Relishing the Solo Life

Relishing the Solo Life

Living Alone and Loving It: A Guide to Relishing the Solo Life

Feldon, Barbara






After a relationship impasse, Barbara Feldon — universally known as the effervescent spy “99” on Get Smart — found herself living alone. Little did she know that this time would become one of the most enriching and joyous periods of her life.
Now Feldon shares her secrets for living alone and loving it. Prescribing antidotes for loneliness, salves for fears, and answers for just about every question that arises in an unpartnered day, she covers both the practical and emotional aspects of the solo life, including how to:

Stop imagining that marriage is a solution for loneliness • Nurture a glowing self-image that is not dependent on an admirer • Value connections that might be overlooked • Develop your creative side • End negative thinking

Whether you are blessed with the promise of youth or the wisdom of age, Living Alone & Loving It will instill the know-how to forge a life with few maps and many adventures.


Library Journal

This breezy memoir chronicles how actress Feldon (Agent 99 from Get Smart) found herself alone after a divorce and the end of other serious relationships. Beginning to despair of ever finding happiness, she came to understand that she could be perfectly-even radiantly-happy living alone. (Indeed, she sometimes sounds a bit desperate as she hammers home her theme.) Astute and optimistic, she notes the problems inherent in regarding “single status as inferior to being married” and advocates consciously embracing the solo life so as to live life on one’s own terms. Her wise words (e.g., “Stop believing that marriage is the solution to loneliness”) will be useful to anyone, single or otherwise. For public libraries and the night stand, along with Wendy Burt and Erin Kindberg’s lighthearted and upbeat Oh, Solo Mia!: The Hip Chick’s Guide to Fun for One.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


The author of this book, Barbara Feldon, was once on the series Get Smart, as the spy “99.” She has been through a divorce and even though she started out nervous and felt lonely, she was able to live alone and finally appreciate it.
I was attracted to this book. I am always drawn to the books that emphasize how being “single” or “alone” is not a scary thing. In today’s society, from friends or family, you are constantly pushed to be with another person, to get married or have kids. Even though this is everyone’s right, it isn’t the answer for everyone.
I was expecting a guided list of how to live alone and love it. This was not what was within the book. It was full of wisdom and life lessons. On some parts, I felt as though she were reading my mind what I was never able to verbalize.
She writes: “Living alone gives us the freedom to nourish the things we love wihtout the constraints of a partner’s timetable or his or her conflicting desires.” This is not to say that we can’t fulfill our hobbies or our dreams with someone else there. I think the problem is that we become distracted with taking care of this other person, like having a constant guest in our home. When you live alone, there seems to be more time to get to know yourself and what you love.
This is not a “don’t get involved with others in a romantic way.” It’s quite the contrary. Some people are deeply fulfilled by another person sharing their life, and others have too much they want to fulfill on their own. She writes. “…a love life is not a need like food and air, it’s a desire. If we don’t eat or breathe, we die; we don’t die from unsatisfied passion. Having to set aside romance from time to time is only tormenting if we choose to view it that way.”

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This book changed my life. It reminds me how to cherish alone-time. It taught me that being alone is not lonely; rather, a chance to connect and to take responsibility for myself. It also got me through a time in my life when I moved away from my then-boyfriend, friends, and family when I needed to accomplish one of my lifelong goals and it had to be done completely by myself. I accomplished my Masters, met new friends, discovered beautiful places to visit, cozy places to eat, and reestablished who I was.

Ironically, by following the advice regarding not overwhelming my friends when loneliness struck, I discovered one of my dearest friends was really quite wonderful in a not just- friend type of way and, after many years of dating, married him.

A year after I first read this book, I wrote a letter of appreciation to Ms. Feldon. To my delight, she wrote a lovely note back. Barbara Feldon – Author, Agent 99, Changer of Lives – all class.

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