Singles’ Survival Guide: When Fall Makes You Miserable

Surprise. Sometimes I don’t love being single.

Was I starting to fool you? Hey, I’m not a robot.  It’s not always sunshine and anything-but-red roses for me. Just because I’m not ready for a commitment doesn’t mean I’m always giddy about it.

So, this is the first in a series of posts I’ll do when the dark mood strikes: your ‘Singles’ Survival Guide.’ (Even the optimists just need to get through sometimes.)

That being said- it’s fall and it SUCKS to be single. Am I the only who feels all the good things of the season are family- or couples-oriented? Getting one’s kids ready for school, walking through the park, carving pumpkins (I’m clumsy—I can’t carve a pumpkin by myself). Comfort foods? Um, at least for this single, you’re looking in the wrong kitchen.

Not to mention the suddenly rainy and blah weather. This year’s transition to cooler temperatures has especially caught me off guard. Whereas normally I get home in the evenings and have a ton of things I wanna do, the weather is making me lazy and totally unproductive. (‘Slogging’ is the correct term for it.)

So, how to survive a damp and dreary autumn amid nauseatingly happy couples and families around you?

Turn Down the Volume of Your Thoughts
No, really. I hardly ever turn on the TV, but even I see my DVD player as a valuable survival tool. Woe-is-me thoughts get louder during this time of year. We all have them—do whatever it takes to drown them out with noise!

Take Lots of Naps
If you’re too cheap to turn on the heat (I refuse to turn it on before December), sleep more. Your wild and crazy summer probably deprived you anyway. Hey, you can’t be unhappy if you’re unconscious.

Hang Out With Friends…on Non-Single Turf If Need Be
There is an inverse relationship between the weather and the NEED to hang out with friends. In warm weather, you do it because you want to—friends are fun! In cold weather, it becomes more of a necessity. If, like me, you only have friends who are in serious relationships, hang out with the ones who can excise themselves from their other half, or at least function in groups as two distinct beings.

Exercise More
Because endorphins make you feel good. And it will wear you out and make it easier to take those additional naps mentioned above.

So yeah. Not doing so great right now. And as long as we’re setting records straight here—I need to confess something: just because I don’t believe in relationships as a lifestyle default doesn’t mean I’m not seeing anyone. Um, yeah, you could say there’s someone in my life—someone I’m kinda-sort-of-not-quite-seeing. I’ll go into more detail in future posts; right now he’s pissed me off and I have nothing good or objective to say. Yeah, I know what that sounds like… but it’s a non-relationship relationship.  More later!

Questions for you singles: do the seasons affect your happiness with your relationship status? What else can I do to make it to winter?

  1. Kevin said:

    Hey Pam!! My name is Kevin, I just read over your blog and it seems like you have a great personality and I think your very attractive! I’m 29, a construction management graduate from East Carolina University and currently managing the construction of a project in East Beach. I’ve been living in Virginia Beach at the ocean front for a little over four years now. This is a little wierd for me, I’ve never tried to meet anyone online like this, but you seem like a very interesting person that I’d like to meet. I’m sure you’ve recieved a lot of comments like this but, I figured it’s worth a shot. This may sound a little cheesy but I’m on facebook, you could look me up if you’d like. Good luck with your blog and I hope to hear from you soon!

  2. Omar said:

    If you are into thrills, taking a group of friends for roller skating, ice skating, or even skydiving in Chesapeake can be quite fun. Or, you can turn back time and go go Busch Gardens like you did when you were younger. Cheer up young scout, fall will be wonderful.

    Also, I wanted to go to your event, I remembered it, but Mustangs are not boats, my car will stall in the smallest of puddles, so Mother Nature detoured me from doing anything, I hope you got a large bid.

    • Pam said:

      Hey Omar, thanks for the comment! I’ve been trying to get back to Busch Gardens like crazy! Good idea. 🙂 Skydiving—NOT for me! Not right now, anyway, although I’m sure the bonding during that kind of situation is one in a million.

      I’m sorry you couldn’t make it out!

  3. Jiyati Verma said:

    btw-i think its funny that only guys have responded so far. just to tip the scales in the opposite direction. here’s my take:

    The seasons do not change my happiness with the relationship status. I think things like the Air Show would be a happier thing to go to, if you could go with friends. Families are everywhere in every season, wherever you go. The other day I was in Kroger, and it seemed like couples were in every corner. OH and paintball!!! I’ve never done it before, but I’ve always wanted to because it appeals to my boyish tendencies. oh! and i like cooking, because it doesn’t require anyone else to be involved, and the reward is sweet, if done right.

    • Pam said:

      Hey Jiyati! Thanks for the comment! Haha, the air show…is that a reference to my “drown out the volume of your thoughts”??

