Tag Archives: living life

How to Enjoy the Single (And Non-Dating) Life

Most places you look and read will have you believe that everyone who’s single dates all the time. Really? My friends and I have missed that memo.

So it’s easy to feel like you’re a loser when you’re the one who’s totally current on what’s happening on all your favourite tv shows, since you’re the one keeping the couch warm while every other person on the planet appears to have a life. “Thank god for entertainment,” you sigh.

Every now and then, dating patches occur. Some are good, some are bad. Even when things are good, first dates often occur peppered with awkward conversations once it’s obvious that there’s not much there beyond a little physical attraction, then comes the troubling dilemma of “sex or no sex”. You know, you’re at the gates of the promised land of the fabled orgasm. You could use a little servicing. You’ll never see them again anyhow, so, why not have a little visit through those gates to orgasmic bliss?

And it seems so simple and easy but somewhere in the throes of being serviced, silly little emotional flashbacks to all the good things that come with a sexual relationship start to confuse the issues. After all, the reality is, you’re just having a total NSA courtesy fuck and they’re going to be riding the highway to nada by 6am. And god help you so you don’t fall asleep and they rob you for every little fucking thing you have. Fuck me, please, but leave the television, right?

So it’s no great mystery that there are those of us who fall into complicated patches of life and start to entertain the notion that dating, for all the small joys it can contribute, really comes with its share of headaches, too. And maybe, just maybe, life without all those headaches isn’t so bad after all. I mean, there’s always your trusty hand to do the servicing.

God knows that’s the line of thinking I’ve adopted. Despite moments where “alone” starts to feel lonely, I ultimately also really love the sanctuary and freedom that comes with my simple single-and-solo life.

In yesterday’s posting, I commented about an upcoming date that, “if the date should flop and I’m left to myself and masturbation, that will keep life simple and manageable, too.”

Hell, yeah! Being a party of one is all right. Living a solo existence can be absolutely fulfilling if you know how to do it right. And masturbation is required!

The single life can be fantastic, when you’ve got the money to see movies, attend events you dig, browse bookshops, and enjoy cafes, and whatever else takes your life from “existing” to “full”. That’s what I’m really looking forward to when money returns to me: The joys of hanging out in cafes and movie theatres by myself. Sometimes I chat with other people, or maybe I just get to observe life unfolding. It’s great. And it’s what I love to do, so why must I wait for the permissiveness of being in the company of others to enjoy such things?

And that’s the secret about being single, it’s realizing life doesn’t have to only be in parties of two. Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you need to wait for friends to accompany you out in the world. All you need is the sense of entitlement that you, too, deserve to enjoy your place in the world.

If I haven’t been enjoying being single, it’s because I’m missing that small element of money so I can be out in the world in coffee shops and theatres, prepare lavish meals for myself, buy the bath bitsies that make me feel like I own my own spa… all those little things add up to me really enjoying being single and not dating. It’s about remembering to value yourself because you deserved to be valued, regardless of whether you’re in the mythical “party of two” so idealized by the media today. We all deserve to be loved and cherished, even if we’re going to bed alone at night.

There’s a comic strip that I wish I still had, but it’s the Baby Blues strip in which the couple is pregnant with their second baby and the husband asks the wife, “So have you told your sister yet?” and the wife frowns and says something like, “Oh, honey, I can’t. I feel so sorry for her, she’s all alone, so single, and we’re so blessed. I’ll call her later.”

Then the last frame of the comic shows the sorry-ass, so-single sister lying in a bubble bath with a glass of red wine, candles burning, and she’s reading a book. Yes, a sad and empty existence, but she’s the one with the time for a glass of wine in a bubble bath with a book, right?

Exactly. Being single is what you make of it. Embrace it for what it is: your opportunity to begin what Oscar Wilde calls the proverbial life-long love affair–truly loving yourself–or else you can sit around and wish you had anything other than what you’re fortunate enough to have… yourself.

Get that party of one started. Hell, stay in, cook yourself a fabulous meal, watch a great movie, and end the evening with a little self-love in the form of that evil masturbation. You’re worth it, and just because you’re keeping life simple doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a little indulging of yourself. After all, it’s why we sometimes opt out of the chaos of dating anyhow, isn’t it?

