December 30, 2019

"There’s a clear irony here, given how much thought I’ve put into what things — art, interiors, people — should look like, that I’ve come to a place..."

"... in which I no longer know what my own life should look like. I literally do not know what to do with myself and what I should believe in anymore, and this does, in fact, seem kind of frivolous, given the very urgent concerns of the society we live in.... (I chose a career in the dying industry that is print journalism and it’s too late to choose a new one). I’m unable to save money for retirement and I get very anxious when I think about the future. Worse, I’ve lost my sense of meaning to myself. I feel like the culture has moved on without me.... I don’t own a home and no one needs me; I am nobody’s mother and now I am nobody’s child, as my parents are no longer living. My friends and peers have gone on to have families, to marry and stop working.... On good days, I can take a yoga class and still feel like life’s potential is still just around the corner if I’m just open to it; on bad ones, I feel such futility, like I’ve squandered my own youth and beauty in the hall of mirrors that is our consumerist society. Am I simply being solipsistic here? Or is this what getting older is about, acknowledging one’s comedown to the brutal reality of life?"

From an anonymous letter written by a 40-year-old woman to the "culture therapist" at the NYT Style Magazine.

The NYT writer who answers this letter says: "[Y]our way of seeing thing... seems not wholly true or right or your own, and is in dire need of a refresh. It feels reductive and merciless, informed too much by the very aspects of our culture that have become deadening to you. I wonder if what you’re craving is a less placid form of beauty, one that’s in keeping with the richer and more complex person you have become — art that is more than a flawlessly lit and composed image and that demands more of you than a well-trained set of eyes."

That is, the problem is not so much that she's centered her life on beauty but that she needs to upgrade her concept of beauty.

115 comments:

Openidname said...

No spouse, no children -- another victim of feminism.

alanc709 said...

It's tough living a shallow life and learning the pool has no water.

Annie C. said...

sol·ip·sism
/ˈsäləpˌsizəm/

noun
the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.

Stop staring at your fucking navel and look outside yourself or you will continue as a worthless parasite on the earth.

Amy said...

As I read this, the pivotal sentence was "I am nobody's child and nobody's mother" and yet it seemed that the relationship element of the question was ignored by the advisor. Perhaps that is because the answers are too hard to bear. Very sad.

Bay Area Guy said...

"I don’t own a home and no one needs me; I am nobody’s mother and now I am nobody’s child, as my parents are no longer living. My friends and peers have gone on to have families, to marry and stop working...."

Classic New York liberal, who bought all that seemingly benign liberalism and woke up one day with nothing.

Suggest you go to chuch, babe. Ya might learn something, ya might learn that most of what you learned from your liberal buddies was a lie.

LordSomber said...

"Am I simply being solipsistic here? Or is this what getting older is about, acknowledging one’s comedown to the brutal reality of life?"

Yes, you're being solipsistic.
That said, it is what getting older is about, though "acknowledging one’s comedown to the brutal reality of life" is something most mature adults deal with before they turn 30.

DrSquid said...

She needs a man. Hey, I think rhardin may be eligible.

Ann Althouse said...

"As I read this, the pivotal sentence was "I am nobody's child and nobody's mother" and yet it seemed that the relationship element of the question was ignored by the advisor. "

She’s got everything she needs
She’s an artist, she don’t look back
She’s got everything she needs
She’s an artist, she don’t look back
She can take the dark out of the nighttime
And paint the daytime black...
She never stumbles
She’s got no place to fall
She’s nobody’s child
The Law can’t touch her at all

Ann Althouse said...

I hate to be so unromantic, but I think the key fact is "I chose a career in the dying industry that is print journalism."

If her work arranging photographs of interior decoration and so forth had entailed a steady climb in prestige and money within a healthy industry, I don't think she'd be having all this anomie.

But, yes, Hallmark movie: she needs a husband and children to exchange care with.

Temujin said...

Step 1: Leave NY.
Step 2: Move to an unlikely place like...Iowa or South Carolina or Missouri (do not move from NY to Cali, Oregon, or Washington)
Step 3: Quit Twitter. Drop reading the NY Times and other 'leading' left-sided journals. Same for right sided journals.
Step 4: Live life in small steps and re-find the artist in you based on what's in you, not what you think society wants out of you.
Step 5: Learn to appreciate the small things you have around you (not NY, but where you move to). Life is not over when you say you're done. Life will let you know when it's over. So go live a life. There's much more to come.
Step 6: Eat a lot of Doritos.

