never married, over forty, a little bitter


When I was in my early twenties I was fascinated by a book called Getting from Twenty to Thirty: Surviving Your First Decade in the Real World by Mike Edelhart.  It was published in 1983; I found it in the library.  The main thesis of the book was that if you didn’t get started in a career and settled into a monogamous relationship by 30, chances are you never would.  Gulp!

I now relate to the “emerging adult” concept

My twenties did look much more like this:

One-third of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year. Forty percent move back home with their parents at least once. They go through an average of seven jobs in their 20s, more job changes than in any other stretch. Two-thirds spend at least some time living with a romantic partner without being married.

It’s interesting that brain development continues to age 25, as I had friends who were married by then.  That was definitely too early for me!

This former definition of adulthood, from the same article, reminds me of Olivia’s recent question as to whether childless women are real adults (

We’re in the thick of what one sociologist calls “the changing timetable for adulthood.” Sociologists traditionally define the “transition to adulthood” as marked by five milestones: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child. In 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men had, by the time they reached 30, passed all five milestones. Among 30-year-olds in 2000, according to data from the United States Census Bureau, fewer than half of the women and one-third of the men had done so.


Seeing the “happy family/ big new house” photo on Facebook yesterday reignited a few of my fears about attending my twenty-year college reunion.  The one thing that gives me hope is that a woman I know who attended last year said everyone left their spouses at home.  So at least there’s that.

I found a thoughtful, related post here:

adding up

I fear this post is going to put the “bitter” back in “thebitterbabe.”  If nothing else, it’s a good example of why I feel the need to remain anonymous.  I couldn’t be this honest otherwise.

Tonight a photo on the dreaded Facebook made me angry.  It was posted by a nice woman I knew in college, someone I’ve never had any beef with.  Today, however, she posted a photo of her family (she and her husband have three young children ) in front of the enormous house they just purchased in a tony zipcode.  Small houses in that area start at half a million.

The thing is, her husband is not a hedge fund manager.  He works in a profession where he may be pulling in around 100k, give or take.  While that could take you far in some parts of the country, in my current city lots of people making that kind of money still live in apartments.  Same with the area of the country they are residing in.

So what gives?  She doesn’t work.  I feel, somehow, lied to, as if there has to be more to the story.  I’m guessing something along the lines of a fairy grandmother passing away and leaving a million dollar inheritance.  It just doesn’t add up.

Why does it matter?  Why am I angry?

I suppose I feel misled.  It’s like looking at hundreds of magazine photos of models who are somehow cellulite-free, only to learn they have all been airbrushed.  There’s that feeling of failure– why am I still living in an apartment, unable to afford even one child?  If there is more to the story, if it is indeed impossible for the average professional to afford their lifestyle in today’s economy, then I have been made to feel bad over something that has no reflection on me or my abilities.

In any case, that is exactly what I need to remember in the long one.  In cases like this it is best to keep the blinders on.

faded love

On a podcast I once heard a man mention the excitement of becoming a father, and the other comic, a successful man with a seemingly good marriage and happy family, said, “Yeah but it fades.”  It was a tossaway comment made without further elaboration, but I honed in on it immediately.

Does the excitement of parenthood fade?  We hear a lot about “empty nest syndrome,” so maybe for some people it doesn’t, or it does but the parents still don’t know what to do with themselves once the kids are gone.

I would assume that due to familiarity alone, over the years children could lose their sheen.   We’ve certainly seen pets become neglected once a baby arrives, and we hear over and over again that marriage easily becomes stale.  I’m sure it’s taboo, though, to say that parenting itself could become stale.

Also, ideally, people have children when they are in a solid partnership and in good financial straits, or at the very least, interested in experiencing parenthood.  If those circumstances change due to divorce, financial hardship, or new interests, do parents get tired of parenting?  I fear that could be the case, and that fear was another thing that made me cautious about becoming a mother.