Gen-X Women at Midlife: Fear, Anxiety, Anger
October 7, 2017 8:00 AM   Subscribe

Generation X...They're smart. They're grateful for what they have. They're also exhausted. Some of them are terrified. A few of them are wondering what the point is. I called my best friend, a reporter a few years older than me who grew up in the Midwest...: "[D]o you know anyone having a midlife crisis I could talk to?" The phone was silent for a second. Finally, she said, "I'm trying to think of any woman I know who's not."
posted by drlith (140 comments total) 101 users marked this as a favorite
 
Welp, that's depressing.
posted by pwinn at 8:22 AM on October 7 [14 favorites]


I read this yesterday. It was strange how many things in it sounded like transcriptions of conversations friends and I have had. In a way it made me feel better realizing that so many other women from my generation are dealing with the same feelings.
posted by missmerrymack at 8:32 AM on October 7 [30 favorites]


A few of them are wondering what the point is.

A few? I thought an innate sense of nihilism was part of our cachet.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:38 AM on October 7 [60 favorites]


The "more than half of unmarried Gen-Xers have less then $50,000 saved" part...I mean, I don't know anybody with $50,000 saved. Or at least, I have probably met some people at work - professors and so on - who have $50,000, but I don't know anyone socially. What would that even look like? I don't have savings, I have debt - although I'm vested in the pension system and have a mortgage, so it's not totally a loss. But still - $50,000!!!!
posted by Frowner at 8:42 AM on October 7 [70 favorites]


I really appreciated this article. But after reading it yesterday, I took away something unintended, I think. I was a little haunted by the iPad incident. Sudden violent response by authority figures that were actually under a lot of pressure at the time and you deserved it anyway - that's childhood, all right.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:46 AM on October 7 [19 favorites]


That iPad thing, though - when I was a kid, if an adult did that, no way would they have immediately thought "I need therapy right now". My headcannon is that she immediately apologized to the poor kid (modeling apology!) and replaced his iPad right away, probably on the trip, then got therapy.

(But the other thing that struck me as different - no way was I sitting up past 10pm when I was 11, and any "ignore a direct request from an adult" stuff had been socialized out of me well before then. My peers' kids are great, in general, so whatever they're doing is working - but I'm always surprised to see that bedtimes are pretty much 'whenever' or 'when the adults go to bed' and that just ignoring a parent who is speaking to you is the norm even with older kids. Like, that was apocalyptic disobedience when I was a child.)
posted by Frowner at 8:50 AM on October 7 [72 favorites]


I think I only know about three people with savings accounts of *any* description, honestly
posted by halation at 8:51 AM on October 7 [7 favorites]


I did find the iPad incident disturbing, but I also understood it. And I give that friend of a friend credit for being aware enough that she needed help.

Because the anger is the most frightening element (for me). The sudden outbursts that come seemingly out of nowhere. And trying to unpack it later when you hear external voices listing all the reasons you should not be angry. You have a great job! Your retirement savings are building! Your kid is smart and healthy, you spouse is loving! What right do you have to be angry????

It is exhausting.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 8:53 AM on October 7 [17 favorites]


Jeez, welcome to my life.
posted by catlet at 8:54 AM on October 7 [2 favorites]


Also I didn't get much farther than that in the article. I'm already poor and depressed. I don't need to feel worse about it right now.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:55 AM on October 7 [12 favorites]


Time to start building Crone Island!
posted by Autumnheart at 8:55 AM on October 7 [45 favorites]


They're just entering, slogging through or just leaving their 40s. They belong to Generation X, born roughly during the baby bust, from 1965 to 1984,
Does she realize that a ten year span is not the same as a twenty year one? And while you might be able to stretch that decade a bit longer and say that a 52 year old is just leaving her forties, I don't see how a 32 year old is just entering her forties. This is just a weirdly wrong thing to say.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:57 AM on October 7 [20 favorites]


They're just entering, slogging through or just leaving their 40s. They belong to Generation X, born roughly during the baby bust, from 1965 to 1984,

TIL I am actually a Gen X-er.

Don't Millenials start around 1980 or so?
posted by steady-state strawberry at 9:09 AM on October 7 [4 favorites]


I know the definitions of generations are vague and all, and founded more on advertising demos than social science, but a 32yo is a millennial, surely. (born in '85, 15yo in 2000).

(ETA: When I think millennial, I think "some of their teen years were in the aughts".)
posted by Horkus at 9:11 AM on October 7 [7 favorites]


Imagine having your midlife crisis with Trump as president. Oh wait, I don't need to imagine that. Shit.
posted by selfnoise at 9:13 AM on October 7 [71 favorites]


This was a great article, thanks for posting it.
posted by codacorolla at 9:14 AM on October 7 [6 favorites]


I think I only know about three people with savings accounts of *any* description, honestly

Why would you have a savings account ? Honestly, at .0034% or whatever they're paying, you're better off stuffing the money in a mattress. Or, as I did, paying down debt*. My (disturbingly sizeable) credit allowance is my savings account.

And the 401lk experiment was a dismal failure and it's little wonder why. It's basically the same thing as paying someone to go to the casino to play for you - a higher cost for not much better chance of coming out ahead. Not that pensions were any more guaranteed, but it was less of as straight up scam.

* my truck and my student loans both got paid off this month! YAY!
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:16 AM on October 7 [24 favorites]


I kind of feel like my wife and I have already been through the low point. I'm 45, she's 39.

(At least, I hope we have. Because, if not, holy shit.)
posted by Foosnark at 9:23 AM on October 7 [3 favorites]


The "more than half of unmarried Gen-Xers have less then $50,000 saved" part...I mean, I don't know anybody with $50,000 saved.

