I'll go build my own marriage, with blackjack and hookers
October 19, 2015 8:30 PM   Subscribe

I want to shift my focus from trying to find a partner to preparing for a life without one. What should I start doing now so that all my years will be happy and healthy?

Please take my question at face value. I do not want sympathy, reassurance, or platitudes about partner finding. I just want to get on with my goddamn life.

Mid-thirties, female, NYC.

- Money. I save for retirement and such, but do I need to double down? Every time I order Seamless or buy a lipgloss I start to panic that I'm jeopardizing my own future. Do I need to be more disciplined? Get a second job? My income is such that I won't even be able to pay off my student loans for another five years. I will never be able to afford my own apartment here. If it were just me, I wouldn't feel so bad, I just plan to work until death, or I could manage a shot to the face if it meant avoiding living out my life in a shitty retirement home. But I have my parents to potentially take care of. This is the one that stresses me out, keeps me up at night, and makes me feel alone.

I've thought about getting a higher paying job, but it will inevitably lead to longer hours and less time for...

- Social support and connections. I think I'm pretty good on this one in that I'm pretty sociable, like to meet new people and keep up with old ones, up for trying new things. I have friends who I've spent the holidays with or took care of me when I was sick. Still, people drift away over the years, even if you try to keep things going. I'll take any advice you have to give.

- Children are completely off the table.

-Sex. I don't know even know what to do with this. I have a high sex drive, this is hard. Suppressing these urges seems unnatural, but so does getting sad because the man at the bank didn't flirt back with me and then feeling gross. I'm leaning toward the former. I've read some of the threads on this topic. Channeling the physical energy is easy but turning off my mind is hard. Seeing cute men on the train and then getting disappointed when they have a wedding ring on...I don't want to do it anymore. But it's hard to think about what you can't have when you're never going to have it. It's harder for me than if I could say, well, later.

-Physical contact. I've heard massages but I find them weird from strangers. My apartment is too small and my schedule too erratic for a pet.

- Happiness. I'm pretty independent, and in my single patches I've always been happy doing big and small things alone (from going on vacation to going to the movies) and relishing those things you can only do when single (eating whatever I want for dinner, not having to clean, not being a slave to beauty conventions, throwing myself into hobbies and exercise).

But I've been single the longest I've ever been in 15 years - two years now - and those things are starting to get old and becoming a source of negativity (not having to clean is degenerating into my living in a pigsty, no one seeing what I eat for dinner means I eat junk, not being a slave to beauty conventions means I'm gaining weight, hobbies and exercises have become boring routines).
- What new daily things can I enjoy?
- What can I do to give a sense of excitement and potential to my life? I like traveling, but planning a trip six months in advance does not add that little sparkle that getting an unexpected text from a crush does.
- What can I do with my life that one can't do with a partner? For example, I switched jobs/cities at the drop of a hat. That was great. I may do that again but not any time soon. What other big things can I do with my life like that?

What else in general? Surely there are things I am not thinking about. Should I learn more life skill type things, like how to fix stuff? (Not much call for that in NYC though.)

I saw this old thread, but that person was legit young, and I'd like some updated and specific advice. I'm old enough to have seen my share of where it ain't ended happily ever after.

Thank you.
posted by unannihilated to Human Relations (24 answers total) 81 users marked this as a favorite
 
Going through a lot of this stuff myself right now, although naively I havent given up on the fantasy of finding someone I like who reciprocates. The only thing that has made me feel any better recently is yoga, which I know sounds stupid, and maybe it is, but honestly its made my life better. The physical aspect of it has been helping with the no-sex thing. Like, a serious yoga workout is way better then the crappy sex I've been having.

The physical contact thing is a huge issue for me as well. No idea what to do about it.
posted by KeSetAffinityThread at 8:58 PM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm late thirties, female and in very much the same situation as you. Your question has given me a lot to think about but this struck me the most:

- What can I do with my life that one can't do with a partner? For example, I switched jobs/cities at the drop of a hat. That was great. I may do that again but not any time soon. What other big things can I do with my life like that?

