I have woken up on this leap year day feeling miserable. I can’t think of one spectacular thing to do today that isn’t inappropriate (a tattoo is very tempting for some bizarre reason but ridiculous) and have nobody to propose to, so instead I have been fretting, since 5am, about where my life is going and what I’m going to do about it all and worrying about everything.
Five years ago, almost to the day my Decree Absolute came through. When I had counselling pre my divorce the counsellor used to ask me where I wanted to be in five years time. I think I must have been visualising clear azure waters and pale sand and warm sun so hard that my wish has actually come true – it’s just that the bloody genie got the wrong person and it’s my son that is the lucky recipient of my mental powers because he is the one who is currently floating around the Great Barrier Reef and off to Airlie Beach and thinking he’s in heaven. NOT ME.
Which is FINE. OBVIOUSLY. I AM VERY HAPPY FOR HIM. I can’t be there, I have other children to look after. Responsibilities. Work to do. Bills to pay. Daily life to lead. Issues to deal with.
Things don’t feel at all right at the moment. I have mucho worries. My mother, whilst being supportive isn’t helping the situation. When my father was alive I’d ring him to discuss my latest drama or concern and he’d talk me through it step by step. He’d come up with a practical plan. Give me some solid advice. For the last few months, because of the issues I am dealing with the moment (that cannot be openly discussed for various reasons) she mostly sighs a lot and says “What a mess” in lots of different ways. Like, “WHAT. A. MESS” or “what a meeeesssssssssss”. It makes things feel worse somehow. Time is going by and I appear to be making no progress.
I have a number of friends teetering on the verge of separating from their partners at the moment. I don’t feel like I am able to give them any positive advice about the future. Yes, we all know people who have found their soulmate later in life and couldn’t be happier, but it’s not particularly common or realistic. It’s a big scary world out there and it is changing rapidly. There are many more younger single women around – those who took it for granted that they would spend their 20’s and 30’s finding themselves and building their career and having fun are suddenly finding that there are not too many men left waiting for them as they reach the stage of wanting to settle down. Kate Bollick wrote a very popular article in The Atlantic Magazine recently all about the sea change afoot that is “every bit as wrenching and irreversible as the Industrial Revolution”. “Immensely liberating and immensely scary – when it comes to what people actually want and expect from marriage and relationships and how they organise their sexual and romantic lives, all the old ways have broken down”. 43% of Generation Xers think that marriage is becoming obsolete and many haven’t dealt with the matter “in a timely fashion”. This new scarcity of suitable men she says “disrupts what economists call the ‘marriage market’ in a way that in fact narrow the available choices. This shrinking pool of traditionally ‘marriageable’ men is dramatically changing our social landscape and producing startling dynamics in the marriage market”. She also says that when confronted with “a surplus of women, men become promiscuous and unwilling to commit to a monogamous relationship”. Her opinion is that the “the more successful a man is (or thinks he is) the less interested he is in commitment”. She as a gorgeous, clever, nearly 40 year old woman who has had to accept that she might always be single and is learning to accept that prospect and thrive on her own. But. Where does that leave the single ageing divorcee parents? In a very messy world with few choices and all sorts of added complications to consider I suspect.
I DON’T HAVE A PLAN and I feel I’ve lost my way a bit of late. Time is rushing by and I am not in control. I don’t want to take up sailing or Karate to find a partner. In fact I don’t really think I want a partner at all but the danger is that the more I get used to my own company the more difficult it will be to let someone else in….and that is just in my fantasy world of assuming there is anyone out there suitable enough (i.e. single, own hair, teeth, friends, not too much baggage, doesn’t snore, have horrid feet or an STD, that I can trust).
I think I might just go back to bed. Perhaps I just got out of the wrong side of the bed. You can do that when you sleep in a double bed on your own.
I’ll try the other side tomorrow.