never married, over forty, a little bitter

abre los ojos

In Spanish this week our chapter is on the stages of life, and thus it concentrates on Spanish terminology for birth, childhood, adolescence, marriage, parenthood, retirement. It could have been triggering, but my professor, who is in his forties, is single and childless, and that has ameliorated the situation. He has talked about the fact that he can afford to teach at community college only because he doesn’t have to support a family.

It’s nice to look around and find those people with whom I can relate. Today I spoke with a long-ago friend from grad school; she is my age but she took a straight shot up the ladder while I zigged and zagged. I wanted to get her take on working in a top position.

She married in her thirties but divorced after moving for her job at the top. She said it was much more difficult making friends as an older single woman in a primarily suburban area than it had been as a twentysomething in an urban area. Today most of her friends are much older than her because the people her age are all raising families. She works in a wealthy area, and thus had to make the difficult decision to accept a long commute, as she can’t afford to live in the area.

She likes the job, but would prefer not to have to have one. Working in a wealthy area, she doesn’t feel like she’s necessarily contributing much to the world.

She also said she’s had to put her foot down in regard to people thinking she’s available at all hours due to being childless. She makes it clear that she has priorities outside the job.

It all sounded very familiar, although she does, at least, have a boyfriend.

alternative lives

I spent another great day on the farm today and had all kinds of interesting conversations about cooking and hydroponics and communal living and substitute teaching and travel and living in a yurt. I detect a groundswell of change out there. People seem less and less willing to spend their lives in traffic and office cubicles while global warming destroys the planet.

I am so happy I had this break, and things are finally looking up on the job front. I have an interview next week, have several more applications filed here, and am moving along in an interview process for a good job back in California. I have a little more hope these days. If I’m employed by the end of the year, I’ll feel like I won. I got some much needed time off; I took all the classes I wanted; I refreshed my job skills; and I reconnected with my former home and with family.

I won’t have managed to escape the 40-hour-week and I failed at living communally, but at least I tried, and I’ll have a much better attitude about full-time work after having this time off.

I’ve also gotten some glimmers that big-time change could, in fact, be possible for me if I were really willing to go the distance. There are some small opportunities on the farm, but in reality I don’t think a middle-aged bookworm such as myself is truly suited to driving people around in a truck, surveying the fields, etc. I might also be able to figure out a way to survive as a part-time substitute teacher with another roommate. But I’m unsure whether that scenario would make me any happier than just taking another secure, full-time gig, as I don’t have any particular desire to teach.

I hope, in the end, I get one offer, and just one, within the next six weeks. Admittedly, I don’t want to take the responsibility for my life that having more than one offer would entail. I’m not in the mood for more decisions! I’d rather just be grateful that I finally got a job, and just at the right time, and take it from there.