Sexy, Smart and Single? Embrace It with Barbara’s McDowell’s Guide

I’ve been anxious all week to host my friend, Barbara McDowell, here today!  At her blog, Life Can’t Drive 55, Barbara posts about topics including hiding out from class reunions, an ongoing addiction with American Idol, and on a variety of joys in life.  Please make sure you stop over to check out Barbara’s blog.  She promises to welcome you in and teach you some line dances.

Guest Post by Barbara McDowell:  A Single Gal’s Guide to the Galaxy
I was chatting with a co-worker on Monday about the ways of karma and how it tracks back in life.  She leaned in and confessed her belief that she is not yet married with kids due to how she’s treated some past boyfriends.  With enough extra years to put me a generation above her, I pointed out that I also wasn’t married and had a few guys I’d potentially scarred as well.  What?  I was in my low twenties.  Let’s call that the learning phase.


However, while there may be a *cough* hint from the karma train remaining, I’d say my being single is because it is where I’m supposed to be right now.  Granted if Lenny Kravitz, Prince, or Johnny Depp were to call tomorrow, my status will definitely yeah babymight change, but I’m not running around feeling lost in the world because I don’t have a mate.

Yellow Springs, OH, tree decoration

Yellow Springs, Ohio


As a single gal, I’ve grown to appreciate that the world is an open playground of opportunity, freedom, and adventure.  My interpersonal circle is filled with core family, three “besties” that I’ve known for two to three decades, and an extended group of other friends that I’ve met along the way.  At holiday time, the singles don’t face a power struggle on which in-laws win us for the day.  Since I don’t have any dependents, I can fill the tank, fire up some tunes, and drive out for a weekend getaway if the mood hits.  Niagara Falls, Put in Bay, and Yellow Springs (Ohio) are a few of my one tank trip faves.  And when craving some downtime, solitude is mine as soon as I shut the garage door behind me.

Do you want to further embrace your freedom?  Here are some links to guide you on the way.

Inspirations and Self-Care

Did you know there is a National Unmarried and Single Americans Week?  I giggled when I found this, especially when learning the whole concept started 20 years ago in my home state of Ohio.  This year, it falls September 16-22.  I’m not sure what they do to party, but I will be checking back for more.

If you own your home, you will definitely want to check out Smart Tips for Single Women Homeowners via

I’ll let you in a little secret.  It is okay to be happy about where you are in life with no apologies.  In I’m Single and Happy…Why Does That Make Them So Mad, Eleanore Wells shares her joys of the single life and how she’s handled those who take shots at it.  With Quit Hatin’ on Single People, Tracy Scott addresses the media’s attack on singles (this one done via a Huffington Post article).

Back in my younger, workaholic days, I’ll admit to many late evening dinners at home consisting of the Belgian waffles staple.  In Healthy Eating for One, Art Kress provides some fantastic tips for making more nutritionally sound choices while dining solo.Believe - Just follow your heart and you'll never get lost

Getting Out and About

When a movie comes out that I feel I must see versus wait until DVD, I have no problem going alone.  I know that others don’t feel that comfortable and found some tips to overcome the “all eyes on me” fear.  In I Went to the Movies Alone, Joanna Cattanach shares how she made it through her first time.  Grab your popcorn and Twizzlers and join in the fun.

Another spot where some women feel self-conscious is dining out alone.  Gretchen Kelly shares her experiences and advice with Table for One: “Critical” Advice for Dining Out Alone.


Are there some destinations you’ve been hankering to see, but wondered how to go about it alone?  Whoa is there a market for you!  Carve out a little time for some quick Google searches and up will pop multiple listings for travel companies and less formal groups catering to solo women travelers of all ages, budgets, and backgrounds.

Janice Waugh’s Top Five Reasons for Women to Travel Solo and Sasha Cagen’s Five Reasons to Travel Alone will kick start anyone wondering if they can venture out solo.

For anyone seeking community while dining, Gray Cargill’s Introducing: Invite for a Bite provides details on a new program looking to connect solo travelers around the world.

