never married, over forty, a little bitter

rites of passage

“The only friends I know with their own places have had their parents pay the deposit,” he says. “My father’s finally said he’ll help us with that, but as my work’s precarious I’m not sure we’ll be awarded a mortgage.”

Meanwhile, his partner is desperate to have a baby. “She’s 36 and broody and panicking about reports of fertility declining with age. But I say to her: ‘How can we have a baby; we haven’t even got room for a gerbil?’”


“My parents’ generation were all living in big houses by the time they were 40, but now they’re holding on to all the money and making it impossible for our generation to afford any of that. We’re just making do.”

So what will be the psychological effect of being denied these rites of passage? According to the National Health Service, prescriptions for antidepressants have risen by more than 40 per cent over the past four years, the result – mental health charities believe – almost entirely of economic pressures.

Steven Sylvester, a coaching psychologist and member of the British Psychological Society, has several clients who are finding it hard to reconcile the difference between their professional status and humble living arrangements.

“I have clients who are doing life-saving surgery but living in tiny rented flats,” he says. “If our system isn’t giving us what our parents had, it shakes our confidence to the core.”

“People in their twenties and thirties can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. We need to make the transition from young adult to fully functioning member of society, but if you can’t buy a house before 40 then that transition is delayed.”


Some people have been so lucky and bought their houses and can relax, while others are standing outside the gates totally disempowered.

“It sounds juvenile to say the situation isn’t fair. But it isn’t, it just isn’t.”

highs and lows

My first year when I moved to L.A. was incredibly tough. Many, many times I thought I’d be moving back to my former city before the year was up. I had to remind myself again and again of all the trouble I’d taken to move out there and would resolve to give it at least one year. Then I got a job and ended up staying almost seven.

I feel like I’ve hit one of those dips here now. My roommate situation has had its disappointments, a few “friends of friends” I was supposed to meet haven’t panned out (just like in L.A.), the dating situation doesn’t appear promising, I haven’t hooked into anything socially, and now the job worries have set in. Although it’s less anxiety-producing here since I already know the place, I also don’t feel the excitement of a new city like I did in L.A., especially since L.A. is such an incredible and overwhelming place.

There’s an appealing job open right now in L.A., but I realize it’s absolutely crazy-thinking for me to pursue that idea mere months after leaving. I will have to let that one go and give this place at least a year, even if it drains my finances to do so.

I have been accomplishing the initial things I set out to do here in terms of the classes I’ve been taking, so all is not lost, even if things don’t work out long-term.

Most likely I just need to ride out this dip and things will eventually sort themselves out.