      I like the paintball idea. Let me know whenever you’re down in Hampton Roads – I’d love to try it!

      And yep, I’m determined to figure out this cooking thing, sooner rather than later! 🙂

  4. Pete said:

    pam, kevin seems to be following the rules here. if your special person isn’t making you happy right now, look up kevin, and see what happens. 😉 he seems to be playing by the rules nicely.

    • Pam said:

      Following the rules? What rules? My blog, my rules 😀 haha

  5. Pete said:

    i couldn’t agree more about the fall. in the past, summer has been a time for family parties, fishing trips with the guys, and unpredictability. fall has always prompted me to get back into “normal” life. for me, this time of year has come along with revising schedules, developing routines, and planning for the future. these sorts of plans always entail a re-imagination of goals and expectations. i always took for granted that these processes always allowed me to take stock of my relationship and get re-acquainted with my partner, her developing needs and desires, and remember all the central reasons we were together in the first place.

    the earlier evenings and cooler temperatures always used to find us having sort of cuddled-up conversations on the couch in which we started out talking about schedules and ended up talking about broad topics like the future and some of our real goals and dreams.

    not being able to share these experiences with a companion is really difficult. it makes me not want to even develop plans and routines–after all, who cares what i do? nobody but me. sure, it’s freedom, but i’m not a hermit, and i hate thinking that i have only to worry about myself. it’s depressing.

    i’m about to adopt a cat, and i truly hope this helps motivate me to live a more normal, connected-feeling life. i also think it’s important to reach out during this time of year. i want to start getting to know my new neighbors, so why not bake a few pumpkin pies or banana breads and deliver them to the people in the neighborhood? also, as the temperatures fall, homeless shelters need much more help, so we could always volunteer. schools are back in session, too, and teachers (except my ex, apparently) need all the help they can get. go hang out with some little kids. these suggestions are sort of extensions on pam’s “turn down the volume of your thoughts” suggestion. the more focused i get on myself, the less happy i get. shifting the focus will probably help.

    in a more selfish vein, why not start dating? if we’re longing for company, other singles are probably feeling the same way. i guess you could strike while the iron is hot. there are tons of fun dating opportunities this time of year–scary movies, hayrides, hikes through changing leaves, etc. for me, these sorts of activities make me think about my childhood, and what better way to get to know someone than to share stories about being kids?

    i plan to do this stuff, but i need to be careful. my desire to cuddle up and feel close to someone besides my own damned self will make it tough for me to avoid starting yet another screwed up relationship just for the sake of not being alone. fall is a vulnerable time of year, so i have to watch out for the standard pitfalls.

    my last suggestion is to recognize the displeasure and own it. avoiding couples and families is not the answer; it’s impossible and results in making us avoid places we’d usually enjoy. this advice is mostly for myself, but i think it’s healthy to embrace the feelings we get when we see happy couples. look at them, and consider why they make us feel the ways we do. for me, it’s jealousy–pure and simple. i want what they’ve got. so, just like emulating a rock star or pro athlete, look at what they’re doing that’s working, and consider behaving more like them. as long as i regard them as some other, lucky species, i don’t get anywhere. also, acknowledging the pain of watching happy couples can be cathartic, i suppose.

    • Pam said:

      I’m not a hermit myself either…I do love company! But what do you mean “who cares what I do? nobody but me.”?!?! That’s the point…you get to live life on your terms, and someday you may not get that chance again!

      A cat? Hmm. Again, and this is just my opinion, I think you’re jumping the gun if you’re doing it to feel connected again. Why not just live for a time with no one to care for or answer to except yourself? Just my 2 cents. Good idea on the reaching out…I might try the pie-baking thing. 🙂 “The more I focus on myself, the less happy I get” – this is not a direct quote I hope! I get unhappy if I focus on my misery, but I totally love being able to focus on myself…no other time in my life to do it!

      If you feel you’re ready to start dating again, by all means, do it! And keep us updated. I only ever date for 2 reasons – 1) I happen to meet someone I’m uncommonly attracted to; and 2) New reason: to open myself up to a new way of seeing the world and to have interesting things to blog about! haha–half kidding!

      YES do be careful! The dating world is fierce and tricky.

      I don’t plan to avoid couples and families…I can’t. I can count my non-couple friends on one hand. Some of my best friends have crossed over to the other side. I just don’t like that when coupled up, some people can’t function as individuals anymore…it’s annoying! What if I don’t like their significant other? Why must the single person always yield?
      Do I feel jealous? Not sure. But okay, I’ll own up to it if I do!

      Thanks as always for your thought-provoking essay, er, comment! 😉

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