Yorkshire blogger Claire Kenny has managed to reframe her thinking about time alone – and her #SoloSaturday Instagram lives aim to help others do the same...
By Claire Kenny
I’ve found the pool of people who are free to do things socially has shrunk as I’ve become single and reached midlife. In my early 40s, I spent many a Saturday evening on
excruciating dates facilitated by Match and Tinder, but after a few years I gave that up. It was the right thing to do but it often meant staying in because the alternative was being the only single person in a sea of couples at dinner, or bar crawls and clubs. Neither appealed.
After a period of sitting at home feeling sad and resentful, I gradually identified that what was missing in my life was not necessarily ‘relationship-shaped’ and got fed up of feeling sorry for myself. I decided to do everything I could to embrace my single status and build a life I loved, regardless of whether or not I had a partner. I found that as my life started to include more of the things I enjoyed doing, I stopped worrying about what I did on Saturday nights anymore. In fact, I now found myself looking forward to my ‘solo Saturdays’. Although for many people it’s the big night out, for me it’s become my precious time to relax and recharge. I cook something lovely, watch what I want on the tv and enjoy my home.
As a blogger, I’ve been thinking about how I could share my journey, and while happily cooking myself a solo Saturday supper recently, I had a lightbulb moment: I’d host a SoloSaturday Instagram live!
The premise for this is simple; to provide a friendly, welcoming space for anyone who wants to enjoy a bit of a social connection and a giggle on a Saturday night. And I absolutely love it.
A wonderfully diverse range of people join me, including those who read my blogs and want to connect with like-minded people. The conversation can be extremely random as it’s largely driven by what my guests put in the chat, but it’s always a lovely mixture of what’s topical, and a good laugh.
I’ve received many messages since I started writing about aloneness, and one of the most heart-warming came straight after the first #SoloSaturday had finished. It was from a woman who’d booked a wreath-making class in the run-up to the festive season. Her friend was no longer able to make it and she was going to cancel, even though she’d loved attending the previous year. But connecting with other like-minded people had given her the strength to go alone.
I’m also hosting a #SoloSunday Christmas Day check-in at noon. The festive season can be really tough when things in our own lives don’t match up to what social media would have us believe is normal for everyone else. I think it’s really important that people who are isolated have the opportunity to connect with others and break up their day, even if it’s virtual.
That’s exactly what #SoloSaturday is for.
Claire can be found on Facebook and Instagram as My40pluslife.me and you can join her SoloSaturday Instagram live between 7 and 8 pm every Saturday and at noon on Christmas Day.