Life Advice



Single File: Hermitude

Susan Dietz on

DEAR SUSAN: You're always writing about undependence -- the word you coined that means wholeness, I guess. Well, I've proved that I can do it all -- be a good parent, have a life, work, manage it all. But now what? I'm so darned lonely. -- From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: I never thought I'd say it, but you can be too independent. Being single and Supermom or Superdad -- doing absolutely everything yourself and not allowing others inside your world -- is actually a limitation of what you're busy creating. By closing off your life, you're making yourself a gated community -- limiting your family life to your children and yourself. Not a good idea -- and actually a distortion of what undependence was meant to be. Yes, of course, by all means strive to be self-reliant, independent, stand-alone -- but not by closing yourself off from the rest of the world. Sure, I'm for wholeness, but not when it keeps good people out. Please imagine your single life as a full circle -- and always, always keep it open to welcome good people inside.

DEAR SUSAN: Reading your book, I realized that I keep milk on the right and eggs on the left top shelf of the fridge and that I keep it that way no matter what. You write about becoming rigid and fussy. What can I do to avoid becoming an old maid? Help. -- From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Don't get too accustomed to doing things one way -- and one way only. Break up your at-home routine -- e.g., stay up later than usual one weekend night and watch a show you've never watched before; volunteer for a crisis hotline and learn about real problems; look through your home for signs of super-neatness; shake up arrangements you've had for years, and work them a new way (or replace them!). Think about getting a pet; there's nothing like the disorder a pet brings to shake up an overly neat life. Invite two friends for a weekend. Your kitchen may never be the same after they have a go at cooking two breakfasts. But this is good for you! Call it therapy, because you'll learn new ways of arranging your bedroom, your bathroom, maybe even your singleness! You may even consider taking on a roommate. And how about becoming a Big Sister to a disadvantaged young girl? Or become a mentor to a young student. Become an "aunt" or godmother to a friend's child. Volunteer once a week at the local animal shelter. Call the local United Way to see where the need is, and go there to be part of the solution to a problem.


The message? Do new things -- with new people -- to break the old staid habits. Guaranteed it'll be good for your outlook. Think outward -- over there, where there's newness. It's good for the soul.


Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at We've uncovered another treasure trove of "Single File" paperbacks -- in perfect condition, signed by Susan, ready to enjoy. Send $15 and your address: Susan Deitz, C/O Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.




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