I find great benefit in enjoying little things that I can do as a single person. I eat what I want and when. The temperature at home is as I desire. Ceiling fan on when I want (I have a friend whose partner hates fans so she melts in summer). I can be as lazy or productive I want. I never ever have to spend a holiday with people I don't like. I can make plans without having to qualify them with 'oh, let me check with X first'.

Life skills are helpful though you propably have a super in NYC? I'm too old and live too far to call my dad for all the lightbulb changing type things I used to call about. But really you can outsource a lot of that stuff.

Your parents - you'll do what you can but are not obliged to throw away your life for theirs. If they didn't have you they'd manage. Not having a partner means not having to deal with his/her parents old age either.

It's a shame about pets because my two cats are my greatest joy and while I was happy living alone before I just adore having them as company. Cat-company is much more relaxing and non-judgemental than People-company.

I'm not great on the social support. I also don't live near friends. But I'm having surgery in a few months and I started looking into support for when I'm home and it's totally a thing that you can get casual help, like nursing assistance or just help with pets/housecleaning etc. I was a huge relief realising that was an option. Most of my friends have young children and aren't really in a position to come help out for a bit.

I heard these lyrics when I was quite young and they have always stuck with me and brought me joy in independence, I hope they do to you.


I'm young and I love to be young
I'm free and I love to be free
To live my life the way I want
To say and do whatever I please


Read more: Lesley Gore - You Don't Own Me Lyrics | MetroLyrics
posted by kitten magic at 9:01 PM on October 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


For sex- brief online dating? Why is that off the table? Just say you're into short term things.
posted by zutalors! at 9:02 PM on October 19, 2015


Response by poster: For sex- brief online dating? Why is that off the table?

Because no one sends me messages or will answer mine. You can see my question and comment history for details, but I have very extensively worked the online circuit with zero success.
posted by unannihilated at 9:05 PM on October 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


46 here, and single for coming up on three years now:

Friends, especially lady friends-- I try to always make room for new ones and to keep up with the old. After my divorce I was so thankful that my friends were still there for me, and I try to never take them for granted again. It may be that you're still young enough that female friends are still in the desperate attempt at kids thing, so you may want to find female friends in their forties. It was hugely refreshing for me to realise post-divorce that I was not alone, and that many of us need to construct new families for ourselves-- the conventional ones having failed us. For instance, I met a lovely woman in Sydney and we travel well together, so once a year we meet for a hiking trip. I have built a network of these excellent women, and honestly they mean enough to me that I don't really miss being married. Which leads me to

Sex: My biggest problem with partnership is I'm not sure I want a new primary partner. Never say never, but I'm oddly happy now-- for all my divorce still leave scars. Maybe my experience is unusual, but I have found it reasonably easy to find male companionship from men in similar situations. My current gentleman friend is five years divorced, devoted to his kids, and has no interest in remarriage. We see each other occasionally. I won't move to follow him if he leaves Hong Kong, but I treasure his friendship. I think that once I had completely given up on the married life I thought I would have, it got easier for me to embrace other options.

Exercise: I'm like a broken record on this, but hiking and running have literally saved me. Aiming for a big race or a hike is something which can give me a goal when I get get lonely, tends to provide a built in social network. I can easily combine it with travel, and it keeps me feeling young.

Finally, you may want to look into living options which are not marriage/partnership but which also aren't living alone. There are quite a few intentional communities in the US. Bella DePaulo has a book called How We Live Now which isn't wonderously well written but points to a number of options and resources. I like living alone for now, but a few of my friends and I are starting to talk about a Home for Adventurous Ladies of a Certain Age, and as long as I get my own space, I don't hate the idea.
posted by frumiousb at 9:15 PM on October 19, 2015 [17 favorites]


Sex: there's no reason not to occasionally find a friend, or a friend of a friend that you wouldn't ever date but who is damn hot who'd be into a night of closeness. Getting an itch scratched can't compare to an LTR, but don't forget your needs.
posted by bendy at 9:30 PM on October 19, 2015


If eldercare planning is the one that keeps you up at night, start there.

Find out what they're already doing for themselves. Figure out what they're likely to need. Get them to step up their own self care and preparations. Obviously, only if they're willing to involve you.

If they're not willing, then it's time to relieve them (and yourself!) of expectations that you'll magically provide whatever they need when they need it. How to do that is a challenge which merits its own Ask.

As well, clarifying your past, current, and future role in your family of origin might make space for other, more contemporary connections.
posted by wonton endangerment at 10:03 PM on October 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


You've said it's ok to look at some older questions, so I have - are you firm on staying in NYC? Would you consider moving back to the Midwest, at some point? I assume COL would be lower, maybe your salary and leisure time wouldn't suffer for the move, and maybe social support (and hookups) would be easier to negotiate?

2nd activity. Doing physical stuff (exercise, mainly) helps me get my head clear when it's not, and my mood and energy up for other things, when those are down. I'd start with some kind of regular physical practice, to lay the groundwork for everything else.

Vacations and massages are nice, and definitely worthwhile, but they're about consumption. As a single person with no obligations, you're free to do pretty much whatever you can imagine. Any of those quieted dreams more burdened people have, you could live them - you could commit yourself seriously to creative or academic work, start a business or community project, whatever's in you, you can make it happen. Is there anything you'd kick yourself at 90 for not having tried? Give it your best shot.

Sit down with your parents and talk to them about their plans for later on. If they don't have any, help them make some. Get advice from a financial planner if you can (for them and for you).
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:31 PM on October 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


Re. retirement, it's possible to sit down with a spreadsheet and work this out. How much money in today's terms would you need to retire on (presumably in a cheaper place than you live now)? How much will the government / any pension you already have give you? Ballpark the inflation rate, ballpark the returns on your investments, and work out how much you need to save to get there. Then arrange your life so you can save that much automatically every month, and forget about it (until you review progress in a year or so).

If you don't know how to do this, then hire a fee-only financial planner and get them to help you out.

I also recommend a pay-yourself-first approach to managing your time. I work out what my priorities in life are, and then if I find myself doing lower priority stuff at the expense of higher priority stuff I shitcan the lower priority stuff. You can bet that my own mental and physical health and wellbeing are at the top of the list, which for me includes eating decently and getting some exercise and having a clean place that's relaxing to spend time in.
posted by emilyw at 2:17 AM on October 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mod note: A couple of comments deleted. Quick reminder: OP isn't really look for the devil's advocate position of "here's why you're wrong about being concerned about [item mentioned in post]," or "here's what you need to do instead," so let's try to stick to the specific questions. OP, not every answer will be exactly what you want; it's okay to just pass by the ones you find less helpful and use what works for you. Thanks.
posted by taz (staff) at 4:50 AM on October 20, 2015


Hi! I'm a fiftysomething single woman, who has decided that she loves living alone (with kitties) too much to get married. I wouldn't mind a boyfriend I could have fun with and then send home to his own place, but I have no intention of merging my life with someone else's.

Savor your freedom, independence, and not having to expend even more emotional labor on keeping a partnership going - even today, this falls mostly to us women. You have the advantage of being able to keep more of that precious emotional energy for things YOU want to do.

Do you have a fee-only financial planner? If not, find one and sit down for a planning session. Not having to pay for college and braces means you do have more to splash out with lipgloss, travel, rare books, or whatever else you want to spend money on. Don't think you have to be super-frugal and pinch every penny - but you do want a plan for financing your retirement and long-term goals. Here is where a financial planner can advise you.

Aging parents: what are their plans? Do they have a will, a power of attorney, end-of-life care documents, etc.? Are they willing to share this information with you? How is their support system other than you - do you have siblings, cousins, any other family members to help you? Do your parents have friends, church family, neighbors? Whatever their situation, you are not obligated to give up your life for theirs. They have a responsibility to have plan(s) for aging that are not "Our daughter puts her life on hold and waits on us hand and foot."

Friends: living in NYC means that there should be an ample population of childfree women who are not consumed with raising a family or slaking their baby rabies. One of the things that makes me happy is having non-childed friends. I do not feel beleaguered for my life choices because I have friends who have also chosen not to have children.

Health: I think it's important to exercise - strength training, yoga, Pilates, walking, whatever you like to do, but you can't get to a strong healthy old age without exercising. Find some physical activity you like to do.

