Malaise and the Single Woman

Austin is a busy, fun town. It’s made up of many smaller towns – each filled with its own unique group of passionistas: film town, music town, technology town, hippy town, liberal-political town, foodie/wine town, writer’s town, gay town, innovator’s town.

People know each other in each of these towns. When I go to a concert, I’m assured of running into dozens of musicians and fans that I know from years of dancing and concert-going. When I attend an Austin Film Society event, I run into filmmakers and passionate film goers that I know from 10 years of attending film events and one or two of the 11 Film Festivals, not to mention seeing over 200 annual movies in theaters (I’ve never seen a DVD).

As an innovator, dancer, author, film-crazy-person, and political activist, I know a lot of people here. And whether with my crazy musician friends or my gentle dance friends or my passionate, smart film friends, I could be busy busy busy attending the myriads of things going on here. In fact, my ‘joke’ is that I have to tie myself to a chair to stay home.

Here is a tiny fraction of weekend goings-on from our free, huge newspaper (The Austin Chronicle) devoted to events:

  • Music: Dwight Yokum, Neil Young (NEIL YOUNG), hip hop musicians teaching youngers how to rap and design artistic graffiti (plus 100 live music venues a night playing the best blues in the world).
  • Parades: Gay Pride Celebrations (4 days of bands, dances, movies/documentaries).
  • Movies: Retro Film Festival (a Hitchcock double feature on Sunday); Documentary Festival
  • Architecture: The Green House Tour; Architecture Association annual Sand Castle Competition
  • Food: Knives Out – 12 chefs and 2 celebrity judges compete
  • Sports: Kayak race on lake
  • Fund raising: Charitybash to raise funds for low-income folks needing affordable housing
  • Dance: 3 day Belly Dance convention (last month I was the single non-burlesque dancer attending a Boa and Pasty workshop at the Strip Tease convention); Little Lounge Lizards dance for under-10s
  • Gardens: how to design gardens to attract birds and butterflies.
  • Politics: trade in guns for money (Note: there were so many guns relinquished that the city ran out of reimbursement money)
  • Think Tank: discussion about immigration; radical theory/radical change discussion group.
  • Hiking: celebrate national hiking day by hiking our hundreds of miles of hike/bike trails.
  • Computers for the disabled to learn how to use technology
  • First Sunday Yoga: all yoga centers around town open for free
  • Museums: Matisse prints, Impressionists, and Anatomy of a Body
  • Technology/For Kids-By Kids: kids teaching kids how to play instruments, figure skate, and work online with digital media
  • Theater: ongoing musicals, original plays, classics (Lysistrata); Black Arts Performing Arts Festival

OK? If there are not 3 things here you can choose to do in this wide array of stuff, you need to get a life.

That leads me to my malaise. I had a list of about 20 things to choose from. And what did I do? I laid in my hammock (gorgeous, handmade double hammock that I brought back from Nicaragua), by my pond, under the shade of my fig tree, next to the jasmine, and I read a fascinating book called The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. As I was lying there, gently swaying, and taking notes on where my mind was going with new ideas, I realized that I was indeed, rocking alone.

I’m single, and at some point, dating would be a good thing to do. I know that intellectually; I never planned on being single as long as I have (don’t ask how many years since my divorce) although my single-ness (once my son was grown) has allowed me an unrestricted set of life choices that I happily, greedily indulged in. In fact, I love my life as it is, and I know that I’ll make the necessary changes to accommodate a Partner (the Right partner, of course, and at this age I have no need to settle). I will be happy to do that. But to find a mate, I have to get out of my hammock.

I have a grown son. I have written books, lived around the world, run businesses, played with international friends, trekked through  jungles, started up a successful not-for-profit, and had many, many loving relationships. My ‘drive’ to find a partner is not the same as it was when I was younger. I no longer need a man to make a family, or provide income, or make a home. And I am certainly cranky enough to demand an emotionally present, spiritual partner who knows how to communicate honestly.

But To find that person, I’d have to not read great books, or work as many hours as I work, or see as many movies as I see: I don’t seem to have the time to do everything. So I keep hoping that the Greater Good will send me just the right person at just the right time, and in the meantime I can have malaise – and it will all fall into place around me as I rock and read.

But of course, that might not be true. Maybe I’m supposed to work and read and go to movies less, go to all of the fun stuff, and ‘find’ the men. Or be in a place they can ‘find’ me. Maybe. I haven’t figured out the answer yet. When I do, I’ll let you know. But in the meantime, just note that I’m cranky cuz the right man hasn’t appeared, and that I might – if I decide it’s more important to have a partner than to maintain my comfortable status quo –  have to get out of my hammock and do something pro-active to make that happen. Sucks. I’m still hoping that the Greater Good will take care of it for me. Or maybe she already has 🙂


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