Michael K said...

My daughter will be 40 next year. She has a new baby to keep her busy. She might have some advice for this woman.

Jupiter said...

"I am nobody’s mother and now I am nobody’s child,"

"I feel such futility, like I’ve squandered my own youth and beauty in the hall of mirrors that is our consumerist society."

The promise of feminism; a life wasted producing garbage to sell to idiots.

Roughcoat said...

I'm mildly surprised to find myself sympathetic to this women. I understand her anxieties and sorrows because I share some of them, or aspects of them. We all do. We all have our disappointments and regrets. E.g., biology and an unkind fate conspired to keep my wife and I childless, and that's a hard thing to accept much less to make sense of. There are other things. Life is hard and then you die -- sometimes that seems to be all there is. But that is not all there is, and to remind myself of that I like to recite T.P. Cameron Wilson's great and quietly uplifting poem "Magpies in Picardy," especially the penultimate section:

He said that still through chaos
Works on the ancient plan,
And that two things have altered not
Since first the world began-
The beauty of the wild green earth
And the bravery of man.

Phidippus said...

21st Century problems. So many wealthy, comfortable people leading completely empty, meaningless lives, unable to find a way out of their misery, and utterly lacking in self-knowledge.

She needs to learn gratitude and the art of turning one's attention outward to others.

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius would be a good place to start, if she's not a religious person (which is how it appears).

Phidippus said...

Well stated Roughcoat.

I will look up the poem, thanks.

RigelDog said...

Pretty f'n sad. She's trapped, still, by the very strategies and values that have proven to be hollow. Obviously as a healthy woman of 40, she's got a tremendous potential still ahead of her. But she has to let go of the remnants of her fake life and move someplace real, where she can put down roots and find community; maybe even a life companion. Start doing work that isn't ephemeral and that provides for retirement.

Josephbleau said...

I think she’s pretty much fooked for good.

Roughcoat said...

Phidippus:

Thanks, and good on you. I envy you encountering Wilson's poem for the first time. Keep in mind as you read it that is World War I poem -- a powerful and beautifully poignant reflection on the Western Front experience. Then read this analysis:

http://war-poets.blogspot.com/2010/08/t-p-cameron-wilson-magpies-in-picardy.html

Laslo Spatula said...

It's the culture her friends, peers, and the people she no doubt admires, made.

Now she realizes that they have no need for her, and she doesn't have the money to buy her way in and continue the facade.

A few years ago I would have had empathy for her.

However, after three-plus years of her friends, peers, and the people she admires, labeling those who view the world differently than her as racists, deplorables, and Nazis -- the best I can do is hope karma at least leaves a tip on her nightstand after fucking her in the ass.

We have seen the world you chose, from which you looked down on us for pointing out that it was shallow and had little to hold on to.

Where are her "I'm with her" and 'pussy-hat' friends? Or did she not realize that the 'bonding' was to make people feel righteous about themselves for a day, an opportunity for a few selfies to post online and get some 'likes' from strangers?

We no longer need women like you: you can be easily be replaced by a man claiming to be a woman, now.

Hopefully, you at least had the chance to have an abortion in the preceding decades, so you can have THAT lefty fulfillment to keep you warm. Because Pro-Choice means you can be efficiently discarded, too.

I am Laslo.

Roughcoat said...

Very harsh, Laslo. Maybe unduly so. Seems a nerve has been touched. Requires several assumptions to be made.

Probably right, though.

Still ...

SDaly said...

She wasn't being solipsistic in writing the letter, she was waking up from a life of solipsism, only to the have the advice columnist turn off the alarm.

I have a college-aged daughter. One of the things I am thankful for is that she had a job working with for a boss who was a 39 year-old single woman with a cat. After the summer was over, my daughter let us know that she did not want to end up like that, and while you never know what will happen, I expect that experience will shape her for the better going forward.

AllenS said...

Oh, stop it. This woman has a life. She just needs to learn how to code.

jnseward said...

The NY Times writer who answered her is in even worse shape than she is. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

Jupiter said...

I was meditating on this issue this morning. I was thinking, that birth control did, in fact, make a massive contribution to human freedom. It made it possible for people like me to do what we wanted to do, without suffering what we regarded as the consequences. Kind of like if we found a way to turn off gravity, so the planets could stop wheeling round those endless ellipses, and do what they really want to do, out in the freezing abyss.