I think I only know about three people with savings accounts of *any* description, honestly

Yeah, I recently saw this report on retirement in America, and the statistics are pretty grim. 42% of single women aged 32-61 have any retirement savings whatsoever, (see chart 14), and the median amount is $30,000. (see chart 15)

Note that $30K is the median of those with retirement savings. The median amount for all single women in that age group would be $0, since less than half have any retirement savings at all.
posted by jcreigh at 9:24 AM on October 7 [6 favorites]


I don't have savings, I have debt - although I'm vested in the pension system and have a mortgage

Then you do have savings, not just liquid ones. If that makes you feel better.

Sometimes, I am just so grateful that I've always known I didn't want kids. As a straight woman, it gives you so much more freedom vis-a-vis men. I see so many of my woman friends stuck in or having to expensively disentangle themselves from husbands who turned out to be basically useless. At least I dodged that bullet. But that's not a matter of my being more canny or strategic than them; that's just not having a deep-seated desire they do.
posted by praemunire at 9:27 AM on October 7 [48 favorites]


The whole "you can have it all" thing has been so pernicious. I've seen so many people struggle with this (IMO very unrealistic) expectation/aspiration. I've never seen anyone happily "have it all" without a ton of support that most people don't have.
posted by jazzbaby at 9:27 AM on October 7 [13 favorites]


I wonder how possible it would be to 'have it all' if the economy hadn't been ransacked and wrecked by a generation of selfish monsters driving Miatas with "Don't Tread on Me" bumper-stickers,
posted by codacorolla at 9:30 AM on October 7 [35 favorites]


This article is basically my running 4am monologue. Also, I am exactly the same age as the writer. (41 sucks, guys).
posted by thivaia at 9:31 AM on October 7 [11 favorites]


Maybe this is weird but there's something comforting about knowing that this stuff is so common. I might be failing according to the societally mandated standard in my head, but I'm actually doing pretty well by reality-based standards.

Honestly I think that the first step to real change in this country is for more people to realize that they're not failures, they're average - or in other words, that the average state of an American these days feels like failure.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:31 AM on October 7 [53 favorites]


This was highly depressing and rang very true. I think I’m exactly her age and dealing with the same kind of stuff. I actually decided not to share this article with my friends because it was too bleak. Personally I have been clinging to the idea of that U-curve of happiness graph with the desperation of a drowning person, so I refuse to have the idea that things will get better taken away from me.

She’s absolutely right that whatever life course you have chosen, all the women I know are wondering what the point it. I think this has a lot to do with Trump, honestly. I’m now more focused on the existential threat of moving into a handmaids tale style dystopia rather than whether my kid is going to take music lessons or not. My concerns of last summer seem quaint and naive - oh, I actually thought my field would improve for women and people of color! I actually thought our government might expand healthcare and address the opioid crisis! I was thinking about my work projects and what school my kids would go to, how silly.

Realizing that almost half the country is actively working against women, people of color, people with disabilities, refugees, immigrants, children, and poor people is just trickling down into existential dread about everything in my own life. Not to mention the stress of thinking about our whole system being run by unqualified idiots. It does make you wonder why any of us should bother.
posted by rainydayfilms at 9:35 AM on October 7 [80 favorites]


Maybe this is weird but there's something comforting about knowing that this stuff is so common.

I don't think it's weird, I think it's verrrry Gen-X to find comfort in finally learning that your'e not the only one who's "failing" at societally mandated standards.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:41 AM on October 7 [74 favorites]


According to Gallup, 16 percent of Gen Xers are single or never married, compared to 10 percent of boomers and 4 percent of our grandparents' generation. Most of these people say they still want to get married but just haven't found the right person. Many are experiencing what psychologists call ambiguous loss.

"Ambiguous losses are a particular type of loss that lack a definition and lack closure," says Kelly Maxwell Haer, PhD, of the Boone Center for the Family at Pepperdine University, in California. "The ambiguous loss of singleness is particularly challenging to navigate. The person could be found in five minutes. Or never. You're not going to get an email from God that says you're never going to have a partner. That hope lingers on, and it's really hard to live in hope that is not met, but there's no end. Humans don't do uncertainty well."


This is what I've been trying to describe for a few years now. Ambiguous Loss. Nice to have a term for it. I guess.

On a different point, as someone who's worked for herself for almost 15 years, I don't understand how this stat about half the workforce being freelance two years from now aligns with our current insurance/lack of healthcare landscape. Are all the other female freelancers married to a man with a full time job/benefits? I was talking to a coworker about her chronic heath issues and wondered aloud how it's going to be for her to get heath insurance when the ACA is gone and she replied "oh I don't have to worry about that, I'm on my parents' insurance." Damn, I forgot I was talking to a millennial/gen Zer. Maybe once they all turn 27 we'll get some kind of leverage.
posted by Bunglegirl at 9:43 AM on October 7 [12 favorites]


The whole "you can have it all" thing has been so pernicious. I've seen so many people struggle with this (IMO very unrealistic) expectation/aspiration. I've never seen anyone happily "have it all" without a ton of support that most people don't have.

I never thought I would feel lucky to suffer from depression...

I'm a Gen-X woman, but I've struggled with depression since I was 12, and I realized pretty early on that I needed to opt-out of the rat-race culture. I am intelligent and capable but sometimes I just need to hunker down and get by. so I've never set up those expectations for myself. thanks depression!! at 49, I am not having a mid-life crisis, my existential angst and terror is all externally generated by the state of the world :)
posted by supermedusa at 9:43 AM on October 7 [35 favorites]


I am just so grateful that I've always known I didn't want kids. As a straight woman, it gives you so much more freedom vis-a-vis men. I see so many of my woman friends stuck in or having to expensively disentangle themselves from husbands who turned out to be basically useless.

