I would eat more ice cream and less beans
December 21, 2010 7:18 PM   Subscribe

What to add to my new life?

I am exiting a 20 year marriage amicably. I find myself very excited by the opportunities that are opening up to me (I can be frugal, and minimalist and go to soppy movies! Yay me), and reminded of this quote about picking more daisies, I wonder what you can suggest to me about new experiences?

(Another example from metafilter:Socializing: Always say yes to any invitation presented to you - I'm an artistic 44 year old socially-inept straight timid female introvert (ex-housewifely type) in South East Queensland on a budget with no musical ability and reliant on public transport but don't let that stop you - go wild.)
posted by b33j to Society & Culture (11 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Or should I say, how to survive divorce and live alone for the first time in forever?
posted by b33j at 7:19 PM on December 21, 2010

Take so many classes. Whatever the Australian equivalent of community rec classes are. (Here in the U.S. they're often through community colleges or park districts and partly subsidized, so not very expensive.) ESPECIALLY take the ones you think you'll suck at, but sound kinda fun anyway -- reupholstering. Stained glasses. Beginning harmonica. Storytelling. You meet lots of nice people and you bond over your shared ineptitude and you learn a lot of interesting things! When I moved to a new city I made sure to take a class every session (which was roughly every season) so that I'd at least get out of my house, and I met SO many people and got introduced to SO many things and places in my new home, and even some opportunities opened up that I learned about through people I met.

There was often nobody even near my age in the classes, but that was okay, it was at least a conversational opening as people's curiosity overcame them as to why I was there. :)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:32 PM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]

If you've ever wanted to try going vegetarian, or vegan, or paleolithic, or extreme meat-eater, or any other weird-ish diet, now is the time to do it!
posted by lollusc at 7:48 PM on December 21, 2010

For new experiences, what I've done when I felt like I was in a bit of a rut, was to keep a dot-point diary (updated weekly or so) with categories like:

- Most interesting new person spoken to this week
- Tastiest new food
- Best "cultural" experience (might be a movie or a gallery or festival or whatever)
- Best new place found (pushing me to explore the city outside of my regular haunts)
- Any new skills learned?
- Knowledge gained or new ideas explored
- Best "sensual" experience (not necessarily sexual, could just be nightswimming, or lying on the grass in the park, etc)

I'm sure there were others, and you could obviously add your own. The point was mostly that if I didn't have a bunch of new things experienced by the end of the week, I wasn't trying hard enough.

As for living alone for the first time in forever, some kind of group social activity is ideal, eg community college classes, or maybe sport, hiking, or volunteer work? As an introvert, you'd probably want to balance that social time with time spent relaxing on your own. A pet might be nice to have around the house, too.

If I were in your position, I'd look at going travelling, too - if your budget allows it. Somewhere nice & cheap in SE Asia, maybe. Hang out on a Thai beach & go on elephant safaris, for example.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:59 PM on December 21, 2010 [16 favorites]

This gets said a lot on askMeFi, but I think this is a perfect topic to address with a therapist. Turning over a new leaf is a big prospect, and you'll want to bounce your ideas off someone impartial. Discovering what it is you want to do by yourself is honestly not that easy a question, nor is deciding what you're actually interested in doing (as opposed to committed to doing). Good news is you'll get to be yourself. Now, just figure our who that is.
posted by Gilbert at 8:30 PM on December 21, 2010

Socially speaking, there are some advantages to extrovert over introvert.
It turns out that an introvert can pretend to be an extrovert, and with practice
the habit becomes comfortable and effective.
posted by the Real Dan at 8:52 PM on December 21, 2010

Host a potluck "interesting people party" --- invite friends and ask them to bring someone from their lives who is interesting. It's a way to honor that extra guest and meet a mix of interesting people.
posted by vitabellosi at 4:16 AM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Hey, vitabellosi's propagating my meme! I throw interesting people parties, they rock!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:01 AM on December 22, 2010

"I would eat more ice cream and less beans"

You jest, but I think most folks who live alone find that, over the long term, feeding themselves cost effectively, and with a decent balance of variety and nutrition, without spending too much time, takes more than a trivial amount of thought. Part of the issue is that tasks in the shopping/pantry stocking/prep/cook/eat/clean up/garbage cycle can't be shared out, or much overlapped when you're all by yourself. So, frequently for many, even if they are doing a decent job of shopping and keeping the pantry and fridge stocked, they find they haven't time to do the rest of the cycle, 3 times a day. Another challenge is developing some discipline for downsizing recipes to a single serving, or storing pre-made portions from making larger amounts, and not wasting them by letting them go stale in the fridge.

But if you don't feed yourself with discipline and care, pretty soon you don't have energy, and can get into weight problems, as well as ticking off your internal biological rhythms. Here are some tricks I've learned over the years, about feeding myself sensibly.
  • A daily quality multi-vitamin/mineral supplement is cheap insurance against common nutritional deficiencies, but you still need your fiber, so eating your cereals, fruits and veggies daily comes first.
  • If you like a cocktail, a glass of wine, or a beer before or with dinner, fine. But it's easy to get into drinking, when you're drinking alone frequently, so be mindful of alcohol consumed, and for safety's sake, don't drink and cook while alone.
  • Portion control starts with unpacking the shopping. I divide "family pack" meats into freezer bagged individual portions as I unpack, and I take some time to go through the fridge and pantry when putting up my shopping, to make sure I'm not keeping food stored, that I just won't eat.
  • A medium sized dog can happily eat a lot of leftovers. Obviously, don't feed dogs onions, chocolate, or other problem foods, and don't just feed them leftovers. A medium sized dog also encourages you to get some regular exercise, to burn off some calories yourself.
  • On average, cooking once a day is enough for me, but people with diabetes or other nutritional needs have to consider what it takes to keep their bodies happy. I try to keep my work week dinner meals simple, but balanced, and to have most, if not everything cooked for most dinners. For breakfast and lunch, I'll eat cereal, fruits, cheese, sandwiches, and other kinds of "no prep" to "2 minute prep" foods. That discipline keeps my time invested in daily prep/cooking/cleaning/garbage handling task to less than 30 minutes a day.
Good luck cooking for one, and keep eating your beans!
posted by paulsc at 6:43 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would get on a mailing list or regularly check events calendars for my community and show up to events. Depending on what you're interested in, attend a lecture, a community forum, a political event, a town government meeting, an art show, a local sports game -- or all of the above, even if it's not usually your thing. You can have some new experiences, not spend much money, and if you stay local and show up enough, you'll start seeing the same people and may meet some new friends.
posted by chickenmagazine at 9:51 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

In a similar situation, I loved to go exploring on my own. I didn't have any money, so I stayed within my own city. Without a lot of pre-planning, I'd go check out out-of-the-way parks, poke around in historic buildings, or walk in forgotten cemeteries. Just kind of finding the hidden corners. Sometimes I'd meet people along the way and invariably felt like those chance encounters were somehow greatly significant.

I think what I liked about going exploring in my home town was that it was a reflection of what I wanted my new life to be like: I was moving outside the norm and observing/experiencing without expectation. Intentionally opening myself up to enjoy something just a little random.
posted by oceanmorning at 11:18 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

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