never married, over forty, a little bitter


I hadn’t heard from my friend Judy, a sculptor, for weeks. She was at one of those artist colonies in the woods, a sort of full-scholarship sleepaway camp for grown-ups where composers, poets and visual artists work alone in their tiny cabins all day. Still, it was unusual for her not to respond to my various e-mail rants about deer tearing up the garden and unreliable contractors, and I was starting to worry. Judy happens to be single, childless and in her 40s. Suddenly, I pictured her locked in her lonely room conjuring fantasies in which the man of her dreams appears on one of the wooded paths (poof!) with two bright-faced kids in tow.

Then an e-mail from her flashed across my screen: “You can stop looking. I have found the meaning of life.” Apparently, “poor Judy” had simply been too blissed-out to check in. No cooking, no cleaning, no distractions from the work she loves, plus a group of talented pals to drink and schmooze with after hours. A man? The pitter-patter of little feet? She wasn’t missing it.


Next year I’d like to get up the guts to say I want to spend the holidays on my own/with friends, but since my mom is alone and can’t get over her despair about being single during the holidays, it’s difficult.  I’d actually be feeling quite merry cozying up at home and attending a few social events over this long weekend,  but having her here, feeling somewhat sorry for herself, is, as I’ve written, a bit of a buzzkill.  Thankfully, though, our interaction has steadily improved as the days have passed.

Good article:

For many people my age, the baby gap is the high-street store where they buy gifts for their offspring. But for me – and many others in the same boat – it’s the space left by the absence of a partner and children, a space that seems particularly cavernous at this time of year.

And as more and more men and women postpone marriage or parenthood – sometimes until it’s too late – there are droves of us in our 30s and 40s who’ll be visiting elderly parents, waking up in our teenage beds on Christmas morning or attaching ourselves to our siblings’ families – all the while thinking it really was time we grew up and had our own.

I’ve been feeling a bit of an anomaly at Christmas for a few years now so this time around, I’ve decided to embrace my 40-something, single, childless state and do something completely different – something I’d find it difficult, or at least prohibitively expensive to do if I had offspring in tow.

I’ve jetted off to Mexico – for just over a month – and will be spending Christmas on a beach in the sun, swapping turkey and cranberry sauce for guacamole and chilli prawns.