Only the Lonely

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Solo

By Chris Watson

You mention the time we’re together

So long ago well I don’t remember

All I know is that it makes me feel good now

It’s like I told you…only the lonely can play

–The Motels

For those of us who are single or living in pairs this is the time of year it starts. It is a feeling that is neither chronic nor clinical but certainly persistent. No matter where we go we are surrounded by the ever present reminder that Fall, heading into the holidays, is a time for families with children. It is a good time; a time where we remember the family we grew up with and the families that, depending on our time of life, have moved on to making their own Fall memories.  Between school starting, Halloween, pumpkin patches, proms, and football homecomings, Fall is the lead off batter to the ultimate child celebration at years end.

The problem, naturally, is that we can feel bereft.That feeling can creep into our lives and become a real problem months down the line when everyone, even families raising children, feel the winter blues. Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way.   

The Physics of Small Living

The problem with living in a smaller household is momentum. When we were growing up or actively raising kids we were naturally swept up in the energy and momentum of a larger crowd. For those of you scientifically inclined, momentum is mass times velocity. When our families are bigger we don’t have to go anywhere very fast (velocity). The momentum of our lives is carried by the mass (number of people).

Not so when we live solo or in pairs. Now we have to up our velocity a bit.Here, admittedly, is where the physics analogy breaks down. By velocity no one means to “speed up” our lives. One of the most universal complaints of active adults is that their lives feel too fast.

No, by velocity we mean deliberate activity. Actually directing our time and choosing our focus. When we lived in families much of this “choice” was done for us…especially at this time of year. Halloween through New Years is a time most larger households charitably describe as “jam packed”. And even now in our smaller households we can get entrained in that energy.

That energy is temporary. We don’t turn the corner of the new year with that “mass” of a larger family. So, what do we do between now and the first of the year slow or even prevent the drop off?

Today Starts Today

Yes, it seems evident but now means now…not sometime after the first of the year.  Now is the time to start things. And by now we mean RIGHT NOW!

Starting or bringing craft and building projects back into our lives early gives great momentum in the Winter months.
Starting or bringing craft and building projects back into our lives early gives great momentum in the Winter months.

For those of us living solo or in pairs these last two months of the year are the perfect time to set in place some new projects or goals. Not the first of the year but NOW.  What we need is the velocity of these projects to carry us past the new year, not try and start them when we are already feeling a loss of momentum.

These “start ups” can be a simple as a bit of fall housecleaning. A good solid look through the closet, in the basement, through boxes that we should have dealt with, even drawers at our so called “desk” that have piles of junk in them. We are not suggesting a top to bottom spring like makeover. Just a go around to clear the clutter of our lives. The likelihood of doing this in the second week of January is nil. So get it done now. If you are a holiday decorator this is an ideal time to do a clean up prior to dragging out the holiday happiness.

During our clean up it is a good time to also think about things we started and didn’t finish.  Craft projects, organizational tasks, or even something simple like “getting to” the basement, shed, closet, or basement. Again, doing it now you have a greater likelihood of completing the tasks than in the deep recesses of winter. Plus they won’t bedevil you in the winter when you don’t really want to do them.

Something Old, Something New

Many of us have projects, books, crafts, even professional tasks that we have started or really wanted to complete. Even with hectic activity of the end of the year putting time for those forgotten or neglected activities now will pay off in spades come the first of the year. When others are trying to climb out of the well of “let down” we will have the momentum of already getting back in the groove.

Fall is the perfect time to start a course of reading for professional or personal development. When Winter comes you are already in the groove
Fall is the perfect time to start a course of reading for professional or personal development. When Winter comes you are already in the groove

We can also start something new. Been wanting to go back to the gym? Now is the time. It will carry you smoothly through the holiday and well into the first of the year. Want to run a half marathon in the spring? Start working on running now. Spring will be here before you know it. Been wanting to do that on line computer certification? Or investigate a new professional or civic organization (like Toastmasters, Rotary, etc?). Now is a good time to start those kind of journeys. How about that self study course you have always wanted to get through (like learning a language or reading the entire bible)? Starting now has a greater chance of success. 

Many classes in crafts, arts, and continuing professional development sign up in the Fall for a Winter session.
Many classes in crafts, arts, and continuing professional development sign up in the Fall for a Winter session.

Don’t discount investigating first of the year programs as well. Continuing education programs along with community adult learning courses are signing up for winter/spring now. Even if these programs are not yet ready to take applications by gathering the information now you will be more likely to sign up when the application window actually opens.

The point is now is the time. When we live solo or in pairs the choppy waters of winter can be much more difficult to navigate. The answer is to lay groundwork now for a better, healthier first few weeks of 2017. By doing so we will avoid being wreck upon the rocky shoals of the new year.

 

Photos by morguefile, fee photographs for commercial use.  Check availability at www.morguefile.com