Jupiter said...

Abortion was a big help, too. If it wasn't for abortion, I'd have grandchildren by now. I stuck my dick in a lot of crazy, back in the day. Thank -- well who? Who should I thank, for abortion?

Annie C. said...

Jupiter said...
Abortion was a big help, too. If it wasn't for abortion, I'd have grandchildren by now. I stuck my dick in a lot of crazy, back in the day. Thank -- well who? Who should I thank, for abortion?

You could give Bill Clinton a blow job.

Annie C. said...

Jupiter said...
Abortion was a big help, too. If it wasn't for abortion, I'd have grandchildren by now. I stuck my dick in a lot of crazy, back in the day. Thank -- well who? Who should I thank, for abortion?

You could give Bill Clinton a blow job.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Seems a nerve has been touched."

Yep.

Watching people try to blame Trump for the latest attacks against Jews in NYC is just the latest wafer for Monsieur Creosote.

The NY Times will eagerly spread the libel, for the glad consumption of the people who are the type to write anguished letters to the NYT Style magazine.

The Left has created a culture that is 100% Human Centipede.

It is well past time to start sewing them on the back end.

I am Laslo.

Char Char Binks said...

Too bad she's too old to learn to code.

Roughcoat said...

Laslo, I agree with you on all points. But I don't think what you said has any relevance to the woman in the article. Not to me, at any rate. In order for what you said to be relevant to me in that regard, I'd have to assume things about the woman that I don't feel comfortable in assuming.

The "Monsieur Creosote" reference is priceless!

Jupiter said...

Annie C. said...
"You could give Bill Clinton a blow job."

Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm not a journalist.

Roughcoat said...

I AM assuming your pronounce "wafer" as "wah-fur."

YoungHegelian said...

There were good reasons back in the day that people entered religious orders.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Midlife crisis.

She is not unique. 40 is still young. You have 20, 30..... maybe more years ahead. It is not too late to change. IF you truly want change. Stop being so afraid to change.

Listen to Temujin's advice up thread.

I might add. The best things may happen to you, if you just let them. Overthinking your life is the worst way to live it.



Owen said...

Roughcoat: What Phidippus said. I too plan to go find this poet and his work. The bit you quote is wonderfully musical, an elegiac piece for strings and woodwinds maybe, and so fitting to the thought. WW1 changed so much, and so much of the earlier sensibility --the notion of honor and even bravery-- was challenged. Now so much more irony. Taken in moderation irony is healthy. Too much and it becomes poison.

Anyway, I look forward to digging into this. Thanks.

Seeing Red said...

No sympathy whatsoever.

No children. No parents. Obviously no inheritance either.

The Carrie Bradshaw life.

No ties no responsibility just a good time girl.

I may not have saved much but I always saved something In my IRA.

What are the odds she mocked my way of life?



Roughcoat said...

Owen:

My pleasure, you're quite welcome.

I find the poem an affirmation of life and off all that is good and beautiful in life -- or, in the circumstances of what transpired in 1914-18, a reaffirmation. That what is good and beautiful in life endures despite the horrors that life sometimes offers up; and maybe endures and even exists because of those horrors. Otherwise, how to explain the beauty and wonder and existence of "the bravery of man"?

It's very much in keeping with Tolkien's notion that "evil oft will evil mar"; that beauty and horror, joy and sorrow are inextricably linked.

It is, it seems to me, a very mature and meaningful view of life. No matter what happens, the beauty of the wild green earth and the bravery of man will always endure, hence triumph; and they will endure and triumph because of what happens.

The poem calms me and gives me a glimpse into the Great Mystery. It is therefore and to my way of thinking one of the greatest poems ever conceived and written.

Roger Sweeny said...

My politics are probably very different but my heart goes out to this woman. She is hurting and doesn't know how to make it stop, feels empty and doesn't think she can ever not be. I hope she finds connection and sufficient happiness.

Laslo Spatula said...

"But I don't think what you said has any relevance to the woman in the article."

NYT culture.

She wrote into them with her tale of woe. As in, she is seeking advice from them: she believes what they say, and that they are respectable people, and can help her.

The NYT is typhoid, and the useful idiots who seek it out are carriers.

I am Laslo.

Roughcoat said...

