1. Full Throttle Laundry
At first glance, this may sound like the opposite of a date. At second glance, this still may sound like the opposite of a date. But just like that dress (I saw green and purple), it’s all a matter of perspective.
Get everything you need to wash — clothes, towels, sheets, spare sheets that you meant to wash and then never did — fire up a podcast you’ve been meaning to listen to, whip out a bottle of wine, and get to work. A Friday night spent going full throttle laundry is one of extreme accomplishment, and the level of fulfillment will almost always trump that of a Tinder rendezvous.
2. Upscale Grocery Store
If you live in a big city, you might notice that there are a select cadre of grocery stores that require you to spend the equivalent of a small bouncy castle. Walking by, their fresh produce and home-cooked wafts smell like heaven. The price points however, smell like the soggy leather of an empty wallet.
That said, if you haven’t taken yourself out on a date in awhile, the “nicer” grocery store could be a great option. They’re oftentimes less expensive than a nicer restaurant, and you’re in control. Set a budget, storm on in there, and do your thing.
3. Friend’s Show That He Overpromotes On Facebook
If you’re a 20-something who lives in a mildly (or spicily) urban area, there’s a good chance you have friends who invite you to things that you should go to, but don’t always want to.
A great (and I mean, great) move is to drop into one of these music, comedy, or improv shows solo. Your friend will think you’re an incredible human being for showing up by yourself, you’ll accrue considerable “friend leverage” for the near future, and the independent nature of your trek means you could come and go as you please. Plus, there’s always the chance that the show might actually be a ton of fun.
4. Unexplored Park
You know that park on the other side of the city? If you’re like me, you’ve probably been waiting for someone to invite you to a concert there, or hold off until some magical day in the future that’s solely dedicated to exploring areas that you haven’t fully explored.
Bring a book, a bike, a notepad, and travel out to this exciting new frontier. Note that this place should be at least 20 minutes away, so that the excursion constitutes as a full “experience.” (If you’re hitting up the park 5 minutes away, your bladder will probably convince you that it’d be much better to do the deed at home.)
5. Ridiculously Long Joyride
I lived in Los Angeles one summer — since I’m from the other side of the country I didn’t know a ton of people, and therefore spent most of my time there socializing with only a handful of fooligans. One Friday night — a night I was particularly itching to do something — everyone I knew was busy. As Simple Plan was blasting in the background, I decided that this might be a perfect night to drive down to San Diego, and then back up to LA.
This was a ridiculous idea, but I (a. really wanted to do something, and (b. I had never been to San Diego, and probably wasn’t gonna get there during my time in California. I ended up wimping out and not going (I convinced myself that there’d be too much traffic, and that I’d hate myself for deciding to do something so incredibly dumb), but I highly regret not following through.
6. Historic Walking Tour
Again, if you live in a lukewarm urban area, there’s probably a 29 year-old man win a fanny pack who spouts inane knowledge about your city in the form of a free (or incredibly cost-effective) tour. Having done quite a few of these, I’m fully confident in saying they’re pretty much always worth it. A great solo activity, with an impeccable fringe benefit of up-close people watching.
7. Consult And/Or Create Bucket List
From very minor research, I’ve found most younger people’s bucket lists to be more of an abstract idea than one that’s actually explored in a serious or genuine manner. This definitely makes sense (bucket lists are inevitably tied to some sort of lingering and/or impending death), but it’s never too early to get started on things you probably won’t do anyway.
If you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, for instance, write it down — right next to that dish you always wanted to cook, or that weird dance on YouTube you’ve been meaning to learn. Next time you’ve got a chunk of time and don’t know what to do, delve into that already-constructed list of things you’ve always claimed you’ve never had time for, and get to work. Now’s the time.
8. Dip Into The Classics
I was in a bookstore last week. The bookstore had a table exclusively devoted to classic books — your Catcher In The Rye’s, your Pride & Prejudice’s — basically every major work of literature that you were supposed to have read in high school, but probably ended up sparknoting.
As someone who now regrets not reading half of the books I was supposed to, I’ve been trying to move slowly through these classic books — like an action star with unfinished business to take care of, except not like that at all.
9. Food Spot From Your Favorite Food Show
If you’re a fan of one of those shows where a chef/TV personality goes a hole in the wall restaurant and then spends 12 minutes employing various hyperbole to explain how good the food is, then you’ll know there’s few things better than experiencing that magic yourself.
If there’s a place you haven’t tried that’s relatively close by, ask yourself out on a date there. This honestly is oftentimes more rewarding as a solo excursion — if you bring someone to a slightly weird place that you’ve been hyping up, you might end up spending the whole time justifying why the place is so great…it’s that same sort of stress that comes with hyping up a TV show you love, and then watching it with your roommate who clearly isn’t impressed.
10. Weird Item Shopping
Have you been meaning to get a printer for months? Invite yourself out to the local intimacy hotspot known as Staples. Once that’s done, celebrate the accomplishment with some drive through fast-food. Drive home, and then get irrationally mad when the printer setup is way more complicated than it should be.