People like you and me - unmarried and childfree - are going to be much more abundant going forward. It will be easier for us to find our people and take care of our needs.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:06 AM on October 20, 2015 [16 favorites]


I agree with the poster above who suggested that you speak with a financial planner. I think this would be helpful for you to discuss your concerns about caring for your parents in the future as well as your retirement. A financial planner will help you think through potential short term/long term solutions with your parents. He or she could also arm you with the right questions to ask your folks to get the best picture of your parents' finances, assuming you don't have full access to their financial statements already. Ultimately, a financial planner will give you a long-term financial plan, which I believe will quell some of your anxieties and answer many of your questions.
posted by emilynoa at 6:10 AM on October 20, 2015


For me, when I was single, the aspects of life that helped keep me grounded and fulfilled were:
--Exercise. Obviously, it's good for you, but especially running is a natural community, and it involves being outside a lot. I have friends who love their rec soccer or softball leagues too. A co-ed environment could result in you getting some sexual action too.
--Volunteering. This might be my own personality, but I feel more grounded when I am taking care of someone else, even in a small way. I did a lot of tutoring before I had my own kids. I don't know if you love animals, nature, kids, or if you have a social justice bent, but you didn't mention it so I thought I would.
--Religion or personal philosophy. If you are an activist, this can take the place of religion, but I think having some sort of superstructure for what you truly believe is a good way to live can help ground you as a single person.
--Keeping in touch with long-distance friends. This is something that is *so hard* now that I'm married with kids. Before I was married, I could jet off to wherever for a 3-day weekend to catch up with an old college friend or see a new city with a friend who moved to one. So much fun, not too expensive.

Enjoy your life--sounds like you have a great attitude that will ensure that you do..
posted by tk at 6:26 AM on October 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


* I already talk with my fellow childless NYC friends about cooperative elder housing—and we're only in our 40s and 50s, some gay, some straight, some single, some not. We have to stick together, because we're going to need to pay someone to feed us later, or at least we'll need enough money to get to Switzerland to be smothered with a pillow. Those who don't plan for the elder years now basically die in a gutter! No pressure!

* Do not live here in NYC unless you have a reason to: specifically, that you are here to extract money from NYC that you don't have access to unless you live here. It's just too insane now, too expensive, too absurd. If you're not here to treat it like an ATM, basically, just go ahead and run towards something better. If you're having a blast, GREAT. If you work in a field that doesn't really exist anywhere else, PERFECT. But otherwise....

* Get big into something, or somethings. Whether it's a volunteer commitment, or an exercise, or a team, or WHATEVER, get all the way in and join that community. I ran into my hot and happy single friend Karen the other Saturday night and I was like where are you coming from? And she was like "Oh I volunteer at a drop in center for gay and lesbian kids every Saturday night" and I was like, oh hmm, she is living a more fulfilling life than I am I think.

* And related to all of that in the big puzzle, get big on your AMBITION DREAMS. Now is the TIME. What secret desires for yourself are you sitting on, or giving up on? Well, you have the room of your own, sister, so knock it out. You cannot afford to fail yourself.

* Speaking of rooms... HIRE A CLEANING PERSON. My god, what is going on, what are you thinking!? It is better to have someone come clean your house once a week than to put that money in your 401k. People who don't live in NYC will be appalled that I said that but they don't understand and who cares. I love living in my own filth too; I like it even more when someone comes over and washes my things and puts them away for me. We live in the golden age of the service economy. Like literally my single ladies have someone to clean, they have Caviar for dinner delivery, they have Uber to drive them around, they have service for hire for repairs and whatnots, they have Alfred to keep their fridge stocked with their favorite yogurts and to pick up their dry cleaning. LIFE IS TOO SHORT. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow, do you want to spend your last 24 hours hanging up your bras???

*That being said, sure, literally the more money you save SOONER, the more money you will have later, barring disasters. Does this mean you should be torturing yourself and not eating nice food? NO. You have gotta live, and have nice scarves, and feel great about yourself. If you're five years off from finishing your student loans, that's not terrible. It will also benefit you in the long run, if they are accruing significant interest, to knock them out sooner.