Every Day I Think About Money

I’ve been thinking a lot about money lately, for obvious reasons. My theme song is the Stereophonics’ live track, “Every Day I Think About Money.” A couple days back I was elated when I was able to pay for 95% of my groceries with the coin I extracted from my piggy bank. (And, yes, it really is a piggy bank. It’s an upscale pottery pig, a high-falutin’ pig, but it’s a clay porker-broker indeed.)

These days, any self-worth I have comes from me. I can’t pad things with purchases. I can’t buy a little somethin’ somethin’ to make myself feel better. Others keep trying to spend money on me, and every time they do, a little more of my pride whittles away, despite the fact that I know they’re just trying to enjoy some time with me and see me satisfied. And, yes, as Marcellus Wallace would say, that’s pride fuckin’ wit’ me.

I’ve always been a proud person. I learned it from my mother. She was broke in the three years before her death, and we didn’t have a lot of money in my teens, either, but through it all, my mother never looked destitute, and she sure as shit never acted it. I try to live up to that. Sure, I falter at times, but such is life.

It’s easy, though, when you have money to spend yourself to a supposedly better state of mind. It’s easier still to try and spend your way out of guilt towards a loved one when you’re not being the lover/parent/spouse/friend you think you ought to be. I think we’ve all done this in the past. It’s too easy to not have done it.

We like to confuse the issue and pretend it’s generosity we’re providing, but it’s really not that. It’s absolution.

Back in the day, the Catholic Church filled its coffers by selling salvation. For a lofty price, you could contact a bishop and acquire yourself a church-sanctioned piece of salvation; as if giving God money could cause him to avert his judgmental gaze from you.

Nothing’s changed. We’re still the same. We “give at the office” so we can justify all our transgressions elsewhere. We buy our lovers gifts because we don’t have the time or energy to be with them, or worse, because we’ve lied to them or betrayed them. Well, it ain’t workin’. It’s the financial equivalent of trying to pull off a Band-aid slowly. What the fuck you thinkin’, Willis?

Money may make the world go round, but it also keeps the shrinks at bay long enough to delude ourselves that things aren’t really what we know they are.

The good thing about being broke like this is that I’m forced to go inside myself more and see what it is I value about me, to try and remember the simple things in life that bring me pleasure. Lying on a sofa on a dark, warm summer night with some music playing and just the streetlight slipping in through cracks in the curtains. Finding a nice bunch of economical ingredients and creating something new and wonderful in the kitchen while still making budget. Taking the long ride home on the scooter while dangling my sandal-clad feet off the side to get a breeze through the toes. Singing to myself and switching up familiar melodies with new phrasing and note combinations. Reading a good book in the bath.

And few of those cost any money, and whatever does cost money is something I’d be spending anyhow, so I just spend it wiser, is all.

I’ve been trying to avoid going into stores for the past few months, because this money-being-tight thing isn’t a recent development — it’s just more intense now than it’s ever been. But stores are made to make us want all the things we don’t have. That’s their nature. What’s worse is there’s a science behind marketing that most people are ignorant of.

Next time you’re in a supermarket, look at how it’s laid out. The meats on one side, the veggies on the other, and to get to either, you must pass all the processed and packaged shit that comes with higher markups. The lighting’s dimmer over the processed aisles, too, by some 30%, so you have to focus more to see what you’re looking for, and in so doing, you’re more likely to purchase something you don’t need. The brightest lighting, though, is over the checkout counters so you’re hyper alert and pay the right money, plus you move and act quicker so they save time on every transaction.

I’m on hyper-vigilant stand-by mode every time I enter stores these days. I’m conscious of my knowledge of marketing and subliminal sales tricks so I can try with all my heart to not spend a dime more than necessary. And I’m also conscious in reminding myself that it’s how I live my life, not what I fill it with, that brings me joy. It’s hard. It’s really hard. I’d love to get new headphones. My toaster oven has a Mensa-issued turn-on switch that requires a secret handshake and multiple acts of finagling just to get the fucker to toast. I’ve lost so much weight that all my clothes hang on me, and my pride’s taking a hit (fuck you, Marcellus; it is what it is).

