As I stated last week, I want to start the new year by getting back to basics. So, my posts for the next few weeks will deal with some of the basics of learning to thrive as a single person.
In last week’s post, I gave my description of what a thriving single life looks like and a few tips on how to get there. As I thought about different aspects of that and started getting my ideas together for the next few posts, it brought me back to my time as a single in midlife and some of the things I did right as a single person.
Of course, I did some dumb things too. Maybe I’ll share those with you in a future post. But for this week, let’s concentrate on the positive. Here are a few of the smartest things I did as a single person.
I Got Over My Ex
One of the smartest things I did was to take the time to get over my ex in a healthy way – without a rebound relationship, a chemical crutch, or a string of emotionless one-night stands.
Like everyone going through a breakup or divorce, I went through the bootlicking stage where I would have done almost anything legal to win my ex back. I also went through the anger stage where just looking at her made my blood pressure go up. You can’t help but be affected by that big of a loss.
We all like to think that there is some grand gesture, some grandiose thing we can do, some sublimely eloquent thing we can say or write that will make it all better and get things back to the way they were. But, there comes a time when you have to realize that there is nothing you can do. When someone makes the choice and moves on, it is pointless to sit around thinking about them year after year.
The truth is that as time went on I was perfectly fine without her. My happiness and well-being are not dependent on one person’s acceptance or rejection of me. And, come to find out, there are lots of people who think pretty highly of me.
I began to thrive as a single person as I got over my ex. A big part of that was a program called DivorceCare. I can’t say enough good things about that program. If you have been through a bad breakup or a divorce, do yourself a huge favor and check it out here.
I Stayed In My Church’s Music Ministry
Staying in my church’s music ministry was one of the smartest things I did. It was good on three different levels.
One way it was good was because I was part of a group. It was an opportunity for regular fellowship and camaraderie. That kept me connected to people I had something in common with.
Another good thing about it was that it was something I did to help others. Helping others is a great way to start thriving. It takes your focus off of yourself and helps you focus outwardly on the needs of others. In the case of the music ministry that meant the needs of the ministry team and the needs of the congregation.
A third way it was helpful was that it kept me spiritually healthy. There is something about participating in corporate praise and worship that refreshes your spirit and keeps you God-focused rather than problem-focused.
I Got Involved With a Singles Group
Another one of the smartest things I did was getting involved with a singles group. That gave me the opportunity to interact with singles of the opposite sex in a healthy, safe environment.
I should specify here that I found a very healthy singles group with leaders who taught us the things they learned as singles and went the extra mile to make the group safe and healthy. Not all groups are created equal. I did have some experiences with other groups that were not so good. But, in this group, I learned to thrive.
I Paid Attention to My Physical Health
One of the ways those first few things helped me a lot was with my emotional and spiritual health. But, one of the other smart things I did was I paid attention to my physical health.
In times of emotional upheaval, it’s especially important to eat well, get enough sleep, and get some exercise. Staying physically healthy also helps you to stay emotionally healthy. Look it up. Google it. There are thousands of articles online about the link between diet, exercise, and sleep, and emotional wellbeing.
If you are feeling down or depressed get out and go for a walk, a jog, or a bike ride. I had a walking path near my apartment. I took advantage of that and went on long walks every chance I had. The combination of the exercise and the outdoors always made me feel better. It still does.
And, it’s a twofer. It helps you keep your weight down and spirits up, which also makes you more attractive. Because it’s much easier to be attractive when you don’t look undernourished, overweight, or like you haven’t gotten enough sleep.
I Spent Quality Time With the Opposite Sex
Okay, the last smart thing I want to mention this week is that I spent lots of non-romantic, non-sexual, quality time with singles of the opposite sex. I cannot overemphasize the importance of this.
People are way too quick to pair up into these intimate, marriage-lite dating relationships. Spend time with singles of the opposite sex one-on-one and in groups just talking and having fun.
I made the conscious decision to set aside the romance and sex and just get to know different types of women. Spending this quality time with the opposite sex helped me realize what was important to me. I was able to see how I reacted to, felt, and behaved around women with different temperaments and personality types and from different backgrounds.
This enabled me to feel more confident when I was ready to pursue a relationship. I didn’t have to wonder if the grass would be greener on the other side of the fence. I had enough experience with enough different types of women to know for sure what I wanted.
While you are here, make sure you read my posts about dating. They are very relevant to this topic.
Smartest Thing to Do
I hope you found that instructive. One of the smartest things I did was learning from the successes and mistakes of other singles. Likewise, one of the smartest things you can do is to learn from people like me who have walked the same road you are on.
So, what about you? What wisdom would you like to share with other singles? What valuable lessons have you learned? Let’s talk about it in the comment section down below.
I hope to see you there. Til next week – thrive on!
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