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Suddenly Living Alone? Here’s How to Bring Your New Life Into Focus

By Paula Harer June 16, 2023 Lifestyle

Whether you are starting over because your marriage ended, or because you are a widow or an empty nester, it is a time to refocus your life. And with that new focus come new possibilities.

Attitude is everything. You will never find happiness if you don’t look at the future with excitement – the enthusiasm that comes with a new adventure.

When You’re Living Alone, Your Day Is Different

Remember when your children were younger and your day revolved around a school schedule? Whether working in the home or outside the home, there was an imaginary “changing of the guard” in the afternoon. As the children grew and became busier after school, that school day lengthened.

Dinner time became the magnet around which the family revolved. Then the children flew the nest, and dinner was still a pivot point for the day. Now, there are no children coming home and as you start over, you may find that those hours between day and evening feel a little empty.

When I became an empty nester, I realized that the pattern of my day had changed. It was as if I had been given a couple of free hours. I enjoyed the extra time. But, when I moved out of my family home into an apartment by myself, it was unsettling. No one was ever waiting for me to come home. And no one was coming in the door unless I walked out and came back in!

It became a time of day that I dreaded. No one would miss me if I didn’t come home. And, no one was coming home but me. What had been a time of day to which I looked forward, was now a painful reminder of my “table for one” lifestyle. My day is different now.

You Have More Time

I had to shake up my daily patterns. I have more time during the day than I used to have and I need to use that time as a gift. What in the past was throw-away time – that late afternoon time used for clean-up for the day – can now be used more fully.

I schedule workouts or more office time. I can really pack it in, and I love how productive I can be late in the day.

Weekends Have New Focus

Remember when weekends meant kids sports back to back? I couldn’t wait for that to end and now I wish I had it to do over again! Of course. When you live alone, Friday evening can be one of the most daunting times of the week if you don’t make any plans.

Planning is the key. Give yourself some goals so you feel good about what you accomplished come Monday morning. Here is how it looks for me: I plan two workouts, one each day. I plan one household project. Changing out the closet from spring to summer will be my next open day. I book one day of social time with friends who don’t mind me hanging around with them. Also, I decide on one “hobby” project. I am a knitter.

By Sunday night I am proud of myself for getting those items completed, but believe me, if I have something to do that keeps me from those tasks, I am thrilled.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you live alone? What advice would you give to the women in our community who may find themselves living alone for the first time? What do you do to bring a new way of life into focus? How do you spend your days if you live by yourself? Please join the conversation.

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Thanks for your thought provoking article, Paula.
I especially enjoyed the link about knitting. I’m thinking about joining a knitting group of about 15 ladies at my new local library (we recently moved to this area). Two reasons this is a bit daunting though….I’m an introvert and an extremely basic beginner knitter!
Your article has made me more inclined to do it though…. thanks again.


I have a sewing group of ladies from my elementary and high school days and we have a great time. Originally, we called ourselves the “stitch and bitch” group but these ladies actually create incredible beautiful stuff!! They knit, crochet, quilt, sew, etc. Absolutely inspiring!! We have gone through sickness, death, births, etc. within our families and these ladies are a godsend for me. Wish you find that in your knitting group!! There are about 10-12 of us.


Thank you for taking the time to post your encouraging reply Sara and your group sounds “just the ticket!”

Teresita Abad

I live alone; for me, it is the best chapter of my life. It is as if I am blessed to be given this chance to be in this state. The first thing to do is to embrace being alone. A change of mindset is essential to value being alone. Instead of feeling sad and empty look at it as freedom from all those things that you’ve been doing before. There are so many things that we can now do like pursuing the things that we’ve been longing to do when we do not have time. If you love painting, dancing, reading or simply meeting friends then do them. Now, is also the time for us to take care of ourselves because we have neglected ourselves in those years that we were building our families. Time to be truly happy and appreciate the time we are given to our “me” selves. Celebrate and appreciate yourself. Be very happy.


Beautifully put, Teresita


Brilliant and insightful article.


Yes, having a weekend “schedule” to follow helps chase away the loneliness blues. My husband passed away last year, and the weekends are the hardest. Keeping busy is the key.


Good morning! I, too, have found myself on a path which I never expected to travel alone! I am an empty nester and on a “singleness” journey after 40 years of marriage. It’s strange, different and a little unsettling as well:(. You are absolutely correct that our lives were surrounded by work and school routines. Last night, I was in a scene with my girlfriend and her two young adult daughters. “I need a ride tomorrow Mom”. Mom then responds by saying “And I will need to get an early start tomorrow morning too”. “I need a ride at 2:30pm” says her daughter. “Well, I have a hairdresser’s appointment around then.” And the “juggling” starts in Mom’s head how to accommodate all the needs of her family with her own begins…. How I remember those days of raising my four boys! The constant juggling and travelling and trying to find time for myself!!!! I am learning to find myself and in the midst of tears and sadness, I am so grateful for my support of family and girlfriends especially. Work is my happy place and I am so thankful for the team I work with. I am also grateful for a faith that endures and remains constant in my life. It’s my anchor and now approaching Father’s Day, it is hard not to think what could have been if only I tried harder!! Guilt, remorse, sadness and grieving happens. Anyways, got to stop rambling…Thank you for your timely article.


Sara. You say ‘what could have been if only I tried harder’. Please don’t beat yourself up about this. If you feel you should have had to try—then that’s not being your real self. To try to behave, in a certain way, is not being, & it wears a lady down; consciously working what at she says/does all the time. You did what you did at the time because it was what you thought you should do.
That’s ok.
Be at peace with that
And remember, it’s a 2-way street—what if he/they had tried harder too?
Bless x


Thank you Jen for your comments! I am such a soft hearted person. I prayed and prayed and hoped and hoped that he would change but it eventually was false hope that I was chasing. I run the scenario in my head about “what if I didn’t leave…”. But you are absolutely right that he could have tried harder too:)


I agree about not beating yourself up about a failed marriage. He had his chances too to make things work.My ex decided to go back (in our retirement) into our then leased business because he thought no one could run it like he did. Turned his back completely on me and the family. I made the decision to end it and have never regretted it since. We all make decisions that are best for us at that time. At weekends I plan stepping stones of things to do, be it volunteering, and my faith matters to me, so a
Church service and my favourite hobby of singing is always in the mix.
Good luck in moving forward.


A failed marriage is difficult because I assume part of the responsibility but perhaps that is not the right approach or mentality. He failed as well.


Thank you for your good wishes in moving forward. With God’s help,
I can!!

The Author

After a 30-year marriage crumbled, Paula Harer found herself single for the first time in 35 years. She felt like she had something to say about her experience, so started writing a blog called Starting Over at Sixty She addresses everything from loneliness and reinvention and offers ways to create a new outlook on life.

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