Author Topic: Increasing my "Life Flow"  (Read 4939 times)

Single in the Suburbs

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Increasing my "Life Flow"
« on: January 28, 2015, 03:23:31 PM »
I've recently stumbled across MMM and have gobbled up post after post.  I'm working on incorporating some of MMM's principles to increase my cash flow (5 days Starbucks Sober!), but was looking for some tips/suggestions/examples about increasing my "life flow."

I currently live and work in the Suburbs.  As my name suggests, I'm also single (very single).  The majority my friends live in the city about an hour+ drive away.  Driving out there more than once a month and spending money to keep up with my big-city friends really starts to add up.  I do have some friends local, but they all have their own families (very young children) and are very busy.  I'm lucky to see these friends once every three months or so. 

I find my evenings and weekends are spent mainly watching TV, lazing about at a local coffee shop, or driving 25 minutes to the local multiplex to catch a movie and spend $18 (movie and frozen yogurt).  Clearly none of these activities are very Mustacian.

There's very little within walking distance from me - no nice parks, no trials, no art galleries, no museums, no farmers markets etc. I planning on dusting off the bike soon, but I'm a bit of a fairweather cyclist (will be working on that - perhaps time to start looking for fenders on Craigslist).

Anyone else in my boat who have found interesting, cheap/free ways to enjoy themselves in their free time? I try to read as much as possible, do a bit of writing, but mainly just end up watching TV...

Cookie78

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1893
  • Location: Canada
Re: Increasing my "Life Flow"
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2015, 03:41:27 PM »
Lately I've been spending a lot of free time trying to start up an online business, learning about investing, decluttering, learning Spanish, and researching other side gigs. This is not a complete list, but my personal list is not the point.

There are a dozen other things I'd also like to do, none of which need to cost money.

The point:
All of the things I enjoy doing in my free time are just steps to work towards a broader goal that is important to me. I'd suggest finding something awesome you want to achieve and working towards that.

Seņora Savings

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 179
  • Age: 31
Re: Increasing my "Life Flow"
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2015, 04:31:35 PM »
I second what Cookie78 said.  What do you want to do?  Play a musical instrument?  Be outside?  Write a novel?  Start your own business?

Free time isn't something that you try to fill up as cheaply as possible.  It's your whole life.  It sounds like you like people, reading and writing.  Can you join a writing group or take a writing class?  You could also offer to babysit for friends.  Maybe give them one night of babysitting for a birthday.  Then you get to see them and spend some time with kids (if you like that).

Here's what I enjoy:

Social Dance (swing, tango, blues, contra, waltz, etc.).  That's cheaper than the movie theater and can turn into a money maker. 
Visual art (as expensive as you want it to be)
Music (get a penny whistle or harmonica and this can be about $50 for infinite play)

maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3696
Re: Increasing my "Life Flow"
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2015, 05:03:09 PM »
I'm in sort of the same boat as you. My career arc has required moving around a fair bit so most of the good friends I've made are scattered across several states, none of which are the one I currently live in. With the last move I realized I'd slid across some magical age threshold and now most of the new people I meet who are around my age are married and usually also have small children at home, so making new friends isn't coming nearly as easily anymore.

As a result, I am also struggling with spending way too much time plugged into netflix during my off hours. For myself, I don't have a complete solution yet but aiming to take 10k steps/day (approximately 80 minutes of walking if you're otherwise sedentary) and starting to bike to and from work has taken a significant bite out of my netflix time and spending all that time outside leaves me feeling much better about myself than spending the equivalent amount of time in front of a TV.

To some extent, most people's advice (my own included) isn't going to be particularly relevant to you know though because we all find different things enjoyable/fulfilling. Before you had your current job/lived in your current location, what did you use to do to enjoy your weekends? On your once a month visits to the city to spend time with your friends what do you guys spend time doing?

Weedy Acres

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 280
Re: Increasing my "Life Flow"
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2015, 05:07:51 PM »
Find a cause or two that motivate you and volunteer.  Every community, large and small, has non-profits looking for help.  I was single for a long time (married at 40) and moved every few years, realized I had more time than folks with families and found it rewarding to help some causes.