One more. Second only to "Magpies in Picardy" in its effect and achievement is Yeats's "Among Schoolchildren." Final lines:

Labour is blossoming or dancing where
The body is not bruised to pleasure soul,
Nor beauty born out of its own despair,
Nor blear-eyed wisdom out of midnight oil.
O chestnut tree, great rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?

Roughcoat said...

Laslo: Again, I agree.

The issue of relevance is an issue for me alone.

Mark said...

Some key words --
I no longer know what my own life should look like. I literally do not know what to do with myself and what I should believe in anymore. . . I feel like the culture has moved on without me

What she "should" believe in -- which is apparently what the culture thinks she should believe in, not what she does believe in.

The ultimate freedom that was sold to her, she finds leads to emptiness, without any inherent, implicit meaning to her life simply by virtue of her being a woman human person.

It almost always ends in existential angst.

Mark said...

"But I don't think what you said has any relevance to the woman in the article."

There are clues enough to believe that Laslo is spot on. Pretentious, elitist words like "solipsistic" among them.

hstad said...

nn Althouse said..."...I hate to be so unromantic, but I think the key fact is "I chose a career in the dying industry that is print journalism." 12/30/19, 11:34 AM

Ann, although, 20% + college graduates study business and another 12% study Health Care and STEM is another 10% - over 50% of college degrees awarded are in useless Liberal Arts degrees which have limited job (and low pay) opportunities.

hstad said...

Althouse said..."...I hate to be so unromantic, but I think the key fact is "I chose a career in the dying industry that is print journalism." 12/30/19, 11:34 AM

Ann, although, 20% + college graduates study business and another 12% study Health Care and STEM is another 10% - over 50% of college degrees awarded are in useless Liberal Arts degrees which have limited job (and low pay) opportunities.

Roughcoat said...

Anyway, she seems a tortured soul, and I'm not keen on torture -- even if it is her just deserts.

Laslo Spatula said...

No worries, Roughcoat. Wasn't looking for agreement, just took it as an opportunity to clarify my thinking.

The NYT: from apologists for Stalin to eager participants in an attempted coup against the President.

They are consistent. As are their readers.

I am comfortable with a pox on both of those houses.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roughcoat said...

I am not, however, opposed to enhanced interrogation.

Is that relevant to this discussion? Zounds.

Mark said...

It is not too late to change. IF you truly want change.

That would require an entire change in worldview. And admitting that you were wrong about almost everything is tough to do.

Even people who are confronted with the evidence multiple times a day, and they see the harsh reality of their ideology put into destructive real life practice -- like a leftist seeing the corruptness of her side -- still they often persist in their ideology.

bagoh20 said...

Turning so much attention inward at the expense of all else will leave you like this. Find someone who needs help and become the person they need. If people are too hard for you, rescue a dog, and then another. They need so little to be saved, and the rewards are an excellent return on investment.

bagoh20 said...

When I was forty I thought it was too late to do something different, but I was wrong. 40 is practically teenage now.

bagoh20 said...

"I no longer know what my own life should look like. I literally do not know what to do with myself and what I should believe in anymore... I feel like the culture has moved on without me "

I have to admit that I feel that too. So much that I thought was enough: success, wealth, friends, family, work,... Getting it all is not as satisfying as I expected. The grass is still greener. Now I want none it. I want nothing, nobody, no goals, no expectations, just peace and the unknown are what I crave. And it does feel like much of the culture is lost now. So few people, specially the young, value what was always beautiful to me.

Beach Brutus said...

It's never too late to start over.

Phidippus said...

"...the best I can do is hope karma at least leaves a tip on her nightstand after fucking her in the ass."

Our friend Laslo has coined many a memorable line, but this one is a classic.

Noted and stored for future use.

Phidippus said...

Roughcoat: I knew right away that Wilson's poem had to be from that time. It is a good one to know.

Regarding Yeats, my daughter had a wonderful Springer Spaniel which died after a long illness, so we all saw it coming. I had planned to make a copper panel for a grave marker with an image of the dog and Yeats' line "Many loved your moments of glad grace".

She left the remains at the vet, by her own positive decision, so there is no memorial. If she'd asked me, I'd have buried her in my own yard. One is fortunate to know one such dog in a lifetime.

People are strange.

Seeing Red said...

Another useless degree is going to be teaching they should be cutting back on teachers but they keep graduating more teachers than we need at this time. This is what happens when you don’t have children.

Roughcoat said...

bagoh20 said...
"I have to admit that I feel that too."

