfortable as a single woman in a couples’ world – where work settings and social functions remind her that she is navigating the world solo. She describes feeling odd, strange, shameful, and queer.

The use of the word queer struck me as off since the writer is straight. The term also offended a number of LGBT readers. That may be why the Times changed the essay’s headline from Is There Something Queer About Being Single? to Is There Something Odd About Being Single?

 Word choice aside, Rubinstein decides to drive across the country alone in celebration of freedom and singlehood. As she expects, she experiences fear and a feeling of “strangeness” along the way. During a hot-spring shower in a Nevada desert bathhouse, she longs for a partner in the beautiful setting. But then she has an epiphany. Although at that moment, Rubinstein craves companionship, she realizes that being part of a couple doesn’t always counter loneliness. “Loneliness dissipates,” she writes, “when you find comfort and pleasure in your own company.”

That’s something singles hear a lot – be comfortable and happy with yourself before seeking a partner. I tried to make that a goal after my divorce but it has taken a few years to fully experience that feeling of inner strength. It’s also taken awhile to feel less of an “extra” in many social situations. Still there are times when I intensely feel my solo status – around holidays, on date nights if I’m not with a date, out with a couple. I don’t feel odd but I do feel an aloneness that I’d rather not feel.

I do, however, remember feeling strange at the beginning of my separation. After two-thirds of my life spent as part of a couple, I felt untethered. Eventually I felt tethered to myself and grew that inner strength I mentioned.

Now I believe I may be a qualified “super single,” a phrase I first heard in an episode of Better Things. In case you haven’t seen the show, Sam, the main character, is a divorced single mom of a certain age. She becomes so good at being single that she doesn’t know how to accept the possibility of a promising relationship.

As writer Allison P. Davis writes in The Cut:

“This episode marks the first time she fully comes undone over a romantic prospect. “This guy, is the thing,” she says to a friend, anguished and lovesick (literally). Her speech is really just a few lines, but, good god, does it cut to the bone. “I don’t know how to do this. I got no place to put it, I don’t want it,” she says. She only sees one way forward: to break up with the perfect guy, naturally.

“Oh honey,” her friend says in commiseration. “We’re super singles: We’re just too good at being alone.”

How many of the 111 million singles in the US (45 percent of all residents age 18 and above) are super singles? Hard to know. We’re a mix of high functioning “supers” and newbies.

The newbies may feel strange or they may be thrilled by their newfound freedom and independence. Some of the 111 million may never want to couple up – whether they’ve been in a previous committed relationship or not. Others may yearn for a relationship daily. Whether being single is temporary or lifelong, chosen or circumstantial, I hope we can try to not feel odd. Instead, I like the sentiment in Natasha Bedingfield’s song Single:

Don’t need to be on somebody’s arm to look good
I like who I am
I’m not saying I don’t wanna fall in love ’cause I would
I’m not gonna get hooked up just ’cause you say I should
Can’t romance on demand
I’m gonna wait so I’m sorry if you misunderstood

That’s right

This is my current single status
My declaration of independence
There’s no way I’m tradin’ places
Right now a star’s in the ascendant

 Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

Imagining a Singles Revolution in 2016

Blog people at bookstore

It’s the end of the year and although I could list my 10 most popular blog posts of 2015 or the year’s 10 worst dates, I would rather examine the state of “single power” and the ways society can help singles improve their love lives in the coming year.

“Single power,” to coin a term, is an individual’s acceptance and enjoyment of the single life as well as society’s fair treatment and respect of singles. Certainly more singles live alone, dine alone, and travel alone than ever before. With the rise of “single power,” we have seen such cultural shifts as restaurants not hiding single diners in the back of a restaurant and a movement toward the creation of smaller dwellings or “micro housing” for this population.

But even if singles are happy with their lives, many of them also want a significant other for intimacy, love, sex, and to have a built-in Scrabble partner. This desire is fueled by a couple-focused world. If you’re single, couples seem to be everywhere. They’re holding hands in the park, shopping together, and spotting each other in the gym. The holidays amplify the significance of a couple-based society and December is one of the most popular months to get engaged.

What am I getting at? Singles need help. Online dating is time consuming and not always productive; meeting someone in the wild is also a crapshoot.

It’s time for a revolution of sorts. Institutions, businesses, non-profits and government agencies need to band together to support singles and help us find our matches.

As we look ahead to 2016, dream with me as I imagine a world vastly changed in order to help singles find partners. Are you paying attention movers and shakers?

Read this wish list while eating Southern New Year’s Day Soup.

Ten Ideas to Help Singles Connect with Each Other:

  • Singles cars on trains. Unlike quiet cars, these cars will be lively and your reserved seat will be next to someone who is at least a 60 % match.
  • Singles shopping day at the grocery store. Every Friday afternoon will be designated Singles Friday. Any single entering the store will be given a wristband that signals their availability and willingness to talk among the veggies. Sexy, lively music will be broadcast instead of the usual Muzak.
  • Single waiting room in the ER. If you’re in the hospital, why not multi-task and see if chatting up a hot guy or gal can alleviate your pain.
  • Singles Saturdays at Coffee Bars. On Singles Saturdays at coffee shops, you have to approach a person of the opposite sex and ask them to order for you. They don’t have to pay for your drink but they do have to get the details of your order and place it. The rest of the conversation is up to you. Any one caught ordering a latte for himself or herself will be asked to leave.
  • Singles concerts. Only single seats will be sold and the required ticket purchase app will alternate seating (man, woman, man, etc.). The band will organize audience activities – such as kiss the person next to you. Think of it as spin the bottle on a massive scale.
  • Singles rows at movie theaters. Certain rows will be designated as singles rows and only individual tickets will be sold. At the end of the movie, an emcee will ask everyone to make one comment about the movie to the man or woman on his or her right.

Blog movie audience

  • Singles charity day. Nonprofits will sponsor singles charitable activity days. The charities will organize events that only singles can participate in. It will be clear to attendees that all participants are interested in connecting with other singles.
  • Singles government job fair. A government-sponsored singles job fair will feature government agency representatives discussing current job openings. There will be coffee meet and greets as well as a “meet other singles” lunch.
  • Singles day at the bookstore. Local independent bookstores will organize singles days. There will be book talks by authors of relationship and dating-related books. All store visitors who are single and interested in connecting with other singles will be given a wristband (similar to grocery store example noted above) that says “Ask me about my favorite book.” Shy singles will have the option of choosing a wristband inscribed with, “I’m shy. Text me at _________.” A phone number can be added.
  • Singles in Space Day. Government-sponsored space visitor centers will have Singles in Space Days. Activities will vary by location. Single visitors can bond at simulated shuttle launches.  After feeling those g forces, talking to another single will be a piece of cake.

Can you add to my wish list? Join the revolution!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia