Via reader Fay, a story of a woman in her late thirties looking for love:
Nearly three decades later—even though my career as a UN aid worker had seen me bounce all around the world and have all sorts of trysts—I was yet to meet this fictional man. And yet, thanks to my over-active imagination, he’d amassed an ever-growing list of wonderful qualities.
Where-oh-where was this romantic man, this tall and intelligent Indiana Jones, who also happened to be funny, clean, gainfully employed, multilingual, emotionally astute and incredibly deep? An old soul who exuded confidence, honesty and patience, and didn’t feel an iota of insecurity around a woman who had likely travelled more than he had?
Him? He got married while you were gallivanting around the world with the UN having “all sorts of trysts”.
I’d looked for him in bars, in airport lounges, at second hand book shops. I went on blind dates, where my anxiety over my apparently dwindling marriageability and fertility led me to trying to talk myself into suitors who I would never have considered a decade earlier.
Well yes, that dating pool does tend to dry up, just as Grandma warned. So she gave up, but what to do instead? Emphasis is mine:
Once I made the decision to end the punitive (not to mention addictive) search for romantic love, once I decided that I was enough on my own, everything shifted.
My soul-searching took me deep into the wilderness, from meditating and studying Ayurveda at an ashram in Kerala, to working on a farm on Mount Etna, to going on a solo-safari in southern Tanzania.
During that time, I focused my time and energy on, well, me, developing a heightened sense of self-awareness. Stepping away from the demands of modern city living and social pressure to couple up induced a total spiritual transformation – a journey on which I decided to give myself permission to pursue happiness and meaning in nontraditional ways.
As I said a few weeks ago:
For most people, “travelling” – as opposed to simply going on holiday – is something you do in your twenties before settling down into a proper job and/or family life. But for single women, it’s something they do well into middle-age and perhaps beyond, usually going to exotic locations where they talk in lofty terms about spirituality. There must be a pretty big market for this: reasonably wealthy women who have nothing else to do during their annual holidays but jet off somewhere exotic for a few weeks or months of “finding themselves”. I don’t think they’re going abroad to get laid, but they do seem a bit lost, as if going to a nice location will help fill the gigantic hole in their lives back home.
I’ve noticed you don’t see many middle-aged men going “travelling”, it’s nearly always women, and always alone.
Heh. On several occasions I’ve had women like this yell “You don’t know me!” when I’ve given them a brief, unsolicited assessment of their life situation. Alas, it seems I do. Fortunately, in this case there’s a happy ending:
We need to be enough on our own, and to realise that in the end, we’re never alone if we are connected to the deepest part of ourselves. That’s why at the end of my journey, I married myself – on a beach in Zanzibar, of course.
Which just leaves one question: tabby, Siamese, or tortoiseshell?