So do I. But for me, it helps to know that most people the world over come to feel that way as they age -- provided their circumstances are sufficiently stable to allow for such reflection. I'm learning to let go of my regrets and disappointments, along with the sorrow and pain that comes with them. I'm a long way from completing that learning process but I am far enough along to glimpse the freedom it will bring. Those glimpses are quite bracing. It entails a release, where death has no dominion. Sometimes it is too late to start over ... but it is never too late to keep going.

Roughcoat said...

Phidippus:

Yes indeed. Thanks for that.

Dogs really get to me. Someone once said that dogs were put on earth, and into our lives, to teach us about death. This is not a bad thing -- it is a very good thing indeed. I buried one of my dogs in the back yard and I have the ashes of another in a container on my dresser. Of the two border collies I have now, one is 13 and therefore in the winter of her life. She is in phenomenally good health and we got out into the field almost every weekend, even in the winter, to herd sheep. She's still going strong, going full speed on her outruns, but there are signs ... her time is drawing nigh. I sort of hope she passes in mid-step in the field while herding sheep. For that matter, I wouldn't mind going that way too.

That passage by Yeats is wonderful, especially in your context.

Michael K said...

bagoh20 said...
When I was forty I thought it was too late to do something different, but I was wrong. 40 is practically teenage now.


My mother had me the year she was 40 and had my sister three years later. She lived to 103 so it was close to her teens.

Michael K said...

Seeing Red said...
No sympathy whatsoever.

No children. No parents. Obviously no inheritance either.


I can think of an even worse one. Years ago USC medical students donated sperm for a fertility doc on the faculty. Before my time, thank God. A woman social worker was searching for the sperm donor who was her father. She was angry and was looking for him to sue him for support. She was 40.

Joan said...

She's only 40 years old! I was 46 the first year I taught full-time, and as terrifying as it was, it was among my best decisions, including saying yes when my husband proposed (25 years ago!) and having our three kids. A decade later, I love my job. I don't think about what my life "should look like," I just live it.

Discernment is a difficult process made more confusing by listening to the wrong people. Writing to a newspaper advice columnist sounds like that kind of category error to me.

I recommend prayer, introspection, and a willingness to forego any professional status you may currently hold.

Tina Trent said...

Two choices:

Curated loneliness.

Or, join a church, train as a foster parent, volunteer for Big Sisters, join AmeriCorps as a live-in supervisor of troubled youths at JobCorps. Become a nun. You can always marry Christ.

Just don't do yoga or meditate. Good Grief.

Bay Area Guy said...

Nick Kristof -- who normally writes the standard leftwing tripe for this woman's beloved NY Times -- has penned a piece, entitled, Why 2019 has been the best year in human history .

This navel gazing woman does, regrettably, have a hard life. But then the question becomes, How much is self-inflicted, and what concrete steps can be done to ease the loneliness?

If one pivots from gazing at one's navel, and looks at the big picture -- as Kristof does -- well, you see a lotta progress in the systemically big problems (poverty, child mortality).

Bill Peschel said...

Roughcoat, I looked up the poem. It's beautiful, and I'm bookmarking it to read it again.

I, too, had a career in that dying industry, until the newspaper I worked for was ordered to dump its copy desk. That was in 2013, when I was 43.

Since then, I've published 20 books, and I live in a paid-for house, with a couple adult kids and a wife I still adore.

We did it on one salary, too, with help from her brief military payout, and some help from relatives. We also didn't have smartphones, cable television and Disney vacations.

In short, we lived like our parents did back in the '50s and '60s. And I'm going downstairs after writing this and work on my next book.

And yet, I share some of her concerns. I feel like I wasted my time at the newspaper. I spent life energy to support my family, and that's good. But I wasted a lot of it, too. I don't have the drive to work as hard (I'm a crappy boss, let's face it). We have some family failings, too, in ways that I won't write about. And now we're dealing with our parents' mortality, and our pets (two cats gone, and our dog is still dogging but fading).

I can only sympathize with her and hope she finds the support she needs. It's hard to go through this life alone. I wouldn't have done nearly as well without my wife.

Megthered said...

She sacrificed herself to the church of being cool.if your life is not good then change it. Go somewhere different, start your life over and try again. This time don't be so concerned with other people. Do what you love.

Roughcoat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HoodlumDoodlum said...

She doesn't sound all that complex.

Megthered said...

She sacrificed herself to the church of being cool.if your life is not good then change it. Go somewhere different, start your life over and try again. This time don't be so concerned with other people. Do what you love.

