Monday, March 2, 2020

To Eleanor Oliphant with love - reexamining my empty life

this would be my classified ad, if I were to run one

This post is a follow up on a vintage post I wrote called How's My Love Life? which contains quite possibly the most embarrassing thing about myself I've ever published (although this post comes in a tight second) 
Here we are in March 2020 and Valentine's Day came and went - just a day on the calendar for someone who is single but not really motivated to change that status. Neither a lonely or a painful day, nor one to be rushed through and hidden away from. I don't know what is wrong with me, or if indeed anything is wrong with me. On the surface each day I am doing things that I want to be doing, I have a very solid, consistent contentment in life and I am both cheerful and wickedly funny about the really bizarre moments that life throws my way.

However.... it seems to me, and this certainly occurred to me for the first time when I was reading "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" by Gail Honeyman that I am coasting through life not unlike Eleanor, she had her little routines and I have mine. I mean I am choosing to run a creative small business from home for not much money and little impact on the world, choosing to stay home with the dog and watch Netflix or devour a book + snacks. I get excited about online purchases I make and new music I add to my playlists. I like having friends I don't see too often because I have more time to just chill and be me and put my plantar fasciitis wracked foot up while lounging in my not-very-active-wear.

But then I realised that years have gone by with absolutely nothing to show for them. Where are the life adventures? God knows I don't have any money, so I must have really lived on all that dime, right? But not. It gets frittered away on books, and clothes, and food and that's what I've done... I've consumed time and money and built nothing lasting.

I'm doing what I want to do every day.... but not what I want to do every decade or for a lifetime. The individual moments are all very enjoyable, but the life..... where is the life? Have I published my book? Have I really travelled anywhere? I chose not to marry or have kids - though I am a little bit afraid of being home alone one day when I have my heart attack (because that's the other thing, I'm pretty sure that's only a matter of time too), and after my Mum dies I will have a loneliness that cuts me even now just thinking about how I will be the last person who remembers her family - they are all dead and gone, and when Mum goes I'll only have my Dad's family.

I'm maybe only semi-okay now.

But Eleanor began to expand her horizons and develop meaningful relationships and so can I. Even if I'm not quite convinced I want a love life, I am convinced I need to stop wasting so much time and actually do some real stuff. I might be okay staying single - if there is such a thing as a Spinster Gene it definitely runs in my Mum's family (and some of those ladies were total babes in their day) but I definitely need to allow life to change up on me and stop going with the flow.

So I am saying a massive thank you to Eleanor Oliphant and taking a leaf out of her book, no more coasting, no more wastage, if I can't fulfil my promise to Diane to find love, I promise to find LIFE.


  1. THIS.IS.ME!

    Except I didn't choose this, the universe sacrificed my life for someone else's, as I like to say.

    I came back to blogging this year with a look back on the last decade and much was the same. Even though I've done so much I've done next to nothing and have not much to show for it.

    As for changing my life, if there's no money, or no one to help, then it won't happen as I don't have any help to get myself out of here. Mum's 79 this month, god knows how much more of my life is going to be frittered away by the universe, leaving me with nothing.

    1. This is all so familiar - I feel like the only changes in my life circumstances are for the worse as my Dad now has dementia and the thankless task of caring for my parents gets increasingly unpleasant. And honestly how long will this go on? But I want to thank you so much for commenting and for writing your own blog post because it seems to me that in cheering you on and wanting wonderful things for you is like waking me up to wanting those things for myself too. Like its easier to be kind to myself when I seem myself in someone else, because I'm kind to people all the time, but how often am I kind to me? So thank you! Thank you for not leaving me in this limbo on my own, I can only hope I am in some way helping you too. I'm going to try and write more, and reach out more but also (God I hope) do more!

    2. Unfortunately it only gets worse when caring for the elderly full time and the only thing to do is carve out small things to do. For me, I've rearranged my schedule so I can fit other things in, like getting off the pc earlier instead of after midnight, or taking a day off to read a book or watch a movie. I still need to get to writing this month, but as other book formats are done, and I close in on finishing of a five year series, it's getting easier as I'm letting go of things I can't do anything about, unfortunately, I can't do anything about the main problem. And that seems to be getting worse.

      All of us who care for parents/elderly other people full time are in limbo, and I think it's just a matter of finding alternate ways of getting through. I still refuse to accept that nothing will happen, but that resistance is wearing very thin. I'm 46 this year and it's just like, yeah, don't believe in there being someone for everyone anymore. Or that there will be a man, love, and kids. My eggs are basically past their used by date, which sucks for me, but there's nothing I can do to change it and I just have to suck it up and get on with what I can do.

    3. sorry to hear about your eggs, I had a hysterectomy last year because it turns out not only was I not using my uterus but I can't be trusted to operate that bit of body equipment correctly (but at least that was my choice) I would have been devastated in my twenties if told I couldn't have kids, but right now I have to say that the last thing I feel like doing is having a baby to look after when I have an 88 and 83 year old on my hands, limited financial resources, and a commitment to a new rescue dog.

  2. You went to Melbourne. Did bucket list things. STOOD ON A FREAKING GLASS FLOOR MILES ABOVE THE PAVEMENT!

    1. That was a rare highlight and definitely part of my inspiration to work harder and waste less money so I can do more stuff like that! Less trivial little possessions and more life experiences! I am so glad you were able to hang with me in Melbourne that was so much fun. Also I am aware that if I finish learning to drive I can chauffeur you around if you ever come over here... so no more procrastinating this is my year. (As soon as I pay off this new computer lol) Love you!