I've never wanted kids but always kind of assumed I'd end up with a partner (because that's what happens when you grow up, right)? Now that I'm 43 and single and all my peers are partnered and procreating, I've been struggling with really intense loneliness. All my friends have a person or person who is supposed to be first in their life (partner/kid) and for whom they are first. While I know that a lot of them have lives I would hate (second shift housework and childcare, emotional labor, etc), I seem to be incapable of putting aside rosy notions of partnership and having someone to rely on and put me first. Plus, I am single, so I am expected to be the flexible one who bends my needs as a friend around other people's children and husbands. I am the floundering single lady island in a sea of marrieds and I hate it. It's making me really angry and resentful and I'm struggling not to be the stereotypical bitter single middle-aged woman.
posted by Mavri at 9:47 AM on October 7 [65 favorites]


I have no savings but that's a because I just blew it all moving to a different country.

I did have a good job a few years ago that allowed me to pay down all my dumb little debts.

However I still have a couple thousand in credit card debt and most of mortgage in student loan debt.

I make decent money now and am getting back to not living pay to pay which is till weird for me.

I keep thinking how I'm going to be working forever and more and more understanding why some women choose to stay with well-off assholes. It's exhausting.

I've worked since I was 14, I'm 39 in just a few months, I was the first in my family to go to college, and I've got nothing to show for it but a pile of debt.

I had completely forgotten that menopause is in my future and all I can think is Oh Great. I don't get a mid-life crisis with a hot young thing and fancy car, I get hormonal imbalance for years on end. Fuck my life.
posted by sio42 at 9:48 AM on October 7 [10 favorites]


I really appreciated this article. But after reading it yesterday, I took away something unintended, I think. I was a little haunted by the iPad incident. Sudden violent response by authority figures that were actually under a lot of pressure at the time and you deserved it anyway - that's childhood, all right.

Most women, though, way way way overcorrect and teach their kids that the best way to be a woman is to be an endlessly patient giving-automaton who never rests and never needs help. It's a sick way to exist. Women should be allowed to lose their shit every once in a while, when they're being treated like they're invisible and worked half to death.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 9:50 AM on October 7 [64 favorites]


And I also feel like a floundering single lady.

I've had one multiyear long term relationship that ended years ago.

Everyone I know has either a partner or partner and children or at least a strong family, and I've got... None of that.

I know I have good friends but it's just not the same. At all.
posted by sio42 at 9:51 AM on October 7 [17 favorites]


Gen X’ers biggest problem is we were raised by shitty selfish baby boomers and we’ve been getting fucked by them our entire lives.
posted by photoslob at 10:03 AM on October 7 [38 favorites]


This is just a weirdly wrong thing to say.

Exactly. All the Gen-X women I know (that's everyone) are going through menopause now.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:03 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


The "more than half of unmarried Gen-Xers have less then $50,000 saved" part...I mean, I don't know anybody with $50,000 saved.

That's mostly going to be the same demographic who have parents who loan (on very generous terms) or give them a house downpayment, or help fund their business. I had friends in college whose parents were (along with paying the tuition bill, of course) contributing the max amount to the kid's IRA account every year, so they were graduating and starting work already with substantial savings, before even earning their first paycheck.

People like that push up the averages, is what I mean, whereas the median (as noted in the comment above) is closer to zero, and probably well into the negative if you take into account student loans.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:14 AM on October 7 [3 favorites]


It's basically the same thing as paying someone to go to the casino to play for you - a higher cost for not much better chance of coming out ahead.

Please provide a citation. Unless you have stupendously bad options in you 401(k), other than people retiring right during a depression/crash, you've done far better than going to the casino. 401(k)s are far from perfect and there is a need for better education on how to do allocations in them, but please don't scare people away from using what is for most people the best option for saving for retirement with bluster.

And if you do have a truly terrible 401(k) provider, be aware that you have legal rights to a quality one that you can use to press your employer with.
posted by Candleman at 10:18 AM on October 7 [21 favorites]


Single woman, renting in one of the most expensive places in the country. I've been carrying so much cc debt for my entire adult life, and with my newish good job, I'm paying it down and knock on wood, by Dec, I should have it paid off. I'm planning on experiencing some emotional abandonment at that point because my debt has been with me for almost 30 years. How bizarre to no longer have it crushing me.
I have a 401k, and from that link, I seem to have more saved than most, but I live in constant fear it will be wiped out. Like honestly, should I take some and put it in a savings account where it's at least FDIC insured? I'm literally petrified of losing the only future I have. I have no spouse or kids, no house that would be paid off by retirement age. I lie awake at night worried I'm going to end up on the streets when the next big bust comes. I think, if I'm really smart, I would move to a cheap part of the country, where I'd hate it, but cost of living wouldn't be killing me.

Ugh. Sorry. I know this isn't all about finances. I'm also going through peri-menopause, for about 6 years now. So that's a joy. Ask me about my ER visits for random menstrual hemorrhaging!

Add to that, my Trump-rage, and wanting to help those around me, and stress from my job, and yeah...I identify with this article.
posted by greermahoney at 10:24 AM on October 7 [19 favorites]


Send this to a thirty year-old if you want to keep them up late at night.
posted by Donald Trump Sex Nightmare at 10:32 AM on October 7 [9 favorites]


Time to start building Crone Island!
posted by Autumnheart at 8:55 AM on October 7 [10 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


this is, no joke, the only solution I can see.

Except where would crone Island be, now? Where is still safe?

I think the one thing about the Trump era that I don't 100% hate is that it seems to be giving me a sense of purpose. Like I had all these other vague things I felt like I should be doing with life, but now it all pales compared to "fighting Nazis." It's simplifying, in a way, and I've taken some paradoxical comfort from the perspective it's given me.

What a fucking weird silver lining.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:35 AM on October 7 [37 favorites]


Except where would crone Island be, now? Where is still safe?

Michipicoten Island on the Canada side of Lake Superior. No permanent residents, not part of an archipelago, and well placed for climate change.
posted by elsietheeel at 10:53 AM on October 7 [17 favorites]


I am single, so I am expected to be the flexible one who bends my needs as a friend around other people's children and husbands. I am the floundering single lady island in a sea of marrieds and I hate it. It's making me really angry and resentful and I'm struggling not to be the stereotypical bitter single middle-aged woman.

