Amidst all the craziness going on in the world right now, I am so thankful that I have finally gotten round to write a PART TWO of this post.
If you haven’t read PART ONE yet or you need a catch-up, see HERE.
So. You have identified yourself as one of the “forgotten” Catholic women who is still in the single state of life, either approaching or past middle-age, and you have no desire to default into entering religious life or taking vows as a Consecrated Single.
However, you feel starved of having a family or community for mutual support and protection.
In addition, you may feel despondent at the thought of growing old and alone.
Or worse, becoming a target for predators, psychopaths, burglars and others who target single older women.
Sure, you can beef up your security and get a couple of dogs, but it is just not quite the same.
You may have had a toxic family growing and have realised that having them in your life is doing you more harm than good, and you made the choice to go No Contact.
Here are some things I believe you can do in order to safeguard yourself, get some security and have a form of community, that would be like a “family”.
GET YOUR FINANCES IN ORDER
This entails paying into a company or private plan and building up an emergency fund of 1-6 months of your monthly living expenses.
You should work on paying off your debt: loans and credit. You can continue to use your credit cards, but try not to have more than 3, never use more than 50% of your credit limit and pay off the balance each month.
GET SOME FORM OF TRANSPORT SORTED
Learning to drive is an essential life skill, in my opinion. You should also get a car.
Nothing expensive or flashy that would make you attractive to predators.
Get something small, cheap, used, and that has as low running costs as possible.
Having a form of transport is necessary in case you have to suddenly move away, in the event of an emergency when the transport system is down.
RE-ASSESS YOUR ACCOMMODATION
If you are currently renting, I would recommend preparing as much as you can to buy your own home.
Having your own home offers you security.
If you already own your home, I would recommend seeing if you can downsize to a smaller home or a cheaper location.
On the topic of location, it would be best to get out out of the cities and move either into the countryside or smaller towns.
As a single woman, growing older in the cities, which are beset with crime, muggings, riots, and so on will make you extremely vulnerable. Moving out to a quieter location is generally safer and better for your health because as women, our bodies, our physical and mental well being thrive better when we live in quieter locations. Stress doesn’t just cause rapid aging but brings a whole host of life-threatening diseases too.
For property choices, the ideal situation would be purchasing a property within a community – almost like a retirement community, but not for the elderly or retired, if that makes sense?
The purpose of this is to be surrounded by people who support and look out for each other, but you are still able to live independently in your individual properties.
So, if you don’t fancy the idea of growing old in a care home or vulnerable and alone in your home, you should consider either a Retirement Community or Retirement Village.
Some Retirement Communities/Villages will allow people under the age of retirement to move in – but up to an age limit.
Choose a Community/Village that is located either in a small town or in the countryside
Another option you can take is to buy a fairly cheap and/small property in your 30s-40s, try to pay off the mortgage as much as you can, and then as you approach retirement age, you sell the property for a property in a Retirement Community/Village.
In the meantime, secure your home and person.
If you are a single woman living alone, you must have some form of security.
There is this thing called THE RING DOORBELL, which I recommend every woman who lives alone should have. It is really easy to install too.
Don’t forget to have some form of personal protection, as the law allows in your location.
In the US, many people are allowed to carry a gun. If you choose to do so, be sure you learn how to use it properly.
In the UK, it is illegal to carry a gun as a civilian. And I also think that carrying pepper spray or mace is not allowed either.
In a situation like this, get a personal alarm. There are many good ones that come on a key ring and include a bright light as well. You should also carry pocket-sized deodorant aerosol.
In the event of an attack or attempted mugging, spraying this into the assailant’s eyes can buy you some time to make a getaway.
RE-ASSES YOUR JOB AND CAREER
As you prepare to move out of the cities, I will also recommend re-assessing your job and career.
Can your job be relocated? Or perhaps you may need to consider working from home, working online or having your own business?
Many city-type jobs will not be available in the smaller towns and villages, so you need to make a plan for this. Either you will change your career completely or go down the self-employment route.