If the thought of going it alone scares you, how about taking the baby steps of a group option?  Trips that are tagged “Girlfriend Getaways” have become their own popular niche and you can invite both your single and married friends to join in.  Girlfriend Getaways: Wine Tasting in Long Island, from Melanie Nayer, is a great destination example.  Or you can join in with a tour group and make new friends, as Gray shares again in Solo Travel or Tour Travel? Which Adventure is Right For You?Single woman alone on the beach by Gareth Williams


David Smith’s Why Women Stay Single post made me laugh AND want to run away from my screen at the same time.  Brace yourself and make sure you are not eating or drinking.  Bat wings, Elvis costumes, and lots of spandex are involved.  You have been warned.

But wait, there’s more!  In The Reason Some Girls Stay Single, Melody Maker shares audio of a guy wound a little bit too tight.  Whether this is a real “wanna be” dater or a hoax, I’m sure many of us can relate from some of the creepy guys we’ve come across.  Run. Run fast.

Thanks again for having me, Marcia!  I hope everyone enjoys the post.

Barbara McDowell, author of Life Can't Drive 55By day, Barbara McDowell works in training and development, managing the educational needs and course development for the staff of a regional accounting firm. In the depths of the night, she is a crafter of stories birthed with dark, human themes. Suspense at each corner turned. Terror sometimes waiting at the end. Initially a short story writer, Barbara is in process on her first novel that focuses on the twists of redemption and forgiveness. A lover of coffee, cats, crime dramas, crochet, conspiracy theories and chocolate, Barbara can be found blogging at or tweeting at @BMcDowellOH.

I’m thrilled to have you here, my sexy, smart and single friend!

What do you like to do on your own? If you’re single, what tips can you share to embrace the freedom of single life?

You know we love hearing from you…tell us what you think!


40 thoughts on “Sexy, Smart and Single? Embrace It with Barbara’s McDowell’s Guide

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  4. Thank you so much! I work in a office full of women who are either married or having babies. Even my younger brother is married. Sometimes I feel left out and a little sad.

    Thank you for reminding me of the benefits of being single! 🙂

    Ironically, National Single/Unmarried week falls the week of my brother & his wife’s anniversary. Seems we’ll BOTH have something to celebrate this year!

    • Absolutely, Karen! Celebrate away. There is a woman I work with where they throw her a shower for every baby. And I’m in a new round now of bridal showers and wedding invites. Now I can go with a happy spirit of joy for them and contentment for me. Thanks for sharing your comment!

  5. I love this, Barbara! Where was all this advice when I was single and thought something was wrong with me (because everyone told me there was). I absolutely adore being married, but have no problem traveling, dining, or even going to the movie alone. It’s ‘me’ time. I didn’t know you lived so close to Niagara Falls. That’s so cool.

    • I think we’ve all gone through that for a moment, Tameri, where we think we are “doing it wrong.” Outside voices will do that. I’m glad that you still embrace moments of “me time.” As for Niagara Falls, I’m about 3 or so hours away from the border to cross into the Canadian side of the Falls. Such a beautiful and peaceful place.

  6. Barbara, it was wonderful have you over to talk with my readers! Your post resonated with many and brought back memories of others’ single years, including mine. I hope you’ll come back to guest again!

  7. This is so relevant to my girls. And I did a post on dating today last Monday. It’s a nightmare. My girls tell me they’d rather be happy alone than unhappy with ‘the one.’

    Great post, Barbara. You’ve got your head screwed on. When you ‘click’ with a person along with a wee bit of ‘chemistry’ then you’ve got a good chance. All I’ll say is that my DH is so laid back he’s horizontal. His love is unconditional and needs me to be me. As long as what I’m doing makes me happy, he’s happy. That’s it.

    • Wow, CC, your husband sounds like mine! I wish every woman who wants a man in her life could have one like ours. If the right guy didn’t come along, I would have been perfectly happy to stay single!

    • That’s it, CC. Having a healthy relationship is the key. For me, I’ve seen enough growing up and via experience to know that being unhappy isn’t where I’m meant to be in my life. It is a growth and strength thing for each person. Though, I think I might build a cloning machine for “laid back” men. Heh, heh.

  8. Great post, Barbara. I learned a few new things about single life. A single friend of mine recently bought land and has been slowly clearing it and building her dream home (a rustic cabin). She is so happy and fulfilled. Like you, if someone great comes along then squee! But, obviously, like you, she’s not holding back from chasing her dreams before he arrives. Fabulous!

