never married, over forty, a little bitter

the longest journey

Here were some of the hurdles I overcame during my move: A woman who went all borderline personality disorder on me over some things I had given her. A car accident, my first, a week before I was to hit the road, happening during a delivery to a friend of some freebies. A landlord who is being shaky on returning my deposit (21 days have past so he legally owes me all of it now but I’d have to travel to California at least twice to file a claim and then do more paperwork to get the money) and who insisted I give him a check for last month’s rent even though I paid that up front (another $1250 I will probably never see). A condo tenant who asked me to pay him two months rent in order to move out early. A property manager who somehow failed to notice that an earlier tenant had removed a large, beautiful wardrobe from the condo (probably not worth the hassle of suing, but disappointing nonetheless). A moving company that was contracted to leave two huge pallets of shrink-wrapped furniture outside my door but not move them in (had to pay the guy under the table to help me get the furniture inside and remove the pallets). Missing items from the delivery. A travel companion who is a poor driver, so I did all of the driving across country. A grueling week with my mom which dissolved into a lot of arguing. A full-length mirror that arrived shattered in pieces. Endless paperwork and bureaucracy to get into community college. The need to send my health insurance company proof of former coverage (even though it’s the same company), the need to find a primary care doctor to give me the referral I need for a specialist, the need to get all my paperwork sent from my former specialist to the new one before I will be seen. Lots of paperwork to get my car registered and my driver’s license. A new “smart” phone that dialed out on one number but when people called that number they got someone else. A shady company that mysteriously charged several thousands of dollars to my credit card and then refunded it a few days later, prompting me to pursue an investigation.

And that’s just what I recall off the top of my head. If I had kids, I never could have done it.

Considering all the work and effort that went into moving, I was all set to pass on the safety jobs and really go for my dream vision. But then, on the last night before the deadline, I ran into that friend who warned me about the job market. He’s highly educated and has a great resume and was basing his advice not just on his experience but that of his friends, so I tend to believe him, although he has three kids so more urgency than me. But even the people who were encouraging me to wait it out have been conducting their own job searches, while employed, to no avail.

I’m just worn out and worn down.

I was having a conversation with my roommate this morning about the difficulty of finding a good job. We discussed the fact that it’s surprising it’s not easier to find partners in this kind of economy. It’s not like the swinging sixties, when jobs were plentiful and life was relatively easy and one had the time to pursue lots of sex and wild encounters. You would think people would be eager to pair up to try to weather all the difficulty of trying to survive. Instead it seems that the dog-eat-dog mentality has bled from the economy into the dating market.

the puzzle

I thought I could turn down the interview later for the safety jobs, but alas, they got back to me the same day. There will be little time to explore other options. I’m trying to look on the bright side. It’s nice to feel wanted. I could pick my pension back up. I like my former coworkers (yes, this is a place I worked at before). I could move into better jobs eventually.

Would I have moved back here for this? No. But then, would I have moved to California if I had known in advance how things would turn out? No. At least I have more of a sense of community here, so there’s that.

A former friend of mine, a woman who in that godawful year of seventh grade won parts in several plays and made it on to the cheerleading team while I failed at both and was suffering through my parents’ divorce, posted some pictures today of her daughter winning several academic awards. This woman is married to an attorney and stays home with her three kids. I’m trying to hold on to that wise saw about not seeing others’ successes as my failures.

I’m struggling with that same old feeling that there’s just not quite a place for me in this world. I’m a puzzle piece that doesn’t fit. Bright, creative, and resourceful, but not wealthy, connected, or extraordinarily good-looking. Still single and looking for love and adventure long past the age our culture expects women to be settled down and raising kids.

As far as money-making opportunities, I suppose I could try to start my own business, but I’ve never had that dream, and the market for writers is probably the worst it’s ever been.

I know plenty of lovely, older single women who are well-educated, attractive, fit, and decently-employed and have empathetic, kind souls to boot. They should be able to find partners, but they can’t. Where can they turn? Classes, bars, online dating. All are far from guarantees. A basic human need for love and companionship and there’s nowhere to turn but the vagaries of the capitalistic marketplace.

It’s the same with the other basic human need to find satisfying work. What are the options? Job boards, employment agencies, networking. No guarantees.

It’s a tight market for both, and the competition is stiff. We may live in a world of abundance, but it’s not an abundance of appealing jobs or partners.

I’m hoping I’ll have at least one more month off. I’m enjoying Spanish and looking forward to my sewing class. I’ll have to drop Spanish if I get the job, and I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for sewing. I’ll still be able to fit in some dance classes.

Will I get desperate for some kind of fulfillment and turn to online dating again? There’s a good chance, and a good chance I’ll be disappointed with it. Whenever I consider going down that road now, I turn my attention to my hobbies, but once I’m working, I’ll have much less time for them. And once again, I’ll be looking for something to offset the daily grind.