never married, over forty, a little bitter

the big life

On my cross-country journey I visited a friend who is living a “Northern Exposure” type of life in a tiny, isolated, but culturally interesting town. The smallness and remoteness of the place is getting to him, but he said he doesn’t care that much about a social life because he lives with his girlfriend, and she is his best friend.

I compared his past five years with mine. He moved to a tiny town; I moved to a sprawling metropolis of seventeen million people. He concentrated on his prestigious but quiet job, a few solo hobbies, a small number of acquaintances, and his girlfriend. I dated a ton of people, travelled in and out of state, learned to surf, took endless dance classes, attended numerous cultural activities, learned the history of a sprawling region, tried out a variety of restaurants, joined at least a dozen social groups, explored a social scene centered on performance and fame, opened a large new facility, managed a bunch of people, and helped organize a fair amount of cultural events.

Would I trade my broader canvas of experience for his smaller, but no less interesting, one? Probably not, but at the end of the day, nobody cares that I stretched myself almost to the breaking point, and I am envious that he is in a loving relationship while I am not.

I am proud of what I’ve done but, going forward, I hope to make peace with my all-too-human limitations and to become okay with a smaller life.

the fortress

Unfortunately I’ve been more of a “giver” than a “receiver” over this long, grueling, emotional and physical journey, and at this point I’m all tapped out.

At the end of the driving journey, my mom came out to the car with about five minutes of “oh you must be exhausted,” but this was swiftly followed by a nonstop barrage of advice, directions, and her own personal concerns that is still going strong.

Hopefully I’ll be moved into my own place in a week or two. I need to stay strong for the rest of this month while I finish pulling off the logistics.

I’ve had absolutely no time to process anything and am hiding behind a blank emotional wall until I can breathe again.

On a positive note, my old friends are getting in touch over email. I’ve only had the strength to offer tepid responses, but it’s nice to feel the welcome.

making peace

Most of the childless women I know do find peace with their circumstances, even if it takes some time. Until, that is, someone comes along and demands their curiosity itch be scratched as to why no kids or, worse, declares you emotionally or spiritually unfulfilled with uncalled for comments such as the one I endured.

I believe children are a gift and not a given in life, and those who receive should be grateful. They should not be offering from on high ”Oh, it is such a pity”, ”a tragedy”, ”you would have loved it”, consolations to those without – even if well intended. People need to stop and think what they are really saying to another with ”you don’t know love until you have a child”, ”I wasn’t complete until I had kids”, ”you are nothing without family” or the deplorable ”don’t you like children?”


The simple fact – not that it is anyone’s damn business in the first place – is that most childless women today feel the decision was taken out of their hands through lack of financial and emotional security. According to a study in Australia’s Journal of Population Health, many childless women in their 30s want to have children, but can’t due to reasons ”beyond their control” such as not having a partner, stable relationship, or partner that wants children.

Read more:


Made it “home.” Feeling sad and freaked out. Returning in a packed car, a la my college self, and visiting all my elderly relatives along the way while still having no family of my own is causing a fair amount of inner turmoil and grief.

I listened to this podcast on the drive and enjoyed a lot of it but the discussion around parenting did not help matters:

Hank Azaria was dragged into parenthood in his forties when his girlfriend became pregnant and now says that having a child is what “makes one human.” Marc Maron is considering first-time parenthood at forty-nine because his male friends who haven’t had children have all become “peculiar.” Nice.

I just don’t appreciate the fact that these two men spent forty-plus years avoiding parenthood (Azaria mentions his former girlfriends’ abortions) and now that they have the money and fame to pull it off in a far less stressful manner than the average person have chosen to denigrate the childless/ childfree.

I was heartened to see comments such as this one:

Joe Tily May 01, 2013 at 4:05 am

Great interview, but – Men who never want kids are infantile? Really? You just keep telling yourself that buddy . . . . whatever you need to make that decision late in the game. I’d say knowing yourself, being true to yourself and not giving-in to pressure from society and/or your girlfriend is very mature and responsible. I’m sick of this attitude of treating childless people as if they are weird, lacking something or damaged in some way. What the fuck is wrong with not wanting kids?

In related news, a male friend of mine in his late thirties just emailed me that he’s planning to move to L.A. I think things will be better for him because his worth on the dating market will only grow with continued career success, while I knew mine, at least in all the superficial ways, was over.