J Melcher said...

"Listen to Temujin's advice up thread."

Endorsed. Though just getting out of NYC to Binghamton or Rochester might barely be enough.

Start a new job. Not in fast food, but in a large, somewhat permanent place -- but get a foot in the door. You'll meet (other) unskilled people waiting tables, emptying bedpans,using an academic memory to learn 100,000 SKUs and slots and directing shoppers to the correct aisle in a giant-box home-improvement store. A former journalist can do useful work for a small wage in the fashion described in Barbara Ehrenreich's book "Nickle and Dimed". Tell yourself you are gathering material for your own book. But do the job. Work as if you want to be promoted in the company. If offered a promotion, TAKE IT. Celebrate.

Rescue a dog. Real, aloud, to the dog every night, at least 5 pages of your own work about the job, or the people you've met. Like an impaired child coached to "read to the dog" in order to strengthen reading skills, your own vocal reading will strengthen your connection to more than the dog.

Openidname said...

I jumped on this woman early and hard, but on further reflection, I think we should consider the possibility that this is clinical depression.

Openidname said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Poor thing. No one raised her to know that happiness is service to others.

DavidUW said...

Turns out the social engineers can’t change biology.

L Day said...

Not that there hadn't been some interesting times up until then, but my life was just getting started at 40. I can't imagine why she thinks it's too late for her to make a fresh start. Of course, I'm a man.

elkh1 said...

40 years old, no family, no friends, no savings, soon no job, soc sec check is 30 years away. Oh boy! I'm depressed just reading it.

Bob Smith said...

Whenever I hear one of these lament I think about the lamenter picking peaches for a year or two. Nothing like trying to outwork some Mexican with a family back in Chiapasland to refocus your priorities.

traditionalguy said...

She's not even old enough to have a mid-life crisis yet. At 40 she has a world of 55-65 men who would marry her and support her for life. Try being sweet, winsome, and compassionate...take classes in it.

Miriam123 said...

She could have a kid, but she probably won't.

rightguy said...

Her glass would always be half full, if she wished it to be so.

Liam said...

Terribly sad. I do know women like this. She has avoided the most important things in life and now is at a loss for meaning and connection. She is still young enough to find what she needs, but the "culture therapist" at the NY Times hasn't a clue of how to help her.

Human beings have a nature. Within our nature, there are a few forms of essential activity and satisfaction: to have a close bond with one person in particular and close alliances with a number of others; to engage sexually; to have children as a result of our bonding and our sexuality and to share the children with our close allies; to work, learn, develop mastery; to enjoy beauty, music, art, stories; to remember and to anticipate. That's a lot but it is what makes a good life.

Marshall Rose said...

Wow Laslo....

I have enjoyed your perspective and comment artistry for years.

But, nice to see the sugar coating has sloughed off and there is another facet to the diamond.

We should all be Laslo from time to time.

pchuck1966 said...

For f#cks sake, she is in her 40s. Move, find somebody, and have kids (adopt or birth them).

Unknown said...

The hollow sound of a life lived solely for oneself. It is not too late for her to grow up but it requires looking outside of herself and she has been only taught to navel-gaze.

RichardJohnson said...

(I chose a career in the dying industry that is print journalism and it’s too late to choose a new one).

No, it is NOT too late. At an age later than 40, I took a job at a startup, worked for peanuts, taught myself new skills on the job, and moved up the job ladder.
I was also laid off. I found out that self-pity would get me nowhere. Take any job and do it to the best of your ability.

Skookum John said...

@bagoh20: So few people, [e]specially the young, value what was always beautiful to me.

Well put. As I enter my late middle age, this speaks for me too.

There is no life of the mind any more, no respect for tradition, no search for meaning and wonder, no regard for the inheritance of liberty and civilization bought with the blood and sweat of our fathers.

Just an endless parade of selfies and Likes. Video games and anxiety disorders. Molly and legal weed. Roommates and fuck-buddies. Twitter mobs and "punching Nazis" (some of whom killed actual Nazis back in the day). Pussy cats and pussy hats and easy no-strings pussy summoned up with a smartphone app. Sexless solitude punctuated by joyless sex. Overshadowing it all, abortion on demand to make sure nothing ever slows the spinning of the cock carousel.

I feel sorry for my kids and their friends. They are barely into adulthood and I can see already how hard it will be for them.

