Single in the City

by Karen Amster-Young

This is a guest post by Jami Kelly.  She is happily single, lives in New York City and is continuously getting “unstuck” doing amazing, interesting things.  If  some of her great adventures motivate even one person to do something new or different — even something small —  the52weeks is doing what it was intended to do. Jami is a marketing professional and is currently writing her first novel.

It seemed to me that the desire to get married – which, I regret to say, I believe is basic and primal in women – is followed almost immediately by an equally basic and primal urge – which is to be single again” – Nora Ephron

Let’s face it:  we all know that being single is different than being married.  Of course, each has its own unique set of “stuff” – both good, tough, challenging, rewarding. But generally, when you’re single, you have more opportunities to try something new so getting “unstuck” is not as challenging as it may be for my married friends who often have a few kids at home.  At least for me it isn’t. But even you single folk may need a little nudge now and then, so here’s my “top ten” list for getting yourself unstuck – based on my experiences over the past 52 weeks.

#10 – Strike a Pose. I have avoided Level 2 yoga classes like New Yorkers avoid movie theaters for fear of bed bugs. Yoga is supposed to be relaxing, not work! But I  “enjoy” my gym workouts a bit too much and just haven’t gotten to Yoga at all. Recently, I was rained out of my normal Thursday morning run up the FDR, so I decided to hike around the corner to Yoga Works and go for it.  I expected to feel physically weak and out of place. I did;  but I also realized a few things:  I could “bind.” I could lift my toes up in “crow pose” for a split second – hey, it counts. And I don’t have to climb the wall in hand stand if I don’t want to. And I don’t want to. At least not yet. So now that I’ve survived Level 2, I can comfortably return to Level 1 where I can relax. After all, it is yoga.

#9Turn Up the Volume. I have a stereo system from the last millennium with one working speaker (and one that works when it is “in the mood”) and enough broken, plastic CD cases to fill a bookshelf. My music needs a makeover. I had no speaker hook up for my iPod at home, so I splurged on a $60 docking station.  Now, all my favorite songs sound new – I can hear words and notes I’d never noticed. So how does this count as getting unstuck? Well, I may have Karen’s recent post about Carnegie Hall to thank for that.  I’m going to load up my iPod with every genre of music I can think of and listen, with my new “sound system,” as the songs were intended to be heard. Jazz, classical, country (okay, Lady Antebellum might not really be country, but I’ll keep working on it). Any suggestions?

#8 – Little House on the Hudson. Last summer I rented a cabin in the woods in beautiful Dutchess County, New York.  I rented a car, which is colossal, since living in Manhattan, I rarely drive. I grilled on an outdoor barbecue, which is also colossal for the same reason. I sipped local wine while sitting in a rocking chair on my porch watching the sun dip behind the tall pines.  I entertained friends from the City. But mostly, I just hung out with myself and my thoughts. People asked, was I was afraid of being out in the woods alone? Not really, if you take the bears out of the equation. It was the weekend of Chelsea Clinton’s wedding in nearby Rhinebeck and yes, I did consider crashing. But Owen Wilson was nowhere to be found.

#7 – Strangers on a Eurail. I traveled and hiked the Swiss, Italian and French Alps with a tall, handsome, almost-stranger. We’d met once in Manhattan at a networking party for media professionals. I was the media professional. He was the crasher (red flag, anyone?). When he asked me to join him for an “adventure” (he was living in Geneva and I was traveling to the area anyway) I consulted a few friends, then ignored their advice and met him there anyway. I will leave the rest to your imagination given the limited space here, except to say he spoke four languages, looked like Harrison Ford, and built me a campfire on the side of a mountain. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Swoon.

#6 – Haitian by Association. When I heard Sean Penn speak about how the media attention had died down only months after the Haiti earthquake while the need was only growing stronger, I felt moved to do something. And then I woke up the next morning, went to my job and forgot about it. Until a friend of mine from said job quit to start Community2Community, (C2C) a non-profit whose mission is to establish self-sufficiency in Haiti. The next thing I knew, I was among a crowd of Haitians at a jam-packed fundraiser in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. When my friend handed me the microphone to share my experience as a volunteer, I spoke about Sean Penn. I spoke about the people of Haiti. I spoke about being Jewish,  and I spoke about how we can’t stand aside while others suffer. And it was there and then I was proclaimed “Haitian by Association.” It’s an association of which I feel proud to be a part.

#5 – Match Schmatch. I signed off of Now that may seem like the opposite of getting unstuck – you sign on to Match to get out there and take a risk, not off of it. But after a zillion go-nowhere dates, I’m taking an even bigger leap of faith – actually steadily dating one of my “Daily 5” (i.e.- the five prospects Match sends to your inbox each day).  I look forward to potentially feeling the good kind of “stuck” – with M – assuming he’ll have me as his glue. (I didn’t just ask someone to go steady in a blog post, did I? No pressure, honey!).

#4 – Guatemala or Bust. Costa Rica wasn’t enough. I had to give my mother an even bigger heart attack by traveling 14 hours by plane, van, and then boat to a remote little town on the edge of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. I took writing classes while looking out at a spectacular view of three volcanoes. I contributed to the very local economy by buying hand-woven tote bags and scarves with personalized tags from “Isabel,” the woman who labored over her spinning wheel to weave them. I watched local artists capture the scenery in their paintings. I drank margaritas (not frozen!) made with brands of tequila I’d never heard of. And I learned that scorpions in that part of the world are not poisonous when a friend of mine was bitten and lived to tell about it. (Sorry Mom, but there’s a world out there!)