I seem to be incapable of putting aside rosy notions of partnership and having someone to rely on and put me first.


I pasted Mavri's comments out of order, because... to me, the first part completely explains the second part. When all you know is the struggle and the loneliness and the WHY NOT ME of it all, the rosy notions beckon like whoa. I totally feel this.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 10:54 AM on October 7 [3 favorites]


The last couple of years, I have felt insanely (you'll quickly see it's literally "insane") lucky to have grown up in a horrible family that did nothing beyond the bare basics (food and shelter) to support me. Running off to France on a full-ride scholarship twenty years ago was seen by well-off fellow students as crazy at the time. And for nearly all those twenty years, people would constantly ask me when I was going back to the US, and/or why I hadn't yet.

No one asks me that any more.
posted by fraula at 10:56 AM on October 7 [50 favorites]


Yes, this is so spot on as to be frightening and depressing. 37 year old here, one small child, stuck with my Bipolar ex because even though I have my own business, there's no way I can support us AND pay for childcare. I have a 41 year old childless/single friend and the themes of this article are all we talk about. So, while I was visiting her I pitched MY idea: I want to be the new 'Golden Girls' and live together and share our lives and create the community that we lack. She didn't bite :( But I truly believe that society is stacked against us and the lack of SUPPORT is a huge issue. Damn, great read!
posted by polly_dactyl at 11:00 AM on October 7 [9 favorites]


Wow, I started reading this article thinking "well, another round of whining about the reality that life is finite, and so are the options you can pursue, and that every choice you make means giving up something else, and waking up at forty to face the fact that you'll never be a ballerina or if you are the pay sucks..."

And then I carried on and saw the statistics about savings, followed a couple of those links about the treatment of women in the workplace, and realized that yeah, many of us, especially women, were sold a bad bag of goods. The good news is that we're collectively waking up to it, so maybe we have a shot at doing something positive about it.

Finally, the fact that the author's book was blurbed by Molly Ringwald made me smile. Can't get much more GenX than that.

Excellent article, thanks so much for posting.
posted by rpfields at 11:01 AM on October 7 [10 favorites]


I started to write "this describes many of the women my age (I'm 50) in all kinds of ways" -
Then had to sit down with shock, and gratitude, at finding any article about GenX at all.
posted by doctornemo at 11:02 AM on October 7 [37 favorites]


Send this to a thirty year-old if you want to keep them up late at night.

It's funny how you think someone who graduated from college in the midst of the 2008 financial collapse has ever slept a wink in their adult life.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:04 AM on October 7 [43 favorites]


"You know what I'm realizing? My life is just gonna go, like that. This series of milestones. Getting married. Having kids. Getting divorced. The time that we thought you were dyslexic. When I taught you how to ride a bike. Getting divorced, again. Getting my master's degree. Finally getting the job I wanted. Sending Samantha off to college. Sending you off to college. You know what's next? Huh? It's my fucking funeral! Just go, and leave my picture!"

"Aren't you jumping ahead by, like, 40 years or something?"

"I just... thought there would be more."
posted by Rhaomi at 11:09 AM on October 7 [17 favorites]


I'd like to add that the overlap of the Trump presidency with menopause makes it really special.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:11 AM on October 7 [43 favorites]


I want to be the new 'Golden Girls' and live together and share our lives and create the community that we lack.

This is actually a good idea and something worth pursuing - more housing that provides a community setting and mutual support for single people. Could be a shared house, or an apartment building with more social spaces. Communes even.

Loneliness was recently shown to be as big a health threat as diabetes, to the older adult.

(disclaimer - late boomer, male, married)
posted by Artful Codger at 11:12 AM on October 7 [9 favorites]


And personally, I'd replace 'anger' with 'rage'. Anger is not what I feel, what I do feel is a near-constant burn of white hot rage, just beneath the surface.

In fairness: that is probably 95% Trump and in another world, one I will never live in, maybe it would just be 'anger'.

'Anger' seems like chocolate chip cookies, compared to watching that motherfucker be president.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:14 AM on October 7 [44 favorites]


I'd like to add that the overlap of the Trump presidency with menopause makes it really special.

omg...
posted by supermedusa at 11:18 AM on October 7 [3 favorites]


I'd like to add that the overlap of the Trump presidency with menopause makes it really special.

Literally just two days ago I thought to myself, "thank fucking god my family hits menopause late; I might have 8 years left before it happens."
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:19 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


I have a pool mansion picked out and a group of four ladies all set to start Golden Girls: St. Paul as soon as one of us wins the lotto. It seems as realistic as any other retirement plan a group of Gen-Xers could come up with.
posted by Flannery Culp at 11:20 AM on October 7 [15 favorites]


Content that is vulgar and childish below! You've been warned!

For those of us who have been enjoying the delightful combo plate of menopause and Donald Trump, I'll take this moment again to childishly mention that it sometimes helps me to reflect that he almost always looks like he's mid-poop.

I'm taking my amusements where I find them.

I've also started smoking weed.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:23 AM on October 7 [36 favorites]


I like to think about him stroking out on the crapper.
posted by Mavri at 11:31 AM on October 7 [19 favorites]


I'm with Calvin's dad.
posted by 4ster at 11:31 AM on October 7 [7 favorites]


I'm 32 and therefore a (shudder) millennial snakeperson, but can I build Crone Island too? Having a long-term constructive project during the downward slope of the U curve would help. My Gen-X lady friends are working through despair of various kinds--career stickiness, unwanted singlehood, hoping for children. My own dissatisfaction with my job feels petty in comparison since otherwise I'm in stable shape.

Send this to a thirty year-old if you want to keep them up late at night.

