never married, over forty, a little bitter


In October of 2011, in the midst of overwhelming work stress, I received an email from an old friend gushing about her fabulous new husband and beautiful new baby and all-around perfect life. “I couldn’t be happier,” she wrote.

That email precipitated a flood of tears from me and triggered my grieving process. In the following year, I took up kundalini yoga, started writing this blog, and began devising a Plan B. I felt my life had to change.

Interestingly, October 2011 is when Enlightened debuted. If only I’d had HBO! I had no idea a parallel journey was taking place on T.V.

The show ended in March 2013, the month I quit my job and embarked on a new life. Of course, things have not gone quite according to plan. I’m now living the Season 3 that we never got from Enlightened.

taking stock

On some days life is full of meaning and purpose and I am thrilled to be part of the living. On some level, I am 50, twice divorced, childless and living alone. It is amazing. I may have won. I just have to accept that certain things may not happen for me and which of those things are actually things that I want or things that I have been lead to believe I should want.

Family propaganda is very powerful and is supported by the biological fact that we are here to make more people. It is also disseminated by people who are in the thick of it and, in a lot of cases, trying to make themselves believe that they have done the right thing. We are animals able to ask questions and make choices. Maybe there are plenty of people already here and it’s okay to sit this one out and think about why some days my life lacks meaning and purpose. It’s because some days, it does.

More here at the five-minute mark:


ResBasEco • 2 years ago
I enjoy this show. Laura Dern’s character is highly recognizable from my corporate drone days. She’s in that career gray area where you don’t really want to keep running down the same road everyone else is because it’s lost most of it’s meaning. I think it’s important to point out the significance of her not having children. I’m a guy but I’m in the same boat. When you have kids you aren’t really allowed to do this kind of soul searching and floundering around. There’s a schedule to keep, examples to set, and lives to protect. But when kids aren’t a factor, quitting a job (every three or four years) is almost always an option. You need more from what you do every day in order to feel like what you do matters. I’m curious to see what she figures out.

I loved the show Sex and the City, but couldn’t help but wonder (a la Carrie) what Carrie’s future could have morphed into if she had remained single. It was disappointing that they all ended up paired off; to that end I like the theory that Mr. Big and the other ladies had all been but a dream (

Amy in Enlightened is finally the character who is alone– single and childless- at forty. And boy is she alone. She seems completely friendless; there’s no trio surrounding her as in Girls or SATC.

In the first couple of episodes we see her trying to ram her way back into the lives of people with spouses and kids. First with Krista and then, through a literal car ramming, back into the life, via apology, to the married-with-kids coworker with whom she had an affair.

Given her spectacular meltdown in the first episode, it’s no wonder none of these people want to have anything to do with her. And yet, it’s an extreme version of what many of us who remain single and childless feel– that we are an embarrassment, the eternal fifth wheel.

Eventually we see Amy bond with other childless people– her ex Levi, Tyler and Dougie and Eileen from work, the journalist Jeff– and she loosens her grip, although not entirely, on Krista. We also are treated to one episode with Sandy, the single and childless friend with whom she bonded at Open Air. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the people I know who are fans of the show are also older, single, and childless.

The show derives much of it’s humor from the fact that Amy is like the Energizer bunny. She just keeps going and going. She is routinely kicked down, but she rises back up ever more determined, albeit occasionally delusional.

In this quiet period of my life, when I’ve been trying to change my life and only partially succeeding, when I’m spending far too much time alone, when I’m feeling a bit rejected by former colleagues, when I’m unsure about my future employability and feel like I’m facing this battle all alone, when former “friends” both here and in L.A. don’t answer emails, when I feel like an embarrassment to the people who encouraged me to re-apply to my old organization, when I’ve felt powerless and expendable, when the few people who continue to reach out are also on the margins… this show has spoken to me like no other.

I’ve taken strength from Amy and her indomitable spirit.


AVC: These last two episodes deal quite a bit with Krista. That character seems like she would have been easy to remove, but she’s there throughout. What do you see as that character’s role?

MW: To me, Krista is Amy’s Achilles heel, and that’s why I felt it was important to keep her there. There’s a reading of the show that is like the “baby envy” reading of Amy, and the show itself is the kind of mischief people can get into if they don’t have kids to distract them. [Laughs.] Amy seeing Krista being pregnant and having all the things that she maybe wanted at one point, but now the milk has been spilt, and there’s no going back there—there’s something about Krista’s complacency and the simple pleasures of Krista’s life that drives Amy crazy. She sees the husband coming to work to visit her and kissing the baby belly and all the friends excited for her, and she doesn’t see it as, “Oh, I’m jealous of this,” she sees it as, “This is what’s wrong with America!” [Laughs.] Everybody’s excited about their own little sphere, and they don’t care about the babies suffering on the street and things like that.

So I felt like the culmination of that was Krista having her baby and having her moment, the most personal, emotional moment of her life, and then Amy comes in and says, “You fucked me! You fucked me, Krista!” She’s so wrong, and that’s the part of Amy that is her Achilles heel, but, at the same time, that’s not the only part of her. So that felt like the right end to that relationship, having her looking back at the hospital after ripping Krista a new one for no reason at the most inopportune moment. But I relate that to me; sometimes you see that if you’re concerned with these bigger questions, you can get kind of crazed. I remember when I first became a vegan—I wrote a movie about this—suddenly your mind is in the slaughterhouse all the time. “They’re killing animals, and it’s disgusting the way they do it!” And you see people eating their lunch and feeding their kids, and you’re like, “Can’t you see what’s happening!” I think that Krista isn’t a bitch. She’s just somebody that isn’t thinking about these bigger things; she’s just living her life. And that’s fine. That’s totally valid. And for Amy, there’s this connection between the personal jealousies of the life she could have had and seeing that there is something wrong with that and that there is something that Krista should be doing. She’s constantly trying to evangelize to Krista.