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3006
Re: Increasing my "Life Flow"
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2015, 07:50:06 PM »
Have you tried meetup.com? I live in the suburbs and we have a social group. We have book club, potlucks, game night, movies, plays etc and we rotate at different peoples houses. People who go tend to be single people in their 30s or 40s. If you want help with the single part I recommend the book "love factually"

Louisville

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 499
Re: Increasing my "Life Flow"
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2015, 06:33:50 AM »
Move.
Visit some places, find a few that fit your criteria, start applying to jobs there.

neo von retorch

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3371
  • Location: SE PA
    • Fi@retorch - personal finance tracking
Re: Increasing my "Life Flow"
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2015, 07:18:09 AM »
It's human nature to find fulfillment in purpose, and often, our jobs are not it. That, in itself, is a big part of why we (here) seek out financial independence! I find that I have more ideas that inspire me when I simply work towards self improvement. I pursue strength training and fitness, healthy eating and cooking skills and I read non-fiction books that interest me. In the middle of doing those things, I tend to have a clearer mind and an overflow of ideas, projects I suddenly want to start and changes I want to see around me.

Exercise. Visit the library. Try cooking something new. And then start thinking about how else you might enjoy spending your time.

Luck better Skill

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 283
  • Location: Virginia
Re: Increasing my "Life Flow"
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2015, 07:25:56 AM »
  Visit your friends who have young kids more.  You can play/entertain the children, help cook dinner, even chat folding the laundry.  Social interaction does not have to be about formal dinner parties, restaurants, or movies.  I'm a guy and my reading/playing with the kids or cooking dinner has never been turned away.  Mac and Cheese may not be a fancy meal but it does get eaten.

aj_yooper

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1091
  • Age: 8
  • Location: Chicagoland
Re: Increasing my "Life Flow"
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2015, 07:29:12 AM »
Identify your goals in a way that can be measured and that leads to activity steps.  Lots of good ideas that work for others already noted. 

Welcome to the Forum.

Noodle

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1195
Re: Increasing my "Life Flow"
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2015, 07:31:53 AM »
In terms of finding things to do, the suburbs might surprise you...I have lived in fairly small, family-oriented towns and found plenty of activities. However, a) you may find yourself doing them with married or older people  and b) you will likely have to look different places to find out about them. A lot of communities have Facebook pages, community blogs or small newspapers that might have listings. The library often has programs, or, depending on your personal outlook, houses of worship do a lot and newcomers are always welcome. And in an area where most people have families, single volunteers with flexibility are a real asset to organizations!

But maybe you should also think about whether you would be happier living in the city, and doing some job-hunting. I am in the process of buying my first home, which will be a condo fairly close to our city's downtown. A lot of people would consider it ridiculous to buy a small space for a lot of money when I could have a big space for less...but I hate driving and doing outdoors work and I like being close to various city activities.

NinetyFour

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6565
  • Location: Southwestern US
Re: Increasing my "Life Flow"
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2015, 08:47:34 AM »
What does "very single" mean?

Michread

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 212
Re: Increasing my "Life Flow"
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2015, 09:53:30 AM »
Book club
Lectures  - check colleges, libraries, churches, clubs
Singing groups
Hiking groups
Music school recitals (advanced students play later in the time slots)

Meet ups is a great resource

What city do you live near? 

2ndTimer

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4616
Re: Increasing my "Life Flow"
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2015, 10:09:29 AM »
Learn to cook well.  It's very mustachian and you can do it with one eye on eye on the TV if you want.  It can also lead you to joining local coops and slowfood groups.

onemorebike

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 319
Re: Increasing my "Life Flow"
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2015, 10:24:39 AM »
Definitely move. Having both lived in the city (walkable/bikeable to friends/things to do) and the suburbs (the exact opposite) I can say it isn't worth it ("it" being more space, quieter, or whatever landed you in the burbs in the first place). My family and I are in the process of moving from an inner ring suburb of Denver to Minneapolis and this exact situation weighed heavily in our decision making process. 

Single in the Suburbs

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Increasing my "Life Flow"
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2015, 11:47:37 AM »
Thanks for everyone who has responded.

I'm definitely looking for a new job that will move me closer to the city.  I've been living in the 'burbs since graduating uni 4 years ago and it's clearly no place to make a life (for me).

I've checked out meetup, but that hasn't been particularly useful (for instance - I checked tennis meetup and the closest one was, yup, in the city...)

Guess I'll just try to do more reading/writing/walks etc (solitary non-tv activities) until I get back to the city. fingers crossed!