Monday, October 4, 2010

Fear of a Binary Planet


Since my son and his partner have had a child I have felt more and more that I need to find a family of my own. It is nothing that they have done, it is I imagine a passage many single women my age have discovered.

For the last 34 years I have had my son’s interests at the center of my life. That is not to say I have not been living my own life, but so much of my concern in this world has been about him and his life. The feeling of love and care has over the years transferred to his partner, and now to my granddaughter.

Still, this is now their family, and I am not excluded, but the central place is gone. This is natural, I assume, as I have no peers who are in this situation. Many of my friends have died, and most of the women I know chose not to have children, or are not in my age group.
Where do I belong now?

My son, his wife and baby moved a thousand miles away for his doctoral work. I would follow to live closer by, but the rental market is difficult there. I am suddenly confronted with my own life and no near connection to relatives.

Not that I ever felt connected to family much. My family was fractured by narcissistic parents who offered little education of familial love to their children. My brother and I do what we can to be warm towards one another, but the damage shows and it is sad.

Maybe I should have done what my friend Kathy did: plan for the future. She got married after 50. Her mother was aging; she knew that someday she would be alone. Many women of my generation have been married for decades. They can have their “empty nest” syndrome with partners, and friends.

My friends are decades younger than I, I have no partner, I did not prepare for my future. Now I am alone. My young friends are just that-- young, and busy feathering nests of career and future undertakings. The future is theirs.

My future seems mostly behind me today. I don’t feel like this on all days, but the thoughts come more often lately.

Where do I belong?

As a woman nearing sixty, it would seem that I don’t belong much of anywhere. I have heard the sixty is the new forty crap; that only makes me feel that I need to run out to find a new wardrobe, a dermatologist for Botox, etc., and a man before it is utterly too late. No one wants to walk that final stretch alone.

I know that it would be easier to have someone who has agreed to go the distance with you toward the unknown, but if that is not possible, if it would not work even if it was possible, is one (am I) doomed to live in some kind of netherworld until I die?

The answer seems to be find pleasure, sustenance, and support in my work. Well, as a person who was never career-driven the actual work I do to stay afloat will not float my soul’s survival. The work I do for pleasure and sustenance is what you see here, and writing is a lonely business.

So, to avoid more loneliness?

Ach, I can hear the chorus already: volunteer, reach out, join join join!
I was listening to a speech over the weekend in which the speaker used the Noah’s Ark story to support social change. Nice idea, but all I hear in my head is the damned two by two. I see Cinderella’s little people happily heigh-hoing two by two.

I am one. Singular. Maybe a sensation? Okay, so if you don’t know Broadway hits you don’t get it, but the upshot is the hag with her Tarot cards, black cat (my cat is actually black) and warts (I think I see them!). For all the world, I want to find a new path in my life that is meaningful, fun, and vibrant.

Is this too much to ask?