thebitterbabe

never married, over forty, a little bitter

Category: hobbies

the anomaly

My new place of residence is quite pleasant. It feels like a friendly small town. People are easygoing and welcoming. There are lots of nice restaurants and shops and farmers’ markets and plenty of opportunities for yoga and dance and tennis. And, of course, there’s the beach. I meet a lot of straight men, though most are married or divorced.

It is a different lifestyle from the anonymous, urban, and gay-friendly one I’ve been living for the past two decades, both in the center of L.A. and in the hip city I just moved away from. If I want to go to an art gallery, jazz bar, alt-comedy show, art film, or museum, I am, for the most part, looking at driving an hour into the city.

Although in the last few years I was only taking advantage of those things about once a week, it is true that “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” I had stopped going out almost entirely as my job search dragged on this past fall, so I am somewhat used to spending my time cooking and studying instead, but this will still be a bit of an adjustment.

I do feel like a bit of an anomaly here as I find my way.

nonattachment

It’s been more than a year that I’ve done an hour of kundalini yoga (just about) every single day. I can tell it’s had an impact.

It’s subtle, but I have a general feeling of warm contentment, and even when I’m completely stressed out, the feelings of anger and frustration are muted.

If a spirit were to appear tomorrow, tell me I was going to pass away, and give me the option of either traveling to the next dimension or returning to earth in any scenario of my choosing, I would most certainly choose the former.

I don’t know if these feelings of non-attachment to this planet mean I’m enlightened or defeated.

I do know that I only felt a slight pang when a childhood friend emailed me pictures today of her two gorgeous children.

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.

erasure

Yet when things are too intense, when I cannot do anything productive, I can still blog the emotional upheavals and anxieties of my current and changing existence. I compulsively blog through the slog and sludge of my days. Anais Nin’s “opium habit” of her diary that Otto Rank wanted to cure her from. Gratifying to know I have readers at the other end, fellow writers from around the world writing me little notes of encouragement in the comments sections. The Internet cages me. The Internet also allows me to communicate through the day, a dialogue. It allows me to fight against my own erasure.

– Kate Zambreno, Heroines, pp. 173-174

blooming

When I first moved here, it was difficult for me to read the local weekly, as I still felt too strongly attached to L.A. Everywhere else felt like a step down. It took me a while to move on emotionally and to feel like I could invest in this city again.

Within the last six months, however, I’ve been able to “bloom where I’m planted,” and just recently a mid-level job opened within about three miles from my home at my old organization. It would be the perfect job at the perfect time. I’m wrapping up Spanish II and have signed up for a night course of Spanish III in the spring. I could continue volunteering at the farm or at the very least subscribe to a weekly CSA box, and I also have my eye on a community garden within walking distance from my home. My condo is finally all fixed up, and I have a small empty room that could be easily transformed into a sewing space.

But the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray. I continue getting signs and signals that the door at my old org is closed. Next week I fly back to L.A. for a high-level post that I’d have a hard time turning down. My old company there is also calling, and I can’t put them off much longer.

If I have to abandon ship, do I lose all? If I get the upcoming job, I can’t foresee having the time or space to sew. Ditto with gardening. I don’t think I’d have the time or opportunities to work on a farm there, and Spanish III is not offered online.

All is not lost however. I could still subscribe to a CSA box and roast and cook up healthy vegetables using the time-saving techniques I have perfected during this sojourn. I can still apply the healthy principles I picked up at the cooking class I took back in March. I could find a Spanish practice group, practice with co-workers, or continue working through the textbook on my own.

I think I’ll survive a replant and bloom again.

priorities

I couldn’t have said this better…

Over 50…Are We Now Invisible?

Posted: 7/24/2013 1:27:54 PM
First off, you are not missing anything not attending singles events. Nothing to be gained. Message 6 sums it up pretty well.

I am 46 and started dating at 42 after being out off the market for 20 plus years. Invisibility starts in Los Angeles alot earlier..so the idea of being 50 doesnt bother me! Will probably feel like it does now. But, remember…alot of men are married now..this is a different era in people’s lives. This isnt the 20’s or 30’s where there is still that push to “start your life”..people are now IN their lives. I’m finding many married men flirting and flatly offering up…not a situation I am looking for, but I can see if we were all single, I’d probably be much busier dating..but as it stands, many men are simply in relationships, or not fit as dating material..socially backwards, dont know how to relate to women, etc.