L Day said...

It's not like there weren't some interesting times and grand adventures up to that point, but my life was really just getting started at 40 and then started over when I got fired from a job I loved at 43. Maybe clinical depression really is her problem.

Kevin said...

"I chose a career in the dying industry that is print journalism and it’s too late to choose a new one)"

40 is hardly too old to switch careers. Whiner should learn to code. Or just learn to use Excel even.

JEH said...

I think her name is “Julia”

tyreea said...

" I feel such futility, like I’ve squandered my own youth and beauty in the hall of mirrors that is our consumerist society. "

Wait, "Our Consumerist Society?"

I will never understand the arrogance of some people who believe they are the ones who get to decide what "our" society is. There are millions of us who don't live in her consumerist society. She could have chose wisely.

Milwaukee said...

Dude
Tolkien's notion that "evil oft will evil mar";
I thought that was Shakespeare, another devout Catholic, not Tolkien.
Not that Tolkien wasn't capable of writing good stuff.

OregonJon said...

Sad. Having lived inside herself she is now reaching out for help. There are many, many groups and organizations dedicated to the service of others. Join one. Your have much to give once you life your eyes from your navel.

Milwaukee said...

I've met women like that. They were good people to stay away from.
It is never too late to become the person you always wanted to be. But this one needs to find Jesus, or rather, let Jesus into her life.

The Baltimore Catechism:
Why did God create me?
To love him and serve him in this world and to be with him in the next.

She has bought too many feminist lies. Oh well. Time to pick up her broken and worn out tools and start over again. Her beauty and youth are wasted, so her having children might be a bridge too far.

Any bets she has tattoos, and colors her hair a funny color?

GingerBeer said...

Is that you Julia?

https://archive.org/details/TheLifeOfJulia

Larry J said...

Regret is a terrible thing. Her comment about consumerism is telling. She can’t save for retirement because she’s spending too much, likely more than she’s earning. First, she’s likely not earning much in print journalism. Second, she’s living in a city with a high cost of living. Third, she’s likely spending too much on restaurants and other optional expenses.

“Of all the words known to men,
The saddest are ‘if only when.’”
- unknown

billyd1431 said...

She's 40, and says she wasted her beauty?
Man o man, I don't even talk to women unless they are at LEAST 50...

Larry J said...

Regret is a terrible thing. Her comment about consumerism is telling. She can’t save for retirement because she’s spending too much, likely more than she’s earning. First, she’s likely not earning much in print journalism. Second, she’s living in a city with a high cost of living. Third, she’s likely spending too much on restaurants and other optional expenses.

“Of all the words known to men,
The saddest are ‘if only when.’”
- unknown

exhelodrvr1 said...

Try prayer

Lucius said...

Viktor Frankl had an epiphany while in the concentration camp where he lost his wife and parents. He rejected Freud's depth psychology in favor of a what he rather inelegantly titled "logotherapy." He felt that Freud's recessive exploration of the Self and the past were self-defeating and taught that we should pour ourselves into others, not the self, and into the future, not into the past. By definition, it is a hopeful and other-centered philosophy. This poor woman has neither family nor Jung's symbolic life: transcendence. There will be millions suffering like her in the future.

Moneyrunner said...

It’s blazingly obvious that she’s a lost soul in a universe that doesn’t care. Reading her lament, it’s clear that she rejects the work of God and instead worships the work of Man. From that perspective, Laslo gets it. But my cultural tradition is totally different.

Consider the Heidelberg catechism:

Q. What is your only comfort in life and death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for him.

This poor woman is looking for the meaning of life in the most woke of woke cities: New York City, for God’s sake; immersed in a culture that has the lifespan of a mayfly. Where yesterday there were only two sexes, male and female; but now candidates for the Presidency are not allowed to say that lest they are destroyed on social media.

She is swimming in the culture and now she’s drowning.

By the way, I was in my mid 40’s with a wife and children when I changed careers. That was over 30 years ago. At age 67 I started my own company. I have always admired this line by Byron: “I have not loved the World, nor the World me; I have not flattered its rank breath, nor bowed To its idolatries a patient knee”

Rich Vail said...

Ann, not that you're likely to read this, but,

"she needs a husband and children to exchange care with."

