never married, over forty, a little bitter

chutes and ladders

Without getting into specifics, it appears that I may have lost out on the full-time jobs I applied for. I’m not sure what to think now.

On the plus side, there is at least one job, and maybe more, opening up within the same organization that would be a better fit for me. On the negative side, I’m now of course worried I don’t have a chance of getting hired back.

The part-time opportunity is also rolling along, but if I’m offered it and take it, I can’t apply for a full-time position for a lengthy probationary period.

So. I could possibly go with my original plan of working part-time while taking classes and looking for opportunities in new fields. Or I could pass at the clerical position so that I could apply for the full-time jobs and suss out whether I have a chance at them.

And, I suppose, if worst came to worst, after a year I could move back to L.A., but I’m unsure whether I’d survive that.

Just like in dating, I’ll probably never find out why I didn’t get the positions. I can think of three or four completely different reasons, but it could be any or none of those. Another mystery.

the long process

Another good post about an older single woman “blundering” her way to a new way of living:

rug pulling

Many will argue that we can choose, we just have to accept the consequences. True. I am free to cut off my arm, too. The consequences of exercising our freedom by choosing to be single or to leave our jobs make the choice almost as foolish as cutting off a limb (especially in this economic environment). The safety net, if we can even call it that, which exists in the US does not support individual freedom and certainly prevents our independence since we’re dependent on employers for our health insurance rather than interdependent as a society that provides a safety net to all of us. Current societal structures exert normative pressure. Thus, the government supports the status quo and punishes those who dare to step outside by pulling the safety net out from under us. And as Michael Warner points out, it’s pretty much impossible for any of us to measure up to all the normative pressure on us. We are all not normal in one way or another (something Brené Brown also stresses to counteract the shame that arises whenever we step out of the normativity of the status quo). Accepting that fact would allow us to embrace our interdependence even with people who may choose to do things we don’t agree with.


But still I didn’t answer. I didn’t want him to know the truth: that I was 39 and hadn’t had a serious boyfriend in eight years. I had seen men balk at this information before — even when the numbers were lower. They would look at me in a cool and curious way, as if I were a restaurant with too few customers, a house that had been listed for too long. One man actually said it: “What’s wrong with you?”

I haven’t had sex in over a year and before that, it was about 2 years. I haven’t been in a relationship in about 6 years and that one was short lived and not a good thing in any way (except the sex, the sex was amazing).

What you’ve just describe isn’t uncommon. Dating is hard. It’s very, very difficult to stand out and get attention. Especially online. So the first thing you need to do is stop thinking you’re “weird” because you haven’t had an #omigahboyfriend in two years. Going in and out of relationships isn’t any better than not being in a relationship for a long period of time. If people can come up with numerous reasons why you’ve been single for however many years, they can also point to your friend’s transient relationships and find fault with them, too.

the northern report

I found this blog recently (through the July 4th blogfest) and have enjoyed reading about the blogger’s attempts to build community after moving to Minneapolis in her forties. I relate to the ups and downs of her experience as well as her disappointment in Meetup groups (not enough of “same time, same place, same people”). Check it out:

A few scattered samples that resonated with me:

In the spirit of “the cream will rise to the top,” I’ve implemented a “3 strikes” rule – social baseball, if you will. I’ll invite someone out 3 times – if they aren’t interested or don’t throw the invite ball back to me, I’ll move on to other potential fish in the friendship sea. I’m also targeting my efforts to go on numerous outings with the same group. Concentrated efforts are more effective than scattered ones. Also, when I see the same people time and time again, the comfort level increases.

Transplants may want to adopt the Little Engine’s mantra “I think I can, I think I can.” Set your expectations of reciprocity to zero – it makes things easier. Sometimes an M & M Blizzard helps too.

The thing about this solo lifestyle is there aren’t really any ”how to navigate this” guides – no roadmaps or mentors – it seems nearly everyone is married or divorced with kids. The best book I’ve found is Barbara Feldon’s (yes – Agent 99!) book Living Alone and Loving It – the only book of its kind. My existential dilemma is if I’m not getting married or having a family, what’s my purpose? I am in a helping profession – is that enough or is there something else I’m to devote my life to?

So with 50 just 2 short years away, I love owning my own home, have a great job, and am doing quite well overall. However, that elusive life partner isn’t showing up. What if I spend the rest of my days unpartnered? The snowball then runs down the hill – what if I’m old and alone with health issues and no one to talk to or take care of me? Having no one to call me to celebrate my birthday drove that point home. I hope this doesn’t sound self-pitying – it’s not. The existential question is how do people live into old age without others to lean on?

That said, how does one look forward to many more holiday seasons potentially alone? Without a doubt, Xmas and New Year’s are far harder than Valentine’s Day – it’s the family-dom of it all. I know the root of all evil is unmet expectations. Change the expectations of how the holidays should be (“It’s a Wonderful Life” surrounded by family and friends) and they’re going to be much less painful to handle.

Opportunities for “same time, same place, same people” have worked far better for forging friendships than my Transplant meetup group where I run into people once and then don’t see them again for months.

Meetups have not proven to be a source of real friends, though I always expect them to be, for some reason. The proper mindset is “make attendance about the event itself rather than making friends.” I can’t seem to adopt this mindset, so I usually end up disappointed.


Reading the comments on this it’s hard not to believe we are headed for some kind of revolution:

Or maybe we get to the point where we just accept that, given the state of the environment, babies are in fact a luxury item many of us can do without.