Too late! I started working in government-funded public health research when Obama was in charge. I slept okay until last November. I haven't slept so much since then.
posted by esoterrica at 11:32 AM on October 7 [2 favorites]


So much of that article rang painfully true.
They're not sure how to fix things. "When all your choices have led you here to this place," one tells me, "how can you trust yourself to make a right choice now?"
Should I believe that I've had Lots of Choices my whole life, and this* is what I've done with those choices - or that I was lied to and deceived, and most of those were false choices, a dizzying array of "possibilities" with none of them actually leading to security, much less prosperity?

* I am about the wealthiest I have ever been in my adult life, by which I mean, it's the 7th and next month's rent is in the bank. I have no savings and no 401k; my "retirement plan" consists of a hope that social security will still exist in 15-20 years and the awareness that if I'm willing to live under very strict austerity, I can probably find a place somewhere in the US where that'll cover rent and bills, as long as I am healthy. When I stop being healthy, I expect to die from the first debilitating condition I develop.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:32 AM on October 7 [10 favorites]


I've been joking for 20 years with various groups of friends, especially long-time internet friends, about the Crone Island/Golden Girls/radical queer senior compound we'll buy and move into in our later years.

It's become less and less of a joke over time. I strongly suspect that's where I'll end up in my last couple of decades, assuming lack of healthcare doesn't kill me before I can even vaguely think about retiring.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:36 AM on October 7 [9 favorites]


showbiz_liz: Maybe this is weird but there's something comforting about knowing that this stuff is so common...

Honestly I think that the first step to real change in this country is for more people to realize that they're not failures, they're average - or in other words, that the average state of an American these days feels like failure.


We (all of us we) need to talk to each other (families, friends, co-workers) about our work compensation. The taboo against that 100% to the advantage of Capital. Not only is it step numero uno to re-gaining some leverage against Capital when it comes to compensation, it establishes a baseline for community support. Your family and friends and neighbors don't know how to support you unless you talk to each other about what you need.

Adam Ruins Everything: Why You Should Tell Your Coworkers Your Salary
posted by carsonb at 11:40 AM on October 7 [17 favorites]


Although I'm male, I feel a definite similarity with a lot of the things being said in this thread. And being male, I can only guess how much worse it must be for women in this society.

For the past few years I've begun to believe that the only way us oldsters are going to be able to manage in our declining years is by sticking together and helping each other out. Which is why that "loneliness" article a few weeks back was so alarming - the older we get, the less we tend to stick together or even have friends at all. I like the Crone Island idea, and I think there should be a corresponding Old Fart Island as well. Close enough to Crone Island to allow interaction when wanted, but far enough away for each group to be its own separate thing.

Thing is, finding people I'd want to be "stuck" on an island with (and they with me) has so far been rather tricky.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:51 AM on October 7 [16 favorites]


For the past few years I've begun to believe that the only way for me to manage my declining years is to start an exploitative business ASAP.
posted by rhizome at 11:54 AM on October 7 [3 favorites]


Many of you probably know this, but for those that don't, insomnia is a fun symptom of menopause.

That plus my already shaky mental health plus Trump means I can't actually remember the last time I got a decent night's sleep.

(Also, as I mentioned in the Las Vegas thread, I just moved near a wildlife area/lake and I found out at dawn that duck season started today. 😐)
posted by elsietheeel at 11:57 AM on October 7 [10 favorites]


I think the one thing about the Trump era that I don't 100% hate is that it seems to be giving me a sense of purpose. Like I had all these other vague things I felt like I should be doing with life, but now it all pales compared to "fighting Nazis." It's simplifying, in a way, and I've taken some paradoxical comfort from the perspective it's given me.

Yup. I'm quitting my job at the end of December (I'm good at what I do, but I've never taken any joy from it and the insane hours make it impossible for me to do anything but donate money and tweet). I'm going to be working full time next year to get Democrats elected. I'm a little worried that I won't be able to get back into the "normal" non-political workplace, but this and all my other fears pale besides the fact that I'll -finally- be able to fight back against the assholes in power on a full-time basis, without compromises. I'm so excited.
posted by longdaysjourney at 12:03 PM on October 7 [47 favorites]


This article hits so close to home I think my roof just caved in. I could have written so many of everyone else's comments, too. You want to stay up tonight drinking wine coolers and watching John Hughes movies together?

I did find the iPad incident disturbing, but I also understood it. And I give that friend of a friend credit for being aware enough that she needed help.


Yeah, if that had been my Dad, the iPad would not be the thing on the floor getting smashed up. But, as others have said, it would never have occurred to me to just not respond to directions from my parents by age 11. That just wasn't how kids were socialized.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:04 PM on October 7 [7 favorites]


I'm finding that middle age has put me in a constant state of anxiety and shame. I thought I did everything right, and now all the independence I was so proud of is gone.

I had to take early retirement at work because crippling depression and insomnia made it impossible for me to finish a semester. I was able to get a small disability (yay, unions!), but should my husband every decide to leave, I'll be at poverty wages. All those years of graduate school ultimately didn't mean shit. I no longer have a career, and I can't imagine how I could start another one. And I hate being dependent on someone else - that was the whole point of being a strong, independent feminist. I did everything right, dammit.

I don't create or contribute. I take. I drain. I haven't slept more than three hours a night in at least four years. I feel like I have the flu all the time and usually need to lie down by dinner, if not before. I watch my kids spend more and more time online because I can't come up with family activities, and then I think "Great. Now I'm ruining two more lives." I know this is a mid life crisis, but christ does it feel like an end. I can't imagine what I'm supposed to do with the other half. I don't have an identity besides "middle aged lady," which I'm quickly discovering has very little social capital.

And I know, I know how lucky I am to have a family who loves me and takes care of me, so all this just feels like so much whining. I'm not sure how much of my despair is because of feeling like I'm not getting the future I was promised so much as because I feel like I'm squandering that future that should be within my reach, if I could just get my ass out of bed and take it.

