never married, over forty, a little bitter


Last night as I lay in bed I felt like I was saying goodbye to the calm, quiet, centered person I’ve become over the last year.

I hope I can still keep some aspects of her!

gimme a break

I’ve never understood mothers who say that going to the office is like “getting a break.” Those women must not be managers or directly involved with customers.

When I was volunteering, I didn’t have to worry about co-worker conflicts, or the poor performance of employees, or the (sometimes) unreasonable complaints of customers. I just went in and did my part cheerfully and left.

Ditto with being a student. I might have felt bad for the young man who was failing out of the class, but he was the teacher’s concern, not mine. Nor was the student who was cheating on the exams my problem. I was responsible for my performance alone.

How little I understood as a young person, when the bulk of my experience was as a student or volunteer, just how demanding working life could be. I imagine that being a stay-at-home wife and mother is more like my younger life, when I was responsible primarily for my own business and not everybody else’s.

bread and water

I know a younger woman who was in a middling profession and married a teacher/ carpenter several years ago. In 2011 they quit their jobs to travel through Latin America. They then came back to the States and, as far as I can tell, haven’t worked since. He’s dabbling in writing and looking into it as a career; she’s considering something along the same lines. But she’s also trying to get pregnant.

I must say, it’s difficult for me not to ask, “Where is the money coming from?” Of course I can’t do it– it’s impolite– although a couple of people did ask me how I was surviving during my time off.

Does anyone else encounter these mysterious folks who seem not to need to work to survive (but there’s no obvious gilded background)?

the re-entry

Last week marked the end of my time away from the workforce. Heading back to work a month shy of a year off. I believe I had a total of one afternoon of paid employment during all this time, but I worked my tail off on my own goals.

Needless to say, I’ve had to hustle pretty hard this past month to make arrangements for my condo, sign a lease here, arrange for transport for myself and my belongings, get my car and license switched over, change my address with all the various entities, set up the internet and WiFi and utilities, assemble and arrange furniture, and keep myself fed through all of it. Moving is hellish, but then one day, it’s done.

I did make a couple of car trips to see some old friends in the area, and I also took some time to study the various schedules and fees of dance and yoga studios and gyms in my new area. I even tried out and signed up for a few. I also found the farmer’s markets and a hairstylist and some Spanish and tennis groups.

Being unemployed this past year and thus left mostly to my own devices prepared me well for another period of solo transition. It’s a little weird, I guess, but I’m used to it.

I would like to cultivate a different attitude toward work this time around. I hope to set up some savings plans and then forget about strategizing for the future. I’d like to reconceptualize my time at work as part of my real life instead of something separate from it.

I was, overall, quite content this past year cooking, writing, volunteering, and studying instead of working. I don’t want to lose that sense of contentment and hope I can carry it with me through my reentry into the world of full-time employment.