* Ask for a raise. :)

* One of the things about being your age is that you will move through and out of the period where everyone is raising children under 13. Old long-disappeared friends may reappear! It actually gets better, in my experience. I lost a LOT of friends to their gross children and I'm happy to welcome them back after. SIDEBAR: This also means that a new set of dateable people crop up, in part because the toxic stress of babies busts up their marriages. Men in their 40s and 50s are literally at least five times as dateable as men in their 20s and 30s, in my experience. :)

* You deserve to have a sex life. You should demand it of NYC. This is hard to crack, but it basically involves being forward with guys you see who are hot and are not wearing the idiot ring. Men are dumb and shy and don't know how to make an appropriate move. It seems really difficult to arrange fuckbuddies, etc., but once you do, you'll feel a LOT better about the rest of it all. I'm thinking about throwing a stealth singles mixer just so I can pair off my horny single straight friends who "can't meet anyone online"; I get it, but it's out of control!

* Do not vacation on your own! I mean sometimes it's fine. I love vacationing with combinations of singles and couples. Make new traditions with friends! Making holidays with friends is a way of making permanent traditions which is a way of making family. This will become more important as you get older and the shit starts to go down. And the shit will go down.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 6:32 AM on October 20, 2015 [19 favorites]


Have you considered living with roommates? It would give you a little bit of companionship (group meals, casual conversations, etc.) and help you cut down on costs so you could save more money.
posted by deathpanels at 7:31 AM on October 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Because no one sends me messages or will answer mine. You can see my question and comment history for details, but I have very extensively worked the online circuit with zero success.

Are we twins? This is me as well. I've been so much happier since giving up online dating entirely.

If we are indeed twins, then you may also be like me in that sex drive = yes but sex with people you find hot and yet are not in love with = no. I just can't do it. I can't. Because I can't even find someone attractive if I'm not in love with them. I'd have been great in a courtship era, but dating... jeezus, dating is my kryptonite. I need to know a person's character before I find them attractive. Has a lot to do with growing up with a father and guy cousins on whom women threw themselves due to their "hotness," and knowing what was behind the façades. (Rottenness. They had zero respect for the women they slept with. Sure they pretended to, and had a hoot of a time describing their exploits of fooling women into thinking they were interested, but, yeah, no, blech ptooey ick. I KNOW there are men who aren't like that. Which is why I need to know their character first.)

Back to the subject. Exercise. A physical activity that turns you on – one that gives you a passion. I love cycling, hiking, and am going to try roller derby as soon as the broken arm I got for (successful) tryouts heals. I've been single for 11 years now and really don't miss sex that much. I'm also lucky to live in a country where people give cheek kisses, so I do get a minimum of physical contact, but I do miss hugs, holding hands, cuddling... I have cats for that. Cats can be happy in small spaces; my two furballs lived in a 300sq.ft apartment for two years, 450sq.ft before that, and we're now in a luxurious 580sq.ft apartment.

The benefits of being single are a real boon for choosing a partner, if you think about it. I am more than happy to laugh and be on my jolly single way with men who pull a shadow of shit. I can:
- eat pizza for dinner without anyone telling me I should diet
- wake up at 7am to go out at 7:20am without anyone harping on me that women always take twice as long as they think to get ready (just responding to that meant that, yes indeed, it ended up taking twice as long, gee, who'd'a thunk)
- don't have to meet crazy beauty standards. And I can turn heads even with my grey hairs and non-made-up face. Discovered that one of my issues is everyone assumes I'm coupled because I am, and I quote, "beautiful". I quote it because I've heard everything from ugly to plain to unremarkable to beautiful to breathtaking. If ever anyone needs anecdotal proof of beauty standards not mattering, I'm living it. Pff. I won't date anyone who doesn't bother to listen when I say I'm single and describe my life in terms of being single – meaning saying things like "yeah I managed to move with a broken arm, I hired movers, unpacking the boxes by myself is a chore though".
- listen to psytrance for two hours while drinking tea and eating gingerbread biscuits and letting the cats cuddle and swat at me
- go out in my garden and muck about
- redecorate the apartment whenever and however I want
- go balls-out, sorry, ovaries-out in my career