GET A DOG
A dog not only provides companion and as well as a range of health benefits, but can also act as a guard dog if you choose the right breed.
BUILD YOUR COMMUNITY
Cultivate friendships with carefully chosen people who live in the town or village that you move to.
These people will be your support system.
You should also do some volunteer work that involves working with children and/or animals.
When I was single, after I grew past being a Girls Guide, I started volunteering for the Brownies, which is the younger age group of the Girls Guide organisation.
I’ve always loved taking care of and working with children, and even after I got married, I still continue my volunteer work.
There are many volunteer organisations you can join and many of them only require an hour of your time, after-work hours, a week or less.
You can join the Cadets, Brownies, Girl Guides, Red Cross, animal shelters, Women’s Institute, and so on.
Be sure you also join any Catholic women’s groups like the Legion of Mary or you can choose to be a Lay (insert your preferred religious order here).
Whether you want to be a Lay Carmelite or Lay Dominican or other Lay, I thoroughly recommend this option.
These enable you to build a network and community of supportive, like-minded people as friends and as a second “family”
In these volatile and unpredictable times, the last thing that you want to be is alone and vulnerable, without any community, family or support network.
Is there anything else you will add to this list?
Our Lady of Good Counsel, pray for us.
ad Jesum per Mariam
4 thoughts on “Vocation Planning For The Forgotten Single Catholic Woman – Part Two”
I would like to second at least one of Phyllis’ concerns. That is housing. Most banks will not make a loan to a single person, at least in my experience. I do live in one of the more expensive areas of the country, but I can’t leave because I am caring for my elderly mom. I will most likely have to rent for my entire life. I’m not sure how to do this, but God will provide.
Is the author herself a single woman? It’s very hard for single women to buy a house on one income, to keep up with repairs. Some single women don’t like dogs, which are also time consuming and expensive to care for. Most Catholic women are happily ensconced in their own families to care much about stray single women. Most women religious are likewise involved in cohesive community and can’t afford “particular friendships.” You’re asking us to build infrastructure with very scarce or nonexistent materials. Again, are you a single woman who has successfully navigated older age? Or are you a happily married Catholic mom? This post with its listing of stalkers, loneliness, and financial problems is quite frightening. Most of us single and postmenopausal Catholic women are well aware that we have to get up and go to work everyday, save every cent, smile through grueling workdays, feign happiness for our married sisters’ blessings, care for elder and vulnerable family members and likely die alone and unhelped with no one to return the favor. No downtime for pregnancies, no downshifting to part-time, no retirement with grandchildren to look forward to. The institutional Church and the laity should ask themselves how they can help those not blessed with families. The Bible is full of exhortations to help widows. But single women did not exist in first century Palestine, or if they did, we don’t hear about them.
I am not a single woman, but following my father’s death, I have watched my mother raise all of us in her aging years. In addition, I have hundreds of older single women share with me their own experiences. To suggest that I don’t understand the plight of older single women is just as foolish as saying a priest has never been married and thus has no say in officiating at a wedding or giving marriage advice.
It is unfortunate that you feel some aspects of this post tjj on be frightening. You may not like it, but it is the sad reality of life today for many older single women and it would be irresponsible of me not to highlight it.
I am not here to sugarcoat anything. I am here to help women of all vocations, single or otherwise, navigate life SAFELY and get to Heaven
Thank you, this is an excellent list of practical advice. I really enjoyed these posts.
Although I’m not in this lifestyle, my aunt is. I would also consider adding the following:
1. When downsizing, look for few or no stairs to help with mobility.
2. If possible, consider saving more money and/or buying insurance for long-term care (in-home).
3. Don’t be too far away from a hospital nor too isolated from neighbors. Friends can drop you off or pick up medicine for you.
4. If you need internet, use secure WiFi, password protect devices, and keep identity safe on the web, be careful of downloading things.
5. Use motion-sensing lights on property, timers for lights, a discreet place for packages if get deliveries, etc.
6. Always wear your cell phone on you. There are many cute pouches/purses for neck or cross-body, even waterproof ones.