Building a life as a long-term single in middle age
August 10, 2014 3:13 PM Subscribe
After spending many years with my head buried in the sand, I am trying to adopt a more realistic and pragmatic approach and build a smaller, simpler, but less stressful life. I ended my long-term relationship as while in it I had no possibility to do voluntary work or retrain for paid work (I posted a 2012 question about this but it took me until now to face the facts). I will soon be moving out into my own modest flat, with few friends and limited work opportunities due to not having worked since 2005. I am 44 and don't plan to seek a partner again, at least not unless I was working and in better shape physically and mentally, so I was wondering what middle-aged single people do that brings them happiness? Given some free time, what would help me the most to rediscover my appetite for life?
posted by AuroraSky to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (18 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I am wanting to take some time to regroup before taking on the stress of working (paid or unpaid) again - this is something I need to be careful with as I have bipolar disorder, though thankfully it is in remission. I am quite overweight (240lbs at 5 feet 11) and getting outside daily will be a priority, but I've never kept up strenuous exercise so I think I am more likely to stick with exploring my home city than a gym membership.
I have the benefit of occasional sessions with an Occupational Therapist. She has been discussing various ideas for when I move out, things like a walking group, a learn to cook group for single men, and doing some kind of voluntary work in time. These all seem good ideas to me. I also go occasionally to Meetup-type events where I practice my beginner's Spanish, though people are friendly to me there I have social anxiety and haven't made any friends from there who see me in between meets. I am at that "too old for disco too young for bingo" stage and am looking for new age-appropriate interests to pursue. I do get enjoyment from chatting online with people from my local social anxiety site, participating on the forum and meeting up occasionally but I think I spend too much time on that. Last year I bought the NFL game pass and enjoyed watching the football games a lot but again it's a lot of time spend with little to show for it. I am not the most well-balanced person I like reading self-help books and watching romantic comedies and world cinema but have plenty of DVDs and books to get through. What I would really like is to find a few local friends my age who I could meet up with for coffee or to see a film, so suggestions as to how I could do that would be great, but home-based pastimes might be good too as I am a homebody by nature and will have more time to fill when single. I would be especially interested to hear from someone in middle age who anticipates remaining single and has a happy life, what brings you happiness at this stage of life? And from anyone, what daily activities could I begin to incorporate that would give my days structure and improve my mood?
I have got a lot of assistance from the Metafilter members when I have reached out, sometimes advice I wasn't ready to put into practice at the time but I saw the wisdom of later, so thanks in advance again for any suggestions.