thebitterbabe

never married, over forty, a little bitter

Month: July, 2013

domestic drama

I went on a long walk today and considered the situation with my roommate. I’m happy he has a boyfriend, as we never socialized together that much anyway, and I think it’s a good thing for him.

What’s been bothering me is the sense that my presence at home annoys him and that he’d much rather be left alone to lay on the couch and watch T.V. He’s considerate in that he will often get up and move into his room to rest on his bed (with his iPad on his stomach) with the door closed when I’m home, but that does nothing to create an atmosphere of bonhomie. I’m not home much and am often reading or working online when I am, but I’ve still gotten the sense that my presence is an intrusion, and he jokes around to that effect. His faintly misogynistic joking, in general, has gotten stale. And he’s had no problem cutting me off when he’s not interested in conversing and has shown minimal empathy about my job search.

Some days we still get along though, and I’ve been waiting to see how the job situation panned out for both of us. I started thinking it would be a good thing if he got the promotion, as then I could rent my place to him (furnished and fixed up at my expense) if I had to return to L.A.

I found out yesterday I didn’t get the jobs, and he found out today he got the promotion. He came home absolutely gleeful about it and, in my opinion, lacking in any tact. When he started joking that I should now look for a job in another city so he could have this place to himself, I finally blew a gasket. Like the kid in the exorcist whose head spun around, I locked eyes and said very slowly and firmly to knock off the joking or I would kick him out.

Stay tuned.

the hours

Being childless, it’s hard for me to know how difficult it would be to have kids. I can imagine it being a draining, 24/7 gig; on the other hand, aspects of it seem pretty nice. I can relate to this commenter:

http://lifewithoutbaby.com/2013/07/10/whiny-wednesday-52/#comments

Mary says:
July 10, 2013 at 9:17 am
This article ended up on my Facebook home page today, just in time for Whiny Wednesday. It’s an article addressing the question of why stay-at-home moms don’t have any time for their friends, or anything else for that matter (“What do they do all day?”)… The question was posed by someone who is child-free, and asks a legitimate question. The columnist who responded (Carolyn Hax) sounded rude and a bit indignant. Her last sentence was the clincher. Defensive much Ms. Hax? Here’s the article:

http://www.danoah.com/the-overly-neglected-friend-without-kids

My niece is a stay-at-home mom of four little ones under the age of six. Her posts on Facebook all go something like: “Nap time with the kiddos”, “Playdough project with the boys!”, “Pool time with my girls!”, “Play date with neighbors.” … etc. I mean, I know she’s busy, but it does sound like kind of a nice life, doesn’t it? She can do what she wants with the kids when she wants. And when she can’t because they’re napping, she naps too! What would I give for a nap at 2:00 in the afternoon!!?

My best friend is a stay-at-home mom of two girls. And both girls are now in kindergarten part-time. She has more time than ever to have lunch with her other stay-at-home mom friends, go the gym mid-day (when there are NO crowds), grocery shop mid-day (again, NO crowds), pay bills, clean, do laundry, pursue her creative interests and look all fresh and gorgeous for when her husband comes home from work at 5:00. Nice life! I guess it just bugs me when they complain how hard it is for them.

She and I both decided to join Weight Watchers and buddy-up (she lives in a different state) to give eachother support, at least over the phone or via email. She’s lost six pounds and I haven’t been able to lose anything. When I thought about why she was so successful, I realized it’s because she has all day to figure out her points for the day, prepare and cooks all her meals for the day (and throughout the day) around her points, grocery shop around her diet needs, go to WW meetings, etc… When I look at what I do all day, it all comes down to an hour commute in the morning, work ALL day, an hour commute home. When I get home I have to cram all of my life into four hours (6-10pm) before I have to get up and do it all over again.

Anyway, I’m off on a tangent here, but I guess my Wednesday Whine is when stay-at-home moms complain they have no time or no life. Yes, maybe I’m jealous (ok, I’m definitely jealous), but I just don’t feel that sorry for them. At all. Ever.

P.S. Some of the comments after the posted article continue the indignance. One comment is worth posting here, it made me laugh out loud!:

” Never mind the fact that when this kidless friend does finally finish working/shopping/cleaning/etc for the day she gets to spend the rest of her time doing anything AND she has all those hundreds of thousands of dollars, that people with kids spend on kids, to do that anything with. ”

Ok, what world is she living in?? Umm, I’m sorry, but after working, commuting, shopping, dinner, cleaning for the day, there IS no rest of my time for anything. And those hundreds of thousands of dollars laying around… well … very very very few of us have that. What a ridiculous comment.

crash landings

The good news is that this post is about finding one’s tribe and a lovely conference where childless people could feel comfortable:

http://lifewithoutbaby.com/2013/07/15/my-people/

After the summit end, I went home via the Portland airport. It was full of families returning home from a long holiday weekend, and never have I felt more like an alien crash-landing on a strange and hostile planet. I wasn’t among my people any more.

legacies

Interesting interview here with a comedian from a difficult family background who has made the decision not have children; at about the thirty-five minute mark, he begins to talk about life as a childless person. Over the course of the podcast he mentions that he misses the distraction children can bring as well as the sense of meaning. At another point he discusses how being childless puts pressure on him to excel in his career field.

