never married, over forty, a little bitter

side by side

Recently I’ve visited a bunch of art shows with companions in tow.  While I was happy enough to see these people and chat with them before each show, it felt a little confining to me (but also, I suppose, touching) that each person wanted to stick by my side while looking at the pictures (in one case, chatting to me the entire time, which drove me a little batty).  I kept wanting to say, “We can split up and I’ll find you afterwards.”

Pondering this later, I considered the idea that I’ve become a hardened loner.  I spoke to one of my (male) coworkers about this and he told me he feels the same way.  He’s in a long-term relationship (although never married and childless), but when he goes to shows with his girlfriend they usually split up, and he frankly enjoys going to movies solo.  We further discussed the inconveniences and difficulties of coordinating plans with other people and the fact that it’s often more exciting to go places alone, as you are more likely to meet new people.

I suppose those are the positive flip sides to feeling “alone, alone, alone, I’m always alone.”


One of the lessons I learned in my twenties was that no matter how old you are and how many life experiences you have had, when you start something new– a job, a location, a hobby– you are a freshman all over again.  I think that is why people get stuck in a rut as they get older; they are resistant to feeling clueless, foolish, and lost again.

Although I was in my late thirties when I relocated here, I was definitely a freshman again, trying group after group and activity after activity to find my footing and my people.

Eventually I settled in, but I feel like I’m entering another “freshman” period again, as the people I was hanging out with the last few years are no longer here or in my life.  I’m back to hanging out with new people and trying new things, traveling down a lot of blind alleys along the way.



…and regardless of Nelson’s own nostalgia for the ‘90s (“I miss Feminism! The whole culture is so 1950s right now, so conservative and conformist”)…


“One of the things I think I owe to that early unhappiness, it was a hard lesson, was that I learned that I could be alone,” she said. “I can. I like my own company.”