never married, over forty, a little bitter


Great minds, readers, great minds…

What I expect to happen is that my body will fail, my mind will cease to function and that will be that. My genes will not live on, because I have had no children. I am comforted by Richard Dawkins’ theory of memes. Those are mental units: thoughts, ideas, gestures, notions, songs, beliefs, rhymes, ideals, teachings, sayings, phrases, clichés that move from mind to mind as genes move from body to body. After a lifetime of writing, teaching, broadcasting and telling too many jokes, I will leave behind more memes than many. They will all also eventually die, but so it goes.

force feeding

A third job opportunity has materialized here, one that is in my career field but at a different organization. The job would most likely be less stressful than my former job, and I could stay in my same area of town, thus continuing the elements of my routine that nourish me. I decided “what the heck” and submitted an application.

With each hour I spent filling it out, however, I felt more and more like I didn’t want it. Like I was forcing myself to eat a meal that was “good for me” but unappetizing.

The other thought that came to me was that, if I took it, I could always go back online and seriously pursue finding a partner.


I haven’t thought at all about dating during this time off. I wake up at a leisurely pace, spend some time on moving, and then some time updating my computer skills. I cook and clean out my closets and call friends. I fit in as many yoga and dance classes as I can. I work through my pile of books and write, and occasionally I spend time with a man with whom I have a “go nowhere” situation but whose company I enjoy.

It is only when I think of returning to a full-time job in my former career that the thought “must find partner” becomes prominent in my head. Like I would need some kind of pay-off for being responsible and locking myself down again in work that, frankly, I feel over and done with. Like I would need someone who could provide me with a possible “out.”

I know a woman here my age who somehow survives stringing together part-time work and freelance gigs. She agreed to work at a company for forty hours for a week last month, and she said she hated being there that long and couldn’t believe she’d ever done it. Right now that’s how I feel– not ready to go back– and hopeful that I can somehow work part-time.

I submitted the application anyway. If anything it’s a nice feeling not to care if I get it, and the deadline was looming and I wanted to chew on it some more.

I also learned a lot about “where I’m at” by filling it out, not only job-wise but location-wise. Over the last seven years I’ve gone from wide-eyed excitement about living here, to frustration, to a renewal of interest, to a big desire to leave. When I think about taking another job here, I think, “But why?” For what or whom would I be staying? I come up with very little.