I can't tell if I feel better or worse knowing I'm part of a trend.
posted by bibliowench at 12:19 PM on October 7 [43 favorites]


[Couple deleted; if your impulse is to say "everybody feels like this", go ahead and just pass this by, because that's going to kick off a totally needless fight. This article is about gen-x women, just let it be about that.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:19 PM on October 7 [26 favorites]


I recently was bleakly thinking about that tongue-in-cheek slogan you sometimes find on bumper stickers or t-shirts or stuff - "I'm spending my children's inheritance".

Because my eventual inheritance will be the only thing that makes me finally financially solvent.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:22 PM on October 7 [7 favorites]


Because my eventual inheritance will be the only thing that makes me finally financially solvent.

My parents don't make much but they do own a house, and a couple years ago I realized that the most financially significant event in my and my sister's life might be when they die. BUMMER HUH
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:47 PM on October 7 [15 favorites]


supermedusa: I'm a Gen-X woman, but I've struggled with depression since I was 12, and I realized pretty early on that I needed to opt-out of the rat-race culture. I am intelligent and capable but sometimes I just need to hunker down and get by. so I've never set up those expectations for myself. thanks depression!!

There were a pair of comedians on the radio today debating the value of multitasking. They both agreed that women were better at it (and since they were comedians, they didn't put any statistical qualifiers on that) - able to stay more organized under pressure, according to the science quoted by one of them. I noticed with my own attempts to stay organized under pressure, to develop the skills to stop procrastinating, that I got angry and stressed all the time.

I wonder if this is part of the bill of goods that women, especially "well-educated, middle- and upper-middle class women", have been sold: If you learn all the tools to multitask, to stop procrastinating, to get everything done, then you will accomplish All The Things and thereby be happy. But maybe learning those skills leads directly to rage? (Especially when there's so little reward for them?)
posted by clawsoon at 12:51 PM on October 7 [27 favorites]


clawsoon absolutely. we adapted to the extraordinary pressure of expectations placed upon us but once we got a look at the payoff...RAGE
posted by supermedusa at 12:56 PM on October 7 [17 favorites]


As depressing as this is, I (and so many women I know) DESPERATELY needed to read this (and not just read it desperately, if you know what I mean) because we feel so much less alone in all of this. I barely went two paragraphs in a row without something resonating. The ambiguous loss? Check. The financial distresss of:

'Lady, you better save money because no one else will take charge of your financial future!' I was incredibly frugal my whole life. I've been working my ass off. Since I was 10 years old, babysitting. And still I am stressed out about money."??? Check.

I already went through the fantasizing on conference calls stage 20 years ago (though I'd have rather been paid to eat cheese than make it). And yes, as said up-thread, it's the change of administration, not just the change of life, that is making everything so much worse.

I'm a single woman, self-employed since my 30s. I spent frugally my entire life and never once "splurged" on something more than $20, and rarely that. This undercurrent of anger bumps against not getting the benefit of the stability of a traditional home and family while still spending a lifetime on emotional labor because it's everywhere if you want to live in polite socieety, not just with a family. Everyone I know over 40 is angry: at their parents, their spouses, their politicians, at this "I just thought there's be more" of it all. And our 80yo parents? They sigh and say they didn't expect to be happy, they didn't expect anything, so they weren't as disappointed as we are. And you wonder how they could live without expectations (dashed or otherwise) without wanting to stick forks in their eyes.

You see the stay-at-home moms taking Hawaiian vacations and hope to high heaven that their Facebook pages mask a hatred for their husbands or at least some kind of disorder, because it's not fair to be working this hard and being so unhappy and have their lives be perfect, and then you feel guilty for not being happy for them. And then when someone expresses awe at your professional achievements, you feel both proud and embarrassed, because while you did work hard to achieve them, you're not sure you wouldn't trade it all for knowing there'd be someone to hold your hand when you die.

This was the most depressing thing I've read in a long time, and it actually made me feel much better than I've felt in a long time. Damn.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 1:11 PM on October 7 [28 favorites]


I'm 49 and the thing about being ambiguous until it's too late, yes. I know that all too well. I have no kids, which back in the 80s and 90s was a "Choice". And, I'm very glad and honored I had and exercised that choice. I was being smart, waiting, not marrying the first guy that asked because I didn't need to settle. etc. But, then, at some point not having kids no longer felt like a choice. It was that it would be way too expensive to have kids or that the person I was with has issues or that I was in no position to have kids. I had all that time to think myself out of having kids. (Then I found out I couldn't have kids and couldn't believe how much energy I had spent thinking about something I would never been able to do).

Even so, I still had more options than my mother (baby boomer) ever did. And that was something I was supposed to be grateful for. But, for me, so many more options came with almost paralyzing indecision. I didn't feel rushed to get on with things, like saving money. And I feel like everyone simply extended their young adulthoods for another ten years. Like I was this perpetual 28 years old until one day I woke up and I was 40. And then, just when I was finally "growing up", and starting to make it in the world professionally, bam! The recession started and that was that. The end. This brand new uncertainty and precariousness just in time for middle age. Because being uncertain when you are young is one thing, but being uncertain at almost 50 is quite another.
posted by marimeko at 1:19 PM on October 7 [31 favorites]


I’m not quite 35 but this hit so hard. Literally the only things keeping me going are my stupid drive to do stuff, and the idea that either 1) it can’t possibly keep getting worse so hopefully the entire world/the US will make things less bleak in 20 or 30 years or 2) that bleakness will be overwhelming so it doesn’t matter anyway. I think about the history of the world and how hard most people’s lives are and were, and I don’t have much hope and that somehow makes it easier to accept. I’m grateful I’m not trapped with children in a depressing relationship and have the freedom to demand a full and equal partner, or do without. Those same things also make me unbearably lonely.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 1:24 PM on October 7 [8 favorites]


I THINK I would enjoy living with a few other adults in a big house with shared expenses. If they were nice and responsible and sane. Could communes become a thing again? Especially if we are all in the same depressing boat.
posted by jfwlucy at 1:31 PM on October 7 [23 favorites]


