Finding yourself in a new dynamic of solitude? Missing having a partner to tell about your day or go to run errands with. Have you asked yourself do you even know how to be single? You are not alone; it is not for the faint of heart, but an important time of character development.
Here are somethings that I have used to find contentment in being alone.
1. Realizing Single≠Alone
Just because you are single does not mean you are alone. You have friends, family, coworkers, people at the gym…Find people to invest your time in. Find friends for specific hobbies that you have.
For example, before COVID-19 changed everything, I had a yoga buddy, a hiking buddy, a foodie buddy, a movie buddy. Some friendships crossed all of these lines, but I would get to know the interests of the people in my life and reach out to them whenever I had a yearning for a specific activity.
So, reconnect with old friends, reconnect with family. Make time to text them and check on them. Invest in people and find yourself enjoying time with them, without a partner.
2. Focus on your health
What better time to learn to cook and eat better, or begin an exercise routine, than now! You have no one that you have to invest time in, just friends or family that you can choose to. You can even pick a friend or family member as an accountability-work-out partner, subject several of them to trying new dishes, or have someone take a virtual cooking classes with you. Youtube is an amazing tutor: so patient, always willing to rewind and explain the same concept exactly the same while never growing impatient.
3. Fix your living space
I think men tend to not focus on their living space, generally speaking, not a hard and fast rule. The “bachelor pad” has a reason for being a stereotype. This is the perfect time to make your space yours! Fix the garden to look like a you are a winner of the, “Yard of the Month Club.
Learn something handy and a new skill like hanging those surround sound speakers and learn to hide the wiring in the wall, build a deck, or a table, and install dimming switches. All the cool things you always wanted, but never had time to do.
Hang art work and read about the intricacies of decorating. Here is a quick read to help you know the basics of making it look “right”, or watch a few YouTubes.
4. Consider a pet or a plant
Seriously. If you don’t have a pet, read up about what type of animal would best fit your lifestyle, do your research about what you need to do to be a good pet owner, because once you adopt, that is YOUR pet for the remainder of its life. I cannot abide people who adopt, then see the time commitment and sometimes amount of work it can take to be a pet owner, then surrender their animal. DO NOT DO IT! Here is an informative post by the CDC about all of the benefits and considerations when thinking of getting a pet.
My last 2 cents about getting a pet, adopt from a local shelter, pound or rescue agency. Do not go to a breeder. There are too many wonderful animals euthanized each day to pay someone when you can save a life. This article by the Humane Society gives 10 reasons why you should “adopt, don’t shop,” and this posts from GreenMatters discusses the reasoning behind why puppy mills and breeders are negative entities.
If an animal seems like it might be to steep of a commitment, get an easy plant. May I suggest a cactus? They add beauty to your living space and bring life with them. Or, here is a post from HGTV about the best plants to improve indoor air quality.
5. Pick up reading
There was a reason they always tried to get us to read in school. It expands horizons, opens doors and breaks down unnecessary stereotypes. And it is FREE! Get a library card then get the app, Libby or Overdrive. They even have suggested reading lists to help you get started!
Don’t like to read? Then listen to an audiobook through the same applications, or even a podcast about something that interests you.
It’s time to expand your horizons!
6. Not over your ex? Replace your thoughts
When you start to think of your ex, find something to replace your thoughts. We cannot quit bad habits, we must replace them with good ones. While I’m not calling your ex a bad habit, it is an apt parallel.
There was a period in my life where I was so heart-broken, I could not eat. I tried to hide my broken heart, but people could read it on my face. Instead of continuing to obsess about what went wrong, what I did wrong and how I could get him back, I decided to accept and move forward. I started memorizing scripture, beginning with Philippians 4. I started reading the Psalms, and found it comforting that, although David’s heartache was a lot more warranted and severe (people were trying to kill him!) I was not alone in my pain, and moreover the Psalms gave me assurance that my God cared about my pain and would hear my prayer.
Find things to replace your thoughts of your ex with, when they jump into your head, have that other thought ready to replace it. I suggest scripture!
7. Why not just start dating again?
I mean, it’s so easy with apps! I can just jump right back in and not have to spend time alone.
Well, I think this attitude of jumping right back in perpetuates an attitude of disposable people that you can read about here. I think that it is important to let the old emotions you had for something that has ended subside on their own, otherwise someone ends up being a rebound and you hurt someone unnecessarily, instead of protecting their heart. Every ending, even if it is something that you ended, deserves a period of grieving.
Think about it, even happy endings carry some amount of grief. The start of a new job holds some sadness for the ending of the old one. Anytime we close a chapter in our lives, there is some amount of sadness twinged with all the positive emotions for the end of something. I am sure we were all excited to graduate high school, but there was some sadness with it because we knew we would never walk the halls with that group of people again. We were excited about our future, but had some slight nostalgia for the present that was transitioning to becoming our past.
In the vein of respect, I think we should allow an appropriate amount of time to allow those wounds, no matter how light you may feel they are, to have sometime to heal before we jump into something else.
7.5 What if it hurts too much to stay single?
I get it. If you have been in a long-term relationship, it is hard to go back to being alone. Getting out of bed can even be hard on some days.
But this time, and this feeling is a gift to build your character. Cry out to your God. Claim the Psalms that David wrote in his heartache as your words. Let your time of pain be one that you can look back on and see how you truly depended on your savior to carry you through.
Heartache is the worst. It hurts at a level that we were not designed to experience; sin brought it into our existence.
But it puts into perspective a small ounce of the amount of emotional turmoil and pain our savior went through for us. His heart was broken for you. He sweat blood because He loves you.
So while it is hard, and I wish I could reach through this blog and heal you with love and hope, it is a gift because it gives us insight into the love our savior has for us and the pain He was willing to go through for us, for YOU.
And, I promise you, it will get better. The old adage, this too shall pass, is true. Time will dull all wounds. We just have to find things to fill our minds, fill our time, learn to sit in the emotions, learn to deal with the emotions, and learn to trust our God that He can and will heal all wounds.