What I decided to do was dump the singles and online stuff and just join interest groups. I go hiking twice a week, and I’ve had dates as a result. But there is no pressure..its not a singles thing..so you can talk casually, see people week after week and get to know them gradually. Feels more natural.

I also have just removed dating as a major priority in my life. I spend more time with my hobbies, exercise, work, other projects. I take care of myself and accept compliments and keep my ears and eyes open, but dating just is not the focus now..I’ve learned chances of a normal healthy relationship with an available man have been cut drastically, either because of my age or because alot of people are already involved…maybe a combo of both.

You have to find happiness in other areas of life, and if you DO start dating, be discerning..dont hang around someone who is not good for you because you dont think you’ll ever find anyone else.

Another thing I have learned is that despite my loneliness, I’ve found it is a far more lonely feeling being with someone who isnt right for you than being single and willing to wait for something loving, healthy and real.

homemaking

Over the holidays I saw an old friend who is married with three kids. She seems quite happy, although she has little downtime with all the housework. When I mentioned that I won’t be having children, she replied with, “You don’t know that.”

Ahem. I’m almost forty-four with no relationship in sight. I think I do, in fact, know that. It seems a little nuts to me that people would think otherwise!

Another friend of mine here is a single mom of a child who is now in high school. She has spent the bulk of the last fifteen or so years building a life around him. Outside of one disastrous relationship, she hasn’t dated. Instead, she has created a cozy home and cooks healthy meals on a daily basis. She routinely takes her child on fun and educational outings and trips. It seems like a rewarding life, and certainly it is a socially-sanctioned one.

Unfortunately for me, once again my life is up in the air, and I’m unsure where my home will be in 2014. I’m flying out to L.A. this month for an interview, and I’m waiting to hear back about a few possibilities in this city. If I do move back to L.A., I’ll miss the “homesteading” vibe of this place. As articles such as this one illustrate, it’s a growing trend in smaller cities:

http://sustainablecitiescollective.com/jeffmcintirestrasbu/153901/top-five-us-cities-urban-homesteading

Regardless of where I end up, I’m trying to adopt the mindset of my single-mom friend, minus the kid. It’s not an easy thing to do without that central organizing principle, but I’m creating a focus on my home as a peaceful sanctuary–one that is clean, quiet, comfortable, and filled with good food–and on enriching experiences that have nothing particularly to do with dating. And I hope to carry this idea of sanctuary with me wherever I go.

solid earth

I spent a sixth day on the farm this week; I feel like I’ve completed a continuing ed course in organic farming. One of the middle-aged women I volunteered with before took the (extremely) part-time job that was open at the farm and is, yes, driving people around in a truck (the task I couldn’t see myself doing). She does contract work for a living so it was easy for her to add in the minimal hours. There’s been some bad weather, however, and she told me she has already had some second thoughts about accepting the job.

I’ve learned a lot about cooking with vegetables from this endeavor, and I now know of a group I can turn to for training in backyard gardens if I do end up moving to the country. It’s been a worthwhile experience, but, as with the rest of my sabbatical, it feels like it’s coming to an end.

And I am ready for this six-month sojourn to wrap up. I’m lonely. I need to start a job and get rooted somewhere. I’ll be lonely if I go back to Los Angeles, I’ll be lonely if I move to the country, and I’ll be in my same lonely place if I remain where I am, but with a job I’ll have a starting place to work from at least.

I’ve had enough of being “up in the air.” I need some grounding.

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.

minimum requirements

As I begin my nationwide search for a job, I have been pondering where I would be willing to live. I have come to the conclusion that, in my mid-forties, my requirements are few. I need access to outdoor recreation, a good grocery store and ideally a farmer’s market, and, if not a dance studio, at least a yoga studio.

That’s pretty much it. I am basing that on how I spend my time here– cooking, dancing, going to yoga, swimming in natural swimming holes and biking and hiking and playing tennis. And reading, which I can do anywhere.

I see one married friend and two older divorced friends on any kind of regular basis here. I could have those same friends in a suburb or a small town. L.A. was full of singles, but it didn’t really get me anywhere, and other than going to shows, I spent most of my time doing the above. I rarely took advantage of the good restaurants there because I had few friends to go to them with; if I did utilize them, it was to order in.

I have, of necessity, become almost entirely self-contained.