thebitterbabe

never married, over forty, a little bitter

Category: blogs

flying debris

With this blog, I’ve tried to reflect on my experiences with fairness, compassion, honesty, clearheadedness, and nuance, all while maintaining a tone and style that protected anonymity all around.

I think I’ve done a pretty good job of it, and I think some readers have gotten a lot out of it and have, in return, contributed insightful comments.

But I’ll be honest; it’s gotten so that if I post something real and personal and substantive– the very appeal of this blog, I would think– I have to brace myself for the bullying, the lectures, and the sexism that are sure to result. It’s been a good test in that, at this age, I can see through a lot of it. I can also rationally decide whether or not the opinions expressed are valid to me; I no longer believe that every opinion has merit just because it is expressed forcefully.

Is it any wonder, though, why I find myself so attracted to people who display some sensitivity and charm? The irony is that so many of the commenters think I should lower my standards, while their comments often prove the opposite– that you can’t be too picky when it comes to who you share your life with.

In the words of Brene Brown, not everyone deserves your story:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/06/brene-brown-advice-vulnerability_n_3392414.html

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the culling

http://blog.socialjane.com/2014/01/Friendships-in-our-40s.html

I am not sure if this stems from the fact that when you turn 40 you gain a different sense of your own mortality or if people just become grumpier, but there is something about your 40s that makes it harder to sustain unfulfilling friendships. I have watched several of my other friends go through this and for each there came a point at which they became much more particular about whom they were willing to spend their available time with. For me, this has meant letting go of toxic people, frenemies, and people who were nice enough but just didn’t add much to my life. If you are used to having a large group of people you call friends, this culling of the herd can leave you feeling a little lost and lonely, even if it was your choice.

the back nine

http://www.golocalprov.com/lifestyle/dear-john-midlife-boredom-how-do-i-get-excited-about-life-again

…nothing’s really wrong, but nothing is really great either. Like my job: I make excellent money in a prestigious career, but the truth is, I hate it. Quitting is not an option because I need this income, so I just grin and bear it. It’s a fake grin, though. I feel terrible thinking of all the good, struggling people who would kill for my job, but even knowing that, I feel how I feel. I don’t have a girlfriend, but I date as much as I want to, and it’s the same thing. Nobody really excites me. I feel like I’m on the back nine of my life and I’m just running out the clock, to use a couple of sports metaphors. To meet me, you wouldn’t know I feel this way, and it is a low-level kind of thing. I don’t think I’m depressed (because I feel like all my feelings are grounded in reality – I have a reason to feel this way) and don’t misunderstand me; this is not a desperate cry for help. I just can’t seem to shake this feeling that everything really good that was ever going to happen to me has already happened, and now everything pales in comparison.

cuanto cuesta

This is why I keep up my Spanish:

http://www.livingabroadincostarica.com/blog/2011/08/a-reader-asks-can-i-live-on-20kyear-in-costa-rica/

At present I work as a metal worker. I am a shop foreman in a steel/aluminum plant with 30 men under me. I have always been a man of the left (social democrat, democratic socialist, trade union type). I want to simplify my life, I am done with the rat race, and I just cannot do it any more. I want to live intentionally. If you know any community or communal style living, like a religious or spiritual group, I may be interested.

I am 58, and have about 4 years before I can get Social Security, but have a bit of money in my 401k plan (I lost a fair amount in the stock exchange). How much would I need a year to live, renting a house somewhere in a town outside San Jose or around La Fortuna? I have in mind a smaller two-bedroom home with a small yard for my Collies. Could I find something for $500 – $600 a month? I would also need to buy into the national health insurance; would that be about $60.00 a month? I own two motorcycles–I would ship both to Costa Rica, also mountain and racing bicycles.

Could I do it all on $1,600 a month, or about $20,000 a year?

half truths

http://confessionsofanimperfectlife.com/2013/11/18/of-false-bravery-and-half-truths/

It’s difficult to reconcile: being proud of what you can do alone, and desperately wanting to not have to do it.

I wrote earlier this year about how turning 35 meant letting go of a life I had imagined for myself and replacing it with something else, something I was already living. But the real truth there? (Again, the but). I stopped short of the part where I admit that even in my happiness, there is still sadness. That I do still want a husband, and I do still want children. I have accepted that I don’t have them now, and I have made my life work without them because that’s what I had to do. It wasn’t brave, or strong, it just was.

Because you adapt, and you let go, and you accept, or you won’t be able to get out of bed in the morning.

pencil to paper

http://thoughtcatalog.com/katie-devine/2013/09/im-35-and-im-glad-i-dont-have-kids-or-a-husband/

I am the sales rep, I am the apartment dweller, I am the car leaser. Nothing too permanent, nothing that lasts. It’s a life lived in pencil instead of pen. It can be erased in an instant.

I’m not where I always thought I would be at 35.

the burbs

The burbs. They are easier, safer, less jangling on the nerves. The single men who are around may be more serious about relationships, if I could find any common ground. But with a lifestyle tailored for marriage and family, it’s hard to fit.

http://nypost.com/2012/07/23/you-go-girl-out-to-burbs-for-real-romance/

“In Connecticut, they’re just very normal, very sweet, very unassuming. They don’t have game. They’re steak-and-potatoes American. They don’t care about fashion, they’re not metrosexual,” said Kassner, who hopped on a train to Stamford, Conn., on July 12 for an outdoor concert featuring alt-rocker Matisyahu in order to meet a decent guy.