His wife hails from a difficult family background as well, and one of the things they agreed upon early on was that they did not want to have children themselves. I like their story.

The podcast:

http://mentalpod.com/Christian-Finnegan-podcast

bad on paper

One thing that can easily frustrate me these days is that several former friends are exhibiting the same problematic behaviors that were in evidence when I moved away. In order to believe that people can change, I am trying to identify my patterns and curb them when they are unhelpful.

To that end, I’m not going to let my anger over my job search derail me, as it might have in my youth. I’m over it already and back to my original vision. I’ll keep taking classes and will pursue a few more leads in regard to a change of career. I will continue to apply to positions that open up at my former organization, as I need to test the waters some more before I determine that door is closed. If I end up in the clerical job I’ll whittle the classes down to the most essential ones; if I don’t, I’ll take the full load.

I’ll give myself a deadline sometime next year to reconsider the move here. This will give me time to determine if, in fact, this simpler way of living is making me significantly happier, and if I need to find a way to preserve it even if it costs me a professional life. If not, perhaps I will go back to a stressful job in a big city. I also need to decide what feels more important: to be surrounded by stimulating, talented people but have few real, intimate connections or to have more of those connections but less stimulation and excitement.

Some experiences here have bolstered my belief in myself, which should provide some equanimity during the job search. Not only have I realized that, with a little bit more training under my belt, I had no need to be intimidated by the dancers here, but that some former co-workers who intimidated me in my twenties are not, in fact, all that, and I had talents that were not seen or utilized by the company we worked for, to their loss. I’m also trouncing the millennials in my community college class, even though they’ve had years of recent experience in the subject, and I haven’t visited it in almost fifteen years.

On paper, though, I’m an over forty, unemployed, single, childless woman, none of which makes me a hot commodity in any market. I just have to divorce myself from the perceptions of the paper pushers.

behaviorism

Ha! This resonated with me; at one point I decided not to bring a bowl of soup from the kitchen to my roommate so that he would have to get up from the couch at least once during the day:

Click to access Get-Potato-Off-Couch-Laudati.pdf

Finally, Mo came to counseling to revivify a dying relationship. It appears that Mo was subtly rewarding Allison’s sedentary behavior by bringing her food and drinks while she sat there zoning out. This behavior on Mo’s part needed to cease immediately. He was unknowingly reinforcing her couch potato status .He needed to stop bringing her things and he needed to discourage her behavior by not talking to her or interacting in any way. He was to stop all attempts to fulfill her needs. At least Allison would have to get up to get snacks, and when she did, Mo was to smile and converse.

kicking and screaming

I’ve had a sinus headache for days, and I’m testy as hell. What I need more than anything at this moment is a friend who will just let me throw an all-out, epic tantrum. All the stress of the move, along with my determination to maintain a positive attitude throughout, has come home to roost. As has the gradual dawning that a career change (or even just any kind of job doing something else) may not be possible and my safety hatch may not exist.

I realize the irony of feeling kicked in the stomach about the safety jobs when for many reasons they were not ideal, and the part-time job might be. I had, however, adjusted to the idea of doing either one of them and had started making tentative plans around that idea and looking forward to the “in” they would have provided. After the prodding by former supervisors to apply (as well as warnings by others that I should be prepared to accept one as surely I would get an offer), I’m now left baffled (and still not 100% sure I didn’t get one of them– I mean, it’s not looking good but perhaps I will have different news soon). I had several promotions within that organization and several awards and promotions in my last one. I could have lost out because I was overqualified, but then I seem to be a serious contender for the non-professional position, so WTF.

I do have one friend who gets that this is a blow and another who is doing some digging (although being a bit lax about getting back to me). With others it is platitudes, silence, or condescending advice. And being in my forties, could I not have a friend or two who could actually give me a job as opposed to just advice? Or even get me an interview? My entire life I’ve had to make it on my own; I’ve never had someone to pull strings for me.

I feel too old and accomplished to be scrounging, I admit, and I’ve spent a small fortune on the move and don’t know at what point I should consider going back to L.A., if at all. I am still at the tail end of wrapping up the move out here. As I wrote, I should probably give it at least a year, although I’ll be that much the poorer by then. It’s possible if I stay for the sake of my health that my professional life is over, although I would think eventually something would work out. Right?

I just want someone to let me have my tirade with expletives attached. It’s premature and immature, but then, that is how I am feeling.

rites of passage

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/wellbeing/8917706/Fortysomething-the-new-mid-life-crisis.html

“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.

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.