But, she's past the age of child bearing. The only men who will even consider her, are too "old" (50's/60's). In the manosphere, it's called "hitting the wall". She's hit it hard. She's just realized that her prime years of finding someone have past her by. She will likely never marry as her SMV (sexual market value) is far lower than she herself believes. Further, because she's a feminist, she will never lower her standards and date an older guy. So she'll die alone with her cats in a rented apartment with no friends.

Esteban said...

This woman seems to have made her bed and now does not want to lie in it.

Still, even 40 or 50 year olds, with parents still living, a loving spouse and loving children, can feel the seeming futility of it all sometimes. Eventually we all run out of gas. The question is: What are you putting in your tank to keep you going?

Marcus said...

She doesn't have it hard at all. She's just depressed about her situation. My suggestion is to immerse yourself in being of service to others. It will not only change your world, but it will take you out of thinking about yourself and your situation. THAT is a purpose-driven life. She could join a church where she would find fellowship and social gatherings. She should definitely stop reading (and writing to) the NYTimes.

THEOLDMAN

I would tell you what I am doing for NYEve, but that would be virtue signaling. Happy New Year to all, and to all good health and blessings.

Abbot said...

I work in emerging market finance. Many of our project attorneys are women. Several hired lately are single women in their early 40s, unmarried, and childless. One has on a couple occasions ruefully volunteered that her "children" are the assets that she did the legal work on financing in her 30s. She's truly attached to these transactions, as I am to mine. It's a field in which you work long hours with mostly interesting and enjoyable professionals over a long period to close a financing. Her attachment, however, is very sad given her lack of a partner and offspring. You can hear it in her voice.

DC is filled with such women. Part of the problem is the shallow, transactional nature of this city and the profusion of useless beta males. I feel very sorry for these lovely, intelligent, thoughtful women. They seem to be in a phase where the catastrophic effects of their choices in their 20s and 30s are finally dawning on them. The ones I know are also uniformly left-wing, and attached to the current iteration of feminism. No coincidence, that. The lie is only slowly dawning on them.

Unknown said...

Allow me to quote a character from my novel, THE IRRISISTIBLE NIHILIST. It's the story of a young couple on a search for the meaning
of life in a postmodern world. In it an older gentleman says to a man of thirty:

"But know this Tommy, youth is fleeting...at this very moment you are already an old man to a boy of ten, and soon he will be telling you that you know nothing...and when it happens you'll know you are no longer a young man...you'll need a foundation to build upon, for when your youth is gone, you'll need something more."

Since the sixties we've been tearing down the very foundations of Western Society and now this young lady at forty, like many, is searching through the rubble with hope that all is not lost. In the end my characters find their way. I hope she does as well.

Peter

Jose_K said...

"I’ve squandered my own youth and beauty in the hall of mirrors that is our consumerist society" Not her fault.. begin there.

Tom T. said...

My wife and I had just recently married when we turned 40, and our kids came along (after a lot of technological assistance) a few years later. But we knew we wanted these things, and we worked toward them. The writer here does not seem to have made up her mind as to what it is that she wants.

SGT Ted said...

Jose_K has it right. Her main underlying issue is that she seems incapable of taking primary responsibility for her own life. That was for others to do for her, either individually or collectively as a culture.

She blames "consumerist culture" but what really did it was immersion in an unthinking shallow liberal pop culture of New York City and her own inability to plan for the future, even though she had a mostly successful career.

kkollwitz said...

The beguiling allure of a contraceptive culture.

Tom Grey said...

Actually, she is in thrall to the false belief that things are terrible.
given the very urgent concerns of the society we live in .

See https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/were-living-in-almost-the-best-of-times

From 60% of the world (1958), to now less than 10% of the world, extreme poverty is ending.

Voltaire told her, and us, what to do: Cultivate your garden.

She hasn't.

It's unlikely she's a virgin, so why was trying to get orgasms with men who didn't love her? -- because of HER choice to make consumer sex part of the her culture, and most likely all her friends. Sex and the City kind of friends.

Steverino said...

She should find a man who loves her, marry him, and have children. Not yet forty, she can still have them naturally or adopt them, if not. That should fill her life with purpose and her home with love.

Bill said...

no one needs me

Nonsense.

Danny said...

I'm a father of seven. I'm watching my 2 year old twins run around and it makes my 50 year old body tired just watching them. I often yearn for quiet and "time alone". I needed to read that.
I would like to tell her that this worldbisnt all that there is.

"If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world." CS Lewis

Sean said...

Sad (but probably fake given the source).

Sean said...

Sad - but probably fake given the source.