#3 – Listen to Sally Struthers. I was so touched by the colorful native dresses and dark soulful eyes of the children in Guatemala that I signed up to sponsor one with Children International. Ana Cecilia stole my heart. Her picture hangs on my refrigerator, with a note saying how much she enjoyed the coloring books and markers I sent her. There is a dearth of shoes for children in Guatemala, but thanks to Children International, Ana now has a pair of black school shoes.

#2 – A Novel Idea. My life may sound interesting, and maybe I enjoy telling stories about my escapades. I know, I should write a book. So I am. I’m halfway through a draft of my first novel about the choices women make in life and love. Stay tuned!

And the 10th way I’ve gotten unstuck during the past 52 weeks:

#1 – Start blogging. Welcome to my first post! Thanks for reading. If you know a single person who needs a nudge, please pass it on. Gee, this is really quite a list. It’s exhausting being me. I should take a break and cozy up on the couch for a while. Nah! There’s always the next 52 Weeks!


commentLeave a Comment (20)  

categoryPosted: 04/15/11 10:05 AM

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Diana April 16, 2011 at 10:47 pm

This is so funny and entertaining and inspiring. I love it!


Judith L. Jones April 17, 2011 at 7:56 am

I’m 70, been married almost 46 years, and loved reading about single life in NYC. I can dream can’t I??


Emily Kelting April 17, 2011 at 8:05 am

I loved your first blog, and can relate to so much of it (having been along on the Guatemalan adventure!) I do feel that being single has allowed a measure of freedom to explore who I really am, which I didn’t have while married and raising children. Not that I regret those years, because I wouldn’t trade motherhood for anything, or falling in love, either. But it is by being single that the possibilities for self-exploration really arise. And you realize that “love” doesn’t have to be so narrowly defined to one person. There IS a big world out there! Congrats on thought-provoking and amusing first blog. I’m looking forward to reading many more!


Iris L April 17, 2011 at 8:34 am

Thanks for giving me a little nudge to get started on my own list of 52. There are so many opportunities to get “unstuck” whether far reaching like volunteering or close to home like upgrading your playlist. I can’t wait to get started!


Sheri Masia April 17, 2011 at 10:11 am

I loved reading this blog post. Jami truly has a gift as a writer!! I am so happy that she is able to share her adventures because it was very inspirational. It made me realize that being alone can be a learning experience about yourself and the world around you. Jami has made so much of her life and I admire her courage and faith she has in herself. I am going to follow her advice and become “unstuck”. Keep on truckin’ Jami!


leigh haber April 17, 2011 at 10:30 am

I love this post! I laughed out loud in numerous spots, but loudest of all about ignoring friends’ advice and going off with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Swoon. This post is full of ideas, and really fun.


Brenda Janowitz April 17, 2011 at 11:02 am

Great blog post, Jami! Can’t wait to read more.


Hannah April 17, 2011 at 11:31 am

I loved your blog about being single. From hearing about you going from yoga to updating your music to renting a house; I was right there with you. Okay, I want to hear more about the man you traveled with to the Swiss, Italian and French Alps. I can relate to you being a Jew who can’t stand to watch others suffer. I had a big grin on my face listening to you tell of your adventures in Guatemala; where I’m grateful we met. I can’t wait to read your book!


bernadette April 17, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Powerful PRO-ACTIVE ways to get out of your own stew — or never find yourself there to begin with. You’ve got a creative life Jami! Your eyes are WIDE open for the riches of LIFE. It’s an inspiration.


michael Gibson April 18, 2011 at 10:00 am

J, You are too funny and an excellent writer! Question, going steady, getting stuck, is that like puppy love? Can’t teach an old dog new tricks! M 🙂


Jami Kelly April 19, 2011 at 11:43 am

Wow, thanks everyone so much for the support and great insights on your own lives. I couldn’t have done it without ALL of you, and am so grateful for your eyes and ears and hearts. XOXOXO


Marc April 19, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Really makes me wish I was a single girl in New York!


barbara pagano April 19, 2011 at 8:35 pm

I loved that many of your remedies for getting “unstuck” involved taking a break from the job (mini-sabbaticals is our term!) My burning question: Did you totally disconnect from the workplace on some of these?
Thanks for a great post.


Barbara McGillicuddy Bolton April 21, 2011 at 11:23 am

Hi Jami, I think I know the beginning of that novel; so keep writing; I’m dying to know how it all turns out! And keep blogging as well; you have a keen wit and a warm voice–great combo. Barbara Bolton


Lea Nesbit April 21, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Jami –



Jami Kelly April 23, 2011 at 9:27 am

That’s a great question Barbara. You are asking it of someone who travels 95% of the time with a laptop, to check in with work. I see it as a blessing as staying connected only enables me to travel more. But you don’t need to be a psychiatrist to analyze this one – I woke up the morning of the trip to Guatemala only to realize I had left my work laptop in the office. I never do things like that! There was nothing I could do about it other than grab my home laptop (I went there to write after all!), get myself to the airport, and prepare for an adventure. No laptop in the Alps though, I was busy with other things. 🙂


Vicky (Sheri's Mom) April 24, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Jami, I so enjoy your writing, take on single life, and spirit. You’re such a delight and gift to our world!
With much love


Marie May 4, 2011 at 9:09 am

Congrats Jami! Just read the blog and bookmarked it. Love the flow…and of course loved #6 Haitian by association! So now I’m really inspired to get my blog-act together. The blog site is beautiful, funny, smart and insightful….just like you!
Unstuck, Single and lovin’ it with you sistagirl!
xoxo 🙂


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