Learning to live ‘solo,’ with guidance from a friend, inspires ‘how-to’ book

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“I’m hoping my book will help others on their journey.”

Local author Patricia Seidel overcame several obstacles on her own journey as a widowed single mother and grandmother.

To help others discover their own “power,” Seidel has recently written and released, “Single and Savvy, Getting the Most Out of Living Single,” which was dedicated to the late Michael Bolanger, of Rome.

A special preview and book signing with the author is scheduled for 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 at Barnes and Noble Booksellers at Consumer Square, Commercial Drive in New Hartford.

“Whether you are single, separated, widowed or divorced, it’s time to take your power back,” Seidel wrote in the preview of her book. 

As a licensed mental health counselor for ICAN in Utica, Seidel has taken years of experience and broken it down into a simple step-by-step guidebook to live the life everyone “deserves.” 

The event at Barnes and Noble will feature an informative talk, question-and-answer session and a meet-and-greet. Sponsored by the Mid-York Chapter of the Women’s Bar Association, a percentage of proceeds from Seidel’s book will go towards women’s rights. 

Seidel is an individual and family therapist/licensed mental health counselor, former teacher and Wilson Language dyslexia practitioner. She now works for ICAN, which is formerly Kids Oneida.

“I’m a small business owner and reside in Utica and the Adirondacks. I have been involved in helping survivors of domestic violence for over 25 years,” she said.

Seidel’s own story started back on New Year’s Eve 2000 when she was “married with children” and living in Bucks County, Pa.

“That evening my home burned, this was followed by moving into an apartment and having that flood. Later that year, my daughter became engaged and I had to plan a wedding for September with no home to welcome friends and family,” the author shared. “My son then moved out of the area three months before the wedding, my husband was diagnosed with cancer, Sept. 11 arrived and I was working for a NJ/PA company that mourned the loss of friends at the World Trade Center.”

She continued, “My daughter was married at the end of September, my husband died five weeks after the wedding, I then lost my job, and ended the year without a husband, children, a home or employment. All this occurred within one year. I was totally alone and had to figure out how I was going to survive without a husband, family, home or employment.”

Seidel said she then decided to relocate back to Utica to start over. Her “new” life now was totally different from what she envisioned it would ever be, but by putting one foot in front of the other, she said she was able to move forward, step-by-step.

“I’ve included anecdotes, tips, advice, suggestions and quotes from others on how to make things easier when life throws you that curve ball that you never expected,” Seidel said.

The book is dedicated to Michael Bolanger, a former Rome resident.

“I met Mike Bolanger while tutoring a foster child that resided in his home and he suggested that I look into a trip he was getting together for his friends,” the author recalled. “Mike was a man with a kind heart and a terrific sense of humor. He was a CNYDSO (Central New York Disabilities Services Office) recreational therapist, as well as a foster parent.”

“I still remember the day that I met him and he handed me a travel brochure and said, ‘Why don’t you join us on this trip?,’” Seidel fondly remembered. “Although it wasn’t apparent then, this was a defining moment in beginning to welcome my new life on my own. He invited me to to a gathering of fellow travelers that he was hosting at his home and I was ‘hooked.’ I met others from Rome and the surrounding area who were welcoming and fun to be with, so I decided to sign on for my first ’solo’ trip, and haven’t stopped since.”

Seidel said her new friend Mike changed her life and brought a new world of friends and adventures into it, as he did for countless others in the area.

“He was loved by many and was considered to be ‘everyone’s friend,’” the author said. “Since meeting him years ago, I’ve traveled to over 60 countries and even arranged trips for friends and family. Sadly, Mike passed away, but the friendships I made by deciding to trust my instincts and take that first ‘leap of faith’ will remain forever. Thank you Mike.”

Seidel said her book promises to help give readers the confidence, courage and know-how they need for what could be a challenging part of their lives.

“What it takes to live your best life now is the right ‘kinds’ of know-how,” according to Seidel’s book. “Solo and Savvy is a step-by-step personal guide complete with information, pointers, ideas, advice, check lists, stories of success and, best of all, encouragement to help you handle such things as discovering how to have fun connecting with others; turning difficult emotions into positive, healing experiences; building and protecting a strong financial base; safe-guarding your health — body, mind and spirit; having a great time traveling on your own; and being wise about home maintenance and repairs.”

Topics of the book include: Mental Help, Organizing Your Home, Mastering Your Money, Venturing Out On Your Own, Wellness and Adopting a Positive Mental Attitude.

According to her biography, besides having experience as a former teacher writing educational manuals on self-improvement, nutrition, ecology and small business development, Seidel’s love for cooking inspired her to begin her own housewares business and catering company. As a formerly licensed insurance and real estate agent, Seidel has used her expertise in home renovations to provide affordable housing for college students and single-parent families, volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. And for more than 15 years, Seidel has worked to provide strength-based services for at-risk youths and their families.

Besides visiting her children and grandchildren in Pennsylvania and California, Seidel said she pushes herself to do “two new things” each year, as she explores new hobbies and interests meant to “push her to new heights” and allow her to explore beyond her “comfort zone.”

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