Financials – yeah, big reason I moved to a socialist country. Totally serious. I always knew I'd have to cut off my family, so getting my retirement ducks in order is something that's always been on my mind. And after an experience with an abusive ex? Let me tell you... being single has major financial advantages. For one thing, your investments can't get stolen by an abusive asshole. Yes, there are non-abusive assholes in the world. But the fact is, even in happy hetero relationships, it's the woman who does most of the emotional work. And let me tell you... eleven years into singlehood, I am *still* learning new and wonderful ways to be independent, and the delicious values of it. I'm seriously at the point where I often tell myself, "wow, I am so glad it's been eleven years, I've really needed them alone." Finances are great. You need to be in an emotional and physical state in which you can enjoy them.

On that note. I try not to sweat reasonable treats in the here and now. Sacrificing too much for too long takes a psychic toll. Enjoy yourself. Don't listen too much to the societal guilt trap that's set especially for we women. We all know it in our bones: "she isn't allowed to enjoy life alone!!!" This is also why people assume I'm coupled: because I'm so darn happy with my life. "Women can't be happy alone!! There must be a man doing it and she's not saying!! Just look, she's even succeeding in her career, omg, no way that's on her own."

Not shallow happiness, but a deep, peaceful acceptance that allows for times of loneliness and wondering WTF I've gotten myself into.

Do little things too, not just big ones. In time you'll see how much they add up. It's a richness and intimate personal history that can't be exchanged for anything.
posted by fraula at 8:14 AM on October 20, 2015 [21 favorites]


I'm 50, cis het female, and have never been partnered nor do I expect to be. So I'm you a decade or so in the future. And I'm hardly a wilting flower.

What I currently do to stay healthy and CONTENT:
  • Good-paying job with good coworkers. I work remote. Every woman needs a nice room of her home that she can pay for, with a deadbolt on the front door and good locks on the windows.
  • Regular exercise and good eating habits. Being single and living independently means you need to be physically strong.
  • Musical instrument practice on a regular basis
  • Buddhist meditation practice
  • Lovely apartment on my own, no roommates. I would consider intentional community, though.
  • I live in a safe and secure building, in a safe area. No underemployed guys with bad habits looking in the windows or throwing trash on my lawn. I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH.
  • Live in an arts-loving city that doesn't require driving everywhere to get to fun stuff.
  • Daily conversations with acquaintances or friends, either IRL or online.
  • Volunteer work in my community.
  • Sex? Easily and enjoyably gotten for oneself. :-) Try Smitten Kitten if that appeals to you.
What I would do at your age:
  • Get the hell out of NYC. It is now too frigging expensive for a single person of normal means. My work team is based in the Midwest and if I were younger I would move in a heartbeat.
  • Think about a move to a civilized country like Canada that, at least for now, sustains its older people of normal means.
  • Tubal ligation if you never want to bear your own kids, especially if you are staying in the U.S. If you're anything like me, pregnancy won't be much of a risk, but you know what they say about an ounce of prevention.
  • Try to make sure you're in a work field that will sustain you economically and emotionally. I've been in software dev as a tech writer or tester for most of the last 20 years. It pays the bills.
  • Do you REALLY need to "take care of your parents"? What does that mean? That question needs some careful consideration. Don't get stuck in a trap of emotional or financial servitude.
  • Keep a furry pet. I'm done with that for now for various reasons, but they are wonderful company. Keep in mind, though, that pet ownership can be quite pricey.

posted by Sheydem-tants at 8:43 AM on October 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Just responding to this part:

But I've been single the longest I've ever been in 15 years - two years now - and those things are starting to get old and becoming a source of negativity (not having to clean is degenerating into my living in a pigsty, no one seeing what I eat for dinner means I eat junk, not being a slave to beauty conventions means I'm gaining weight, hobbies and exercises have become boring routines).
- What new daily things can I enjoy?
- What can I do to give a sense of excitement and potential to my life? I like traveling, but planning a trip six months in advance does not add that little sparkle that getting an unexpected text from a crush does.
- What can I do with my life that one can't do with a partner? For example, I switched jobs/cities at the drop of a hat. That was great. I may do that again but not any time soon. What other big things can I do with my life like that?