High-end matchmakers said it’s a matter of time before heading to the suburbs is no longer considered a trend — and becomes the norm.

http://www.nytimes.com/1995/12/27/nyregion/not-in-manhattan-and-not-married-singles-who-prefer-the-suburbs.html?src=pm&pagewanted=1

Carolyn Grossman, a 40ish executive secretary, complained that married people segregate themselves from singles, then “stereotype single people as being drinkers and party people.” In the singles enclave in South Norwalk where she lives, she said, town authorities more readily tolerate noise than in a family neighborhood.

“They just don’t seem to have any conception that there are other people besides themselves,” she said of married couples.

Ms. Thompson believes that suburban single women are distrusted by their married counterparts.

“Even if you go to a P.T.A. meeting, the husbands are carefully guarded,” she said. “You’re made to feel you should stay on the outside.”

http://www.nextavenue.org/blog/after-superstorm-spinster-finds-community

Being a single, childless woman in the New York City suburbs has never been easy. My neighbors all moved here “for the children” — for the quality public education, backyard swing sets and cars that didn’t require usurious garage bills. They wonder, not unreasonably, what I’m doing here. I sometimes wonder, too, even 16 years after moving back to New York following a decade in California.

At the time, I was unwilling to return to a dark hamster cage in the city I had lived in most of my adult life, where nature is largely confined to parks and potted plants on fire escapes. But once I reached a certain age — I’m now 65 — living here became more than just a matter of being a social pariah, with few friends whose lives don’t revolve around their families. Sometimes it’s dangerous.

special deliveries

One of the first things I did upon my last two moves was to stock a cabinet with ramen and ginger ale and crackers. When I lived in L.A., all the restaurants delivered, which was wonderful in general, but especially so when I was sick. I had no guarantees of hot soup delivery in my last abode and in this one, so I stocked up. Thankfully I’ve since found a few places that are able to deliver me hot noodle soup when the need arises:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/29/aging-in-place_n_2563750.html

So what have I learned from a hellish two weeks?
People our age who choose to live alone belong in cities, with plentiful take-out-food options, friends close by and apartment building superintendents to deal with the rats in the basement.

the hipster

I miss hipsters. In all their various guises they are easy to poke fun at it, but over the last twenty-five years I’ve thrived most when living in the hipster corridors of the United States. Romantically, no, but my failure in that realm cuts across all social realms, so I can’t pin that one entirely on the hip.

The thing about hipsters is they are obsessives. They obsess about music, movies, books, fashion, food, art, and ideas, and they are attracted to the novel and to alternative lifestyles.

When you remain single and childless, what else are you gonna do? Those have been my interests too.

The question is, over the age of forty, can you be a hipster? It’s a look and stance that doesn’t age particularly well, although aging is hard on everyone. Perhaps one’s hipsterdom hardens even as the young move on to various new iterations (http://madmommamoogacat.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/confessions-of-an-aging-hipster/). It does seem that it’s harder to get as excited about all things new as when gets older.

Most hipsters, like most people, have kids, although it seems they do so on the later side. They then turn to creating a hip family.

What about the rest of us? We don’t really fit in at a lot of the usual hipster haunts anymore, especially as older women. On the other hand, it’s really hard for me to relate to people who have spent the past several decades primarily focused on marriage and kids and careers and sports, while I was intently reading multiple books a week, obsessing over certain films and music albums and alternative social scenes, and attending all kinds of unusual events.

Where’s the commonality? I have become a certain type of person after spending the first twenty-five years of my emerging adulthood in a certain type of way. To completely lose touch with all that would be to lose who I am as a person.

surrendering

The forties and fifties seem to be a common time for people to surrender to their inner introvert:

http://equestrianink.blogspot.com/2013/04/on-being-hermit.html

In my old age (I’m 55) I am just plain happy at home with my husband and son and my horses and other critters and my garden. Doesn’t matter if I’m riding or doing chores, I can fill hours messing with the horses and/or wandering around the garden observing what’s in bloom (in the spring) or ready to be harvested (summer and fall). Truthfully I can fill happy hours watching the spring breeze toss the treetops on the ridges, or watching the goldfish dart around the pond, or the quail pecking in the riding ring, or the lizards catching bugs. I could seriously go on all day listing tons of small events here on my mini-ranch that happily engross me. I like to write, so often I write about these things. I like to take photos…and sometimes I post them here and on facebook. And I like to sit on the porch with a cup of tea in the early morning and a margarita in the evening watching the light change. I am never bored.

http://septembermay.blogspot.com/2012/04/finding-love-as-introvert.html

Thank god for aging. It wasn’t until I got into my 40s that I began surrendering to the hand I’d been dealt, which involved a long and arduous process of struggling, in earnest, with who I really was. And I’ve come quite a distance. Many years of solitude and introspection have enabled me to get out of my own way. My character has finally begun to take shape and find expression. And I am far more interested in living my own life than anyone else’s, even with all its uncertainty. For the first time in my life, I have found liberation in not knowing. I’m going to be 50 in June, and I’m very, very excited.

[…]

I have become someone I never thought I would be and frankly, spent much of my life fighting: a deeply sensitive, unconventional outsider who needs substantial alone time in order to assimilate, integrate and refuel.

That makes finding love extraordinarily difficult. I have spent the vast majority of my adult life on my own, outside the bounds of any conventional relationship. Couples who have found happiness in spending most of their days together are foreign to me; I cannot imagine living that kind of life.