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Singles: Go Where Everyone Knows Your Name

21 May
Cheers

Cheers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Twenty years ago this week, Sam turned off the lights at “Cheers,” ending that sitcom’s 10-year run. The best thing about it was the opening song… You go where everyone knows your name, and they’re always glad you came…

We all should have a Cheers in our life. A neighborhood bar would be great. And if you’ve got one, congratulations.

In my neighborhood, coffee shops are the hangouts. The regulars arrive and their skinny lattes immediately are ready because the barista saw them coming before they entered the door. Everyone sits around looking into their laptops in quiet companionship. Every now and then conversation will break out.

I’ve always had to work in an office during the coffee shops’ most caffeinated time of the morning. And in the evenings I prefer wine. So I’ve had to search for my personal Cheers. I’ve made connections at

  • the local wellness center, particular zumba classes
  • church; they act like they like me and they like to eat

The point is to find someplace where the feeling is mutual. I’m crazy about the flea market and I get a kick out of antique malls. But they don’t care if I come or not. We all need a place to go where they like you and you like them. You’re missed if you stay away too long. Us singles especially need a Cheers place.

Where do you go where everyone knows your name?

Living Alone and Loneliness — Not the Same Thing!

12 May

Last week the local newspaper had a front page story about how living alone leads to shorter life spans. The article led with the story of two individuals, both in their 80s. One walked his dog several times a day and lived alone in a small apartment. His daughter visited almost every day. But his wife had died the year before and he was obviously still grieving. Of course, he felt lonely.

The other example was a woman in declining health who had outlived most of her friends and family. She had become immobile after an active life. She said she was ready to join her friends who had gone on.

You see the problem here, of course. The reporter had confused living alone with loneliness. Though the studies on which the article was based made it clear that loneliness led to a shorter life, too many people like this reporter jumped to the conclusion that living alone equaled loneliness.

Feeling lonely is as common as breathing among the human race. The problem leading to a shorter life span comes with unrelenting loneliness. Living alone can be freedom at its best if its a choice. If it’s forced upon an individual, however, it makes loneliness worse.

In the next few days, I’d like to explore how to solve the problem of loneliness — until it happens again, of course.  Topics include:

  • Taking control by making choices
  • You got to go to where everyone knows your name
  • Making a real connection

And finally, if you’re feeling lonely, check the calendar. If you’re still feeling lonely in a couple of weeks, you’re probably depressed and need the help of a mental health professional. Get help!

But if you experience occasional bouts of loneliness like most of the human race, check back here. We will find some answers.

10 Observations from the Love Experiment

5 May

For seven days last week I experimented with saying “I love you” mentally to everyone I met. Here are my observations:

  1. It’s easier to love everyone when everyone you meet is worth loving. Wasn’t challenged with truly nasty people.
  2. It’s easier to love everyone when old nemesis stay in the past where they belong.
  3. To love everyone requires the love sender to be wide awake, truly alive and aware.
  4. It’s easier to mentally love strangers or mere acquaintances. Family and friends come with complicated feelings where love is just part of the stew.
  5. Sending loving thoughts can be exhausting.
  6. Sometimes being nice is enough.
  7. Sending out loving thoughts seems to boomerang. There were times when I was receiving warmth and acceptance before I had sent my loving thoughts.
  8. Loving thoughts lead to loving actions. Love leads to caring, even if it’s only a compliment sincerely given.
  9. Loving everyone leads to mellowness and lower blood pressure.
  10. Loving everyone all the time may not be possible because many of us live too much in the future, thinking about our to-do lists. But being nice is doable, even to nasty people, most of the time.

The Love Experiment: Day Seven/Just Being Nice

2 May

I realized today would be an office day with people I already know. So, my goal would be to make it a little nicer for each one of them. The idea would be to make each person smile and to recognize their sincere efforts. If I couldn’t find an effort worth recognizing, I would fall back on the smile exchange.

It worked.

The folks at the office are working on a multimillion dollar project with an almost impossible deadline. Stress is as common as coffee. But to their credit, most keep cool most of the time — which makes being nice easy.

I started out admiring the receptionist’s jewelry, but she beat me to it and admired my shoes. High-fived one guy for no particular reason — and he started it. My partner expressed gratitude for work I’d done before I could thank him for his.

It was one pleasantry after another all day. And we made progress on our project. Then, when traffic came to a standstill on the way home, I was mellow. Think I’ll try to make a habit of nice.

STRESS LESS

STRESS LESS (Photo credit: BetterWorks)

The Love Experiment: Day Five/Too Far?

30 Apr

I took the love experiment online today, when I tried to send love to all those who emailed me. I knew I went too far when I replied to a car dealer who had sent me many, many emails. Instead of ignoring her (yes, it was a she and a very young she, according to her photo), I decided to reply. It would be the loving thing to do, right? She was young and insistent. So I asked her nicely not to ever contact me again.

So, I didn’t ignore her or delete her. I acknowledged her humanity with a request to leave me alone.

In the online world, that counts as a loving gesture. I think.

The Love Experiment: Day Four/Reciprocated

29 Apr

We ran into each other in the office kitchen first thing this morning. Her making oatmeal in the microwave and me filling a cup with ice water. We both were starting our third week on a project as part timers. We worked on separate teams, however, and our paths hadn’t crossed since that first day.

She gave me a big smile, direct eye contact, remembered my name. Before I could mentally love her, she was already sending me acceptance and support. We compared what we had learned, and I realized her team was learning things my team needed to know.

As we parted, I tried to remember her name. Fortunately, they keep a staff roster online complete with photos — even part timers. Let’s just call her D.

Much later that afternoon, we ran into each other in the restroom and laughed at the idea we were on the same schedule. We talked for many minutes out in the hallway. I learned she was about the age of my daughter and had a 4 year old. She wanted the part time job to become a full time job, with benefits.

She told me I needed to become the next director, that I looked 15 years younger than my actual age, and that I had style. I wanted to hug her.

I felt mentally loved.

The Love Experiment: Day Three/Crowded Out

28 Apr

Crowds are a challenge to the love experiment. While I tried to love the crowd at a concert this afternoon, it didn’t work.  I’m learning that even in the love experiment, where the love is given anonymously, love has be shared one person at a time. No vibes, no connection, as I tried to love humanity in bunches.

Actually, it was exhausting to try.