  9. Barbara, you are totally amazing and so much fun! I love the way you embrace your single life. I definitely understand the upside of not being married because, in the past, I have been single for a very long time. When we tied that knot, I was ready to start a family. But prior to meeting my husband I travelled a lot, lived in three different countries, partied with my single friends and was only worried about my own life.

    Now, with a husband and kids I am a different person – not better or worse, happier or less happy. Just kind of altered. It is like stepping into a realm of a different season: I had my spring while single, and now I have my summer. Both seasons come with wonders of their own

  10. Fabulous post! My best friend has never been married and she’s enjoying herself tremendously. She loves to travel, belongs to a ski club, has a fulfilling job and buys all the expensive purses she wants. LOL By the way, she made the trip from Toronto to Put In Bay last summer with some friends and had a blast. I’m sending her the link to this post, she’ll get a kick out of it.

  11. Fabulous post, Barbara! I am single and loving it. I don’t have to worry about drama or jealousy, and if I want to lock myself away for a weekend and write, I can do just that. I am now happy and content to be single, but when I was in college, it was definitely looked down upon, in a way. My school had this thing called “Ring by Spring” where the goal was to get a husband or fiance by senior year. I always knew I’d be single, but back then, I felt it was something that made me damaged, that there was something wrong with me. Now, I look at it as a blessing because this is the path I’m meant to take, and it’s not a bad one. 🙂

      • Hehe, well I went to a private Christian college–big on “family” values or becoming missionaries. Sometimes both. I knew several girls who planned their weddings during their last semester before graduation. Like there’s not enough pressure being a senior. *eye roll*

    • Oh, Angela! The “Ring by Spring” scenario is giving me hives. I knew some people like that in undergrad. The goal was to make a “merger” by the graduation and some had added pressure from their parents who were alumni that met and merged there. Kudos to you for knowing your path and embracing it! 🙂

  12. Great post! In some ways I have the best of both worlds because my husband works out of town three days a week. For three days I get to turn off the TV, eat cereal for dinner, and get caught up on my writing. By the fourth day, I’m ready for him to come home.

  13. I had a chance to travel a bit on my own while I was single (I wasn’t single long) and really miss it. Not that I am unhappy attached, but there is a certain freedom and tranquility (and fun!) to traveling on your own.

    Same can be said for lazing about on a Sunday, or doing something spontaneous.

    Having a hubs and a kid bring it’s own kind of joy, but I in NO way feel like my single friends are missing out. It’s all in embracing where you are in life and taking advantage of what it brings you!

    (Thanks for having Barbara guest! Love her.)

    • Glad you stopped by, Amber! You’re right–embrace every stage of life. You’ll have your time again in a few years–meantime, eek out what time you can to do for yourself.

      • Ah, tranquility. You are right, Amber. I’m sure there is a different kind of peace and joy that comes from marriage and motherhood. In any role we have, carving out time for ourselves is key.

  14. Great post! I like to apply similar philosophies to married life, as aspects of “single-hood” (i.e., individuality) is worth embracing no matter what. I’m inspired, ladies. Thanks a bunch!

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  16. Oh yeah – there are a lot of great advantages to being single. Don’t think we married ladies don’t fantasize about it from time to time! Thanks for the fabulous info here, Barb and Marcia!

  17. Barbara expresses the sentiments I’ve had lately–I met a woman who was traveling for about 10 days in the southern part of the states. It caused me think about my view of traveling as a single woman. I don’t think to travel alone because I have this notion that I need a partner to enjoy things, which is plain BS!
    Thank you for the various links, I’ve discovered Eleanore Wells recently and will take a look at others.

    • I’ve never, since my mid-20s, had the desire to go off by myself (other than shopping), but I spent a lot of years doing things a lone in my 1st marriage. I’m thrilled to be married now to my best friend and love his company. Thank goodness, he’s happy to go wherever and whenever i want.
      In my 1st marriage, I went out to eat alone, to movies alone, and visited friends alone. I learned to like it because I wasn’t about to sit at home while He was running his business!
      So good for you, get out there and travel, go to parties and whatever else you enjoy–with or without a partner!

    • Absolutely! If I meet a life partner, squee. If I don’t, squee. We are enough as women ourselves to be okay enjoying life alone. Movies, museums, new restaurant openings. When you get out and about, look around and see all of the other solo people enjoying with you. 🙂

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