Top Ten Lessons Learned From Bachelorhood

UPDATE: 06/12/11 with some new insights from the last 4 months.

I’ve never lived alone. I’ve always had a family, roommate, or missionary companion.  As such I’ve also enjoyed certain perks and luxuries. For example:  silverware, dishes, and company on Sunday mornings.  During the years I was married my ex and I accumulated all the essentials. We had every kitchen gadget imaginable and our refrigerator and pantry were well stocked.   When we divorced I wanted to simplify my life and so I let her have everything.  I took my clothes, a towel, our spare bed, my keyboard, guitar, and all my electronics.  My thinking at the time was that I wanted everything I owned to fit in my truck.

For the first time in my thirty years on this planet I’m living on my own and can finally relate with some of the odd things my friend Peter has done for years.

The following are my top ten bachelor tips and tricks.

  1. Get all your dishes for free from prepackaged microwave foods.  Buy the food,  wash, and re-use.  UPDATE: I thought this was a great idea in February but this really only works temporarily.  I did it for a couple months but if you ever plan on having company over you really need to at least by some cheap dishes at Target.  I found Goodwill had a big selection but their prices were higher than the big box stores.
  2. The utensils in packaged food are too weak to be reused.  Spend two bucks and buy a set of eight heavy duty plastic spoons, forks, and knives.  Wash and reuse!  They even come in a variety of nice colors. UPDATE: Again, this is a temporary solution unless you never plan to eat ice cream.  Solid ice cream eventually decimates even the best plastic wear.  Metal is the way to go in for more than a couple months use.
  3. Don’t pay for cable TV Hulu.com, Netflix, and Amazon.com video can give you hundreds of hours of time wasting entertainment.  If you really need to watch live sports just invite yourself over to a friend’s house, you might even get a free meal out if it.
  4. Stoves and ovens are a waste of space. I’ve simplified my diet to the point where my refrigerator has only orange juice, mustard and salsa. Just get ketchup for free from In-N-Out.  My freezer contains a wide assortment of microwave foods from Trader Joe’s and Safeway.  TJ’s even has microwave rice which is amazing.  New packaging even lets you get nice flacky pie crust and crisp pizza crust direct form the microwave!   UPDATE: If you really must bake a toaster over is a great compromise.  The larger models that fit an entire pizza are a must!
  5. Spend a couple extra bucks on a good multi-vitamin. Chances are your diet isn’t very balanced.  Don’t risk getting sick, give your body the nutrients it needs.
  6. Get a hobby.  Learn to play an instrument or sport.  Get involved in a church or club.  Besides keeping you out of trouble you’ll make some friends and build a support network.
  7. Reach out. If you’ve been divorced or getting old like me there is probably a good chance that all your friends are married.  They are too busy with their lives to think about you so give them a call and maintain your friendship, maybe even invite yourself over or invite them to go out and do something.  I’ve only done this a few times and it’s worked 66% of the time.
  8. Don’t be afraid to do things alone.  When I was in college I had tons of single friends that I could always call on to go grab a burger or see a movie.  After spending years in marital isolation I don’t have that any more.  Why deprive yourself of decent food or the latest movie? Take a book and go hang out at Taco Bell, I say it’s okay… well maybe not Taco Bell, but you get the idea.
  9. Don’t work all the time.  Being single you may work long hours because your social life doesn’t start until after 7PM anyway.  Resist the urge and make up excuses to leave work at a reasonable time.
  10. Get a girlfriend who lives in the same state as you. I did the long distance relationship thing for almost a year and it was a lot of fun, but having a long distance relationship spanning multiple states is not something for the faint of heart.  UPDATE: If you are going to attempt it be prepared with a good internet connection for many hours of video chats and make sure you sign up for a frequent flier account. www.hipmunk.com is also a great way to plan your rendezvous.