But in the recent months I’ve acquired something money could never bring me before: Resourcefulness. Self-knowledge. Strength of self. A kind of inner peace I didn’t know existed.

Yeah, I still hate the 28-year-olds driving cars worth 30 times what my scooter’s worth, but I also know the looks of envy I get from them when I pull up at a stopsign in shorts and a t-shirt on a sweltering day, tapping my feet and singing to myself under my helmet. I glance over and a grin spreads on their faces as they nod, wondering why they’ve bought into the myth of the fancy car and the big monthly payments.

We each find happiness in different ways, but I’ll tell you one thing: It ain’t on your Visa bill, baby, nor is it in the cracks of your couch.

Motherless on Mother’s Day

I’m a daughter without a mother, and anyone who’s read me awhile knows that it’s not only what you would read on the back of my collectible Bloggers-of-Now baseball card, but it’s a fact that absolutely defines me to my core.

My mother dying destroyed me – utterly, brutally, without a doubt, destroyed me. Every now and then, someone comes along and gushes, “Gee, Steff, how’d you get so darn smart?”

I couldn’t tell ya, honestly, other than those three or so years after my mother’s death left me swimming in alcohol and as fucked up as any person’s ever been. I was a wise, smart girl before she died, and I’ve come back to who I was, but when I was shaken off-course, I’ll tell you, I fell hard and I fell far.

Climbing out of oblivion can take a hella long time, kiddies. There just ain’t no compass for that climb. I did much of my ascent over the course of five years. It’s been nearly seven since my mother left for the great gig in the sky, but over those years I’ve come to decide that the woman I am now was worth the price I paid through my mother’s horrid cancer death. It’s unfortunate, this not-having-my-cake-and-eating-it-too thing, but if her dying is the only way I’d have learned to be this person, well, so be it. Like I have a fucking choice?

I’m not writing about sex today, because I don’t care about sex today. Today’s a mental health day. My loverman’s off to see his granny, since his mother’s dead as well, and maybe we’ll hook up tonight for a couple hours, and maybe we won’t; it depends on how much the alien mind probe (aka 20 hours OT) has messed with him. My day’s plans include being a rebel and barbecuing burgers for breakfast with my brother before we head out on a grueling mountain bike ride around the city and through Vancouver’s legendary UBC Endowment Lands, home to some 70+ kilometres of primo cycling and hiking trail within city limits. And THAT is why I live in the coolest fucking city in the world.

Y’know, probably the most important lesson I’ve ever learned is that of knowing when to say “fuck you” to the world, when to unplug and go your own way. I don’t take calls from relatives on Mother’s Day, because as much as I know they’re thinking of me, they’ll never understand what I lost, nor what haunts me still. And that’s loss, pure and simple. It’s different, depending who the person was to you, and I think probably few deaths equal the impact of our mothers’. There comes a point when you just have to accept that other people care, but they just don’t know jack about what’s going on for you. Turn off the phones, ignore the emails, and do your own damned thang, baby.

We want to think we move past lost, but we don’t. We learn to assimilate it into who we are. It becomes ever-present in the back of our mindscape, like a shadow, or something we always know and need but seldom refer to, like a social insurance number.

Some days it hurts to realize who it is we’ve become in the face of such things, but some days it’s worth celebrating. I think burgers off the barbecue for breakfast with my big brother before a bitchin’ bike ride around this far is exactly what I’ve needed.

For those who can’t fathom the loss of their mothers, or for those who understand it all too well, it’s probably a good time to point out that one of the best things I’ve ever written, IMHO, is what I wrote about my mother last August on the sixth anniversary of her death. It’s on my other blog, and it’ll probably help you get to know me a little better, too.

Meanwhile, I’ll be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled smut. Sometime Monday will be bondage, baby. Until then, restrain yourself. ;)

Happy Motherless Day, folks. Gimme my burgah! (Oh, right… I’m the grillmaster.)