Communes are becoming a thing again, from what I've heard, especially for people who are getting older. I heard a segment about it on the radio a while back, and I was going to search for it just now to post a link but Google is throwing up dozens of articles on the phenomenon and I can't find the specific one I was thinking of.
posted by clawsoon at 1:35 PM on October 7 [2 favorites]


At 47 I’m the youngest single person in my extended family - come to think of it I’m the only single person in my extended family. My mom has close to twenty acres of land with a giant house on it in rural New Hampshire that I imagine will come to me and my sister sometime in the next twenty years or so. I’m absolutely already planning to move there when that happens and there would plenty of room for maybe 5-10 other people to live a communal life there. I’ll keep you all posted - a shared MeFi community would be a fantastic place to live.
posted by bendy at 1:51 PM on October 7 [27 favorites]


Not Gen X, but it resonates. At this age I had a young kid, no savings, no money, a husband going through midlife crisis who was unemployed and was really difficult to live with, and a completely useless bachelor's degree. I was indeed "furious and overwhelmed."

I don't know if this will encourage anyone, but that was when i decided to get even poorer and go back to school. I'm 66 now and I have a pretty substantial 401k, a doctorate, and I'm semi-retired. Also, the husband got it together eventually.

Of course, I also spent ten years taking care of my mother in my 50s, and continued to be furious and overwhelmed. But I'm very happy now.
posted by Peach at 1:57 PM on October 7 [33 favorites]


But maybe learning those skills leads directly to rage? (Especially when there's so little reward for them?)

What leads to rage is seeing other people, especially cis white men, get so much MORE without having bothered to learn any of the skills or do any of the work we were told were required.

We were lied to and cheated, and no amount of frugality or self-care is going to fix that.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:00 PM on October 7 [60 favorites]


ErisLordFreedom: What leads to rage is seeing other people, especially cis white men, get so much MORE without having bothered to learn any of the skills or do any of the work we were told were required. We were lied to and cheated, and no amount of frugality or self-care is going to fix that.

Yep. There must be a name for the effect where pay drops when women enter a field. (If there isn't, there should be.) It's like as soon as we start teaching girls and young women that a specific set of skills are what they need to learn, we immediately start devaluing those skills. (By my half-baked estimation, we're in the middle of that process with managerial skills right now.)
posted by clawsoon at 2:14 PM on October 7 [27 favorites]


But I'm very happy now.
posted by Peach at 3:57 PM on October 7 [+] [!]

You have no idea how good it is to read this sentence.
posted by marimeko at 2:19 PM on October 7 [20 favorites]


We looked at intentional communities when our son was young but couldn't make it work. But yeah, maybe for retirement!

This article resonated but apparently I'm not that ambitious. I never wanted much, but I am always aware of how fragile the tiny security I've carved out is. I wonder if I will just have to die early because there will be no affordable care when I am old. I hope my kiddo won't bankrupt himself trying to take care of me. Next to that is my fear that my country is already lost, or my planet, or both, and therefore none of us or our kids are going to get through this time. It's a lot to carry.
posted by emjaybee at 2:22 PM on October 7 [5 favorites]


Rereading my comment and it sounds bitter so I want to be constructive. My daughter is a millennial and even though I’m highly biased I will proudly say she is an amazing person who fills me with optimism for the future. My wife and I have carried debt our entire lives up to just recently but we made sure to save for her college and impart every bit of wisdom we have about graduating debt free and staying that way because no debt equals freedom. She is in a sorority at a southern public university and her friends (who are diverse) fill me with so much joy because they are woke. They get that the world is unfair and they are going to work their asses off to change the white male status quo but they seem to be up to the challenge. Every time I hear some old white male baby boomer grumble about millennials all I can think is their time is nearly over and the millennials are going to straighten shit out. My daughter is already moving into lady boss mode and I couldn’t be prouder. Her generation of women are going to do all the great things.
posted by photoslob at 2:29 PM on October 7 [9 favorites]


I want to add another hopeful old voice.

When I was in my forties I was squashed flat by responsibilities, and I felt sad and mad and exhausted a lot. Looking back now, I wasn't >thinking< it was too hard: it was too hard.

Now that I'm almost 60, most of life is pretty sweet. It's not just that things got easier after long persistent work, although they did. I also got better at taking care of myself. I finally had time to learn all the life skills I'd missed growing up. Time for close friendships again, and for running on the beach at dawn and sitting by a fire while the loons call. My partner and I are becoming really good at being really good to each other.

Man, I'm just so grateful, every day now--even the hard days, now.
posted by seacats at 2:43 PM on October 7 [38 favorites]


I'm doing better at 44 on a personal level than at probably any any other point in my adult life, but holy shit were there ever a lot of bumps in the road on the way here. It helps that my wife and I are basically on the same page when it comes to the issue of societal expectations and keeping up with the Jones' and all that bs.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:43 PM on October 7


Many of you probably know this, but for those that don't, insomnia is a fun symptom of menopause

I did not know this. Great. I have that to look forward to, soon.
posted by greermahoney at 2:48 PM on October 7 [2 favorites]


I read this the other day and was again depressed and frustrated about how articles about cisgender straight women are presumed to be about women in general. I'd love to see a piece about midlife crisis for queer and trans women that was universalized to be about all women, or that acknowledged how much crisis is in our lives regularly because of how we're constantly erased and presumed to conform to norms that don't apply.