So, I would do some serious brainstorming on this topic. Make your apartment all cozy and candlelit OR go to your favorite cafe and order an expensive cappucino OR sit out in your favorite park -- some setting that feels a little special. And then set a timer and write for 15- or 20 minutes just stream of consciousness of all the crazy small and big things you would love to do or experience or accomplish at some point in your life. At this point, NO telling yourself it's not possible or too out there - just write stream of consciousness. Then go back over the list and pick things you want to do in the next month, year, and 5 years (obviously some things could overlap, other things only make sense on one of those lists). Try to pick things that really give you joy and that sense of "YES!" excitement. Then put the list up somewhere visible in your apartment and go forth! I have done this at various points in my life and while it sounds sort of hokey, it is AWESOME and has pushed me to recognize dreams I didn't really realize I had as well as to go out and do things I really wanted to do but just hadn't gotten around to because, you know, life and routine.

Also - if you are not allergic, you might look into getting an older cat. These cats are harder to get adopted, so the shelter will be soooo grateful and helpful to you. Ours is past his most active years, and so he is perfectly fine and not sad in our extremely tiny urban apartment. (I actually think in a larger space he would not really know what to do with it!) Plus, the bonus of cats is that you can get an auto feeder and they will be just fine if you get home from work late or need to be gone for the weekend. We get a friend to stop by and give him some cuddles if we are going to be gone more than 3 days, but he does just fine on his own for less than that. Just something to think about! Sooooo many snuggles and loves, plus a warm body next to you in bed. Obviously not applicable if you are allergic to or don't like cats!
posted by rainbowbrite at 9:03 AM on October 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oy, I misquoted Virginia Woolf in my comment above, but the misquote was kind of funny.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 9:04 AM on October 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Dedicate your life to something that moves your soul and changes the world. I'm on the journey now.
posted by PeaPod at 9:06 AM on October 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I won't deny that I think my husband is by far a net positive in my life, but there are some things I can't do because he's around:
Move to another country on a whim -- I'd love to be able to take a year-long stint in another country (and have the option to do so) but can't really because of the complication of us both needing to feed our careers.
Similarly, my parents are getting older, and both my grandmothers are really old - I would love to move back to my home country for a while, to spend this time with them. But we're both agreed that he would not want to move to my home country or I to his -- thus the US is neutral ground and here we will stay.
On the same note, elder care may be more complicated in terms of money but in some ways is less complicated in terms of time -- you will never have to choose between spending time with his sick grandmother or yours. Since we're both from different countries, something will have to give.
Get a pet. I would really love a cat, but he's adamantly opposed (this would probably be a dealbreaker for many people but I grew up with a mother who didn't like pets either, so I'm pretty used to it).
My husband doesn't drink -- I drink a whole lot less now that I spend more time hanging out with him and less time with my friends in bars. You don't have to cater to anyone else in terms of what's for dinner or what you drink or eat.
posted by peacheater at 9:29 AM on October 20, 2015


(I appreciate my fellow cat-lovers in here, Lord knows I am never without a cat myself, but IT IS NOT NECESSARY for you to go all crone + cat just because you do not at this time have a husband. You would already have a cat if you wanted one. Don't get a cat that you don't crave!)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 1:10 PM on October 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


I would forget about tea and cats and start a business. I know people who are so into their business that getting good news about a deal or a client or etc beats a text from a crush or anything else. Be that girl, but you have to want that more than the crushes and love and sex and.
posted by zutalors! at 8:11 PM on October 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


I’m working on figuring out the same things for myself. The one I have mostly worked out is sex. If you can enjoy sex without an emotional connection, then Tinder is your friend. (Even in NYC… I’m 40 and not super hot and was able to hook up using it on a business trip.) It took a frustrating couple months of auditions, but I eventually found 3-4 competent people I can now contact for casual sex as needed. YMMV; for me, general compatibility is unnecessary in getting this need met, so my options are broad… if you need to actually LIKE the people you’re sleeping with, then it will be more work.
posted by metasarah at 12:12 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


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