The art was nice though. I liked the art on this a lot.
posted by bile and syntax at 3:07 PM on October 7 [20 favorites]


Oh, hey, it’s me and it has been particularly bad for the past six months or so, I think. I’m 42, married, no kids because neither of us wanted any. That’s fine, but I am stalled in a high prestige but low pay job that there isn’t a way out of without either taking on the management of a department (which I think i’d stink at) or leaving my field entirely. And I mostly like my job but it pays what many make as an entry level employee, and raises are not something that really happens. I’m the breadwinner, and the more functional adult and I am so tired and angry at nothing and everything and mostly convinced of nothing but my own incompetence. I am dreading what may be signs of Perimenopausal stuff like insomnia - it’s not bad, not yet, but I’m scared of what is coming.
posted by PussKillian at 4:14 PM on October 7 [3 favorites]


insomnia is a fun symptom of menopause

It's also a major symptom of depression, and part of how depression is hard to treat.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:25 PM on October 7 [11 favorites]


Yeah I'm on the depression train as well, but the insomnia was nothing compared to how bad it's been since perimenopause. Also there's the amazing feeling of finally getting to sleep and then waking up 45 minutes later soaked in sweat. I turned 40 in April and I'm hoping an earlier menopause also means it ends sooner. (No stats pls; never tell me the odds!)

Note: Your hormonal and mental health experiences may vary.
posted by elsietheeel at 4:37 PM on October 7 [4 favorites]


Very interesting bit in the article about how hormone replacement therapy appears to only increase rates of breast cancer if you're doing it when you're over 60. Is that confirmed/solid science yet?
posted by clawsoon at 4:40 PM on October 7 [4 favorites]


I think that might be tied to the fact that a later menopause is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer plus taking HRT for more than 10 years also increases the risk of breast cancer...but my Googling isn't showing much beyond that.

(I haven't worked in that field in over 13 years and HRT is right out for me anyway; both my mom and her mom had breast cancer after 60 - but they also both had hysterectomies prior to menopause plus HRT. I'm flying blind!)
posted by elsietheeel at 4:57 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


I really appreciated this article and fall squarely in the middle of most of its discussions.

One interesting way to approach it is to look at each paragraph's topic and ask "how would this situation be different if there were a better social safety net?"
posted by Miko at 5:10 PM on October 7 [17 favorites]


I read this the other day and was again depressed and frustrated about how articles about cisgender straight women are presumed to be about women in general.

Yes, this, and also mostly white collar, educated, and middle-ish class. That happens in a lot of those articles lumping people together according to their media-designated generation. The shared experiences with social and political climates are significant, but the discussions always seem to devolve into some really wild generalizations, to the point that while a lot of the experiences might ring true, the stereotypes are just some weird statistical homunculus that doesn't look much like anyone I know.
posted by ernielundquist at 5:29 PM on October 7 [3 favorites]


Cohousing. Seems like the Boomers are fronting the money to set these places up, and Gen-Xers will be moving in later on.
posted by cosmologinaut at 5:44 PM on October 7 [4 favorites]


I have more education than either of my parents, and it doesn't seem to have done me much good. Definitely not doing the whole more-successful-than your-parents thing. It's depressing to know I won't be in a position to care for my mother the way she deserves when the time comes.

I guess I'm lucky I went through surgical menopause years ago; if my insomnia got any worse ...
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:49 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


Oh, yeah: My best friend and my husband I plan to get a duplex so we'll each have our own private living spaces, but we can share things like laundry facilities, a workshop, subscriptions, infrequently used tools, and maybe a truck. And we can take turns cooking and errand running and watching each others' stuff when one of us is away, which we already do, but will be able to more often and more easily if we don't have to drive to each others' houses.
posted by ernielundquist at 6:00 PM on October 7 [7 favorites]


I live in a row home in a townhome community, and honestly...it’s pretty awesome. Exterior maintenance is handled by the HOA (note: my HOA is a good one, which is apparently rare), I’m around tons of people even though I live alone, and to me, it’s an ideal mix of “own my own home” and “still have major things handled by someone else”.

Also, there is now the Assured Living Program. Full disclosure, I work for this company and am part of this project. But essentially, you load up your place with sensors and then it feeds the information to an app that your loved one can view on their mobile device, so they know that you’re eating, taking medication, getting enough sleep, didn’t leave the front door open all night, etc.

I have a lot of enthusiasm for this because I live alone, and my siblings are within a couple years of my own age. To me, this is like a better version of a MedicAlert bracelet, because people don’t have to *be* nearby to know that I’m doing okay (or not!), but the information is in real time so they can act if they need to. It’s not very expensive (sensors are a few hundred bucks, app is $25/mo) and you don’t to be in need of active care to use it—it is truly for people who live independently, but want someone to keep an eye out. It’s primarily aimed at people with aging parents, but I think that single people who have good friends and/or siblings, but not kids or spouse, would also benefit a lot from this.

I feel that programs like this are going to grow in concert with the availability of smart home and connected devices, to our benefit. In an era where health care costs are seemingly about to spike in cost, and plunge in accessibility, we need a comparatively cheap way to look out for each other, and this is one that is easy to use, inexpensive, and scalable. I bring it up specifically to say that even today, there are genuinely beneficial tools being built that all of us will be able to use.
posted by Autumnheart at 6:20 PM on October 7 [5 favorites]


Between the relentless heterosexuality of everyone in the article (but she put in a throwaway reference to her trans friend, so that makes it ok) and the US-centrism, the article made me feel pretty alienated as well as depressed. It also reminded me why my retirement plan involves not living very long. No doubt this is because I am a Gen X woman on anti-depressants though; even my despair is a cliché.
posted by Athanassiel at 8:06 PM on October 7 [5 favorites]


Oh boy, did this article ever hit home. I'm 43 (will turn 44 later this month) and in between jobs. (all right, all right, unemployed) My career path can best be described as "fits and starts." I've changed careers a couple times out of necessity and now it's at the point where I honestly have no idea what I want to do - the first answer I can think of to the question "What kind of job are you looking for?" is "Something that I can get paid to do." I feel like most of the jobs I am qualified to do are either obsolete (or getting there) or in fields that I'd either have no hope of breaking into since I didn't start doing it straight out of college or where I'd be considered too old. It's like the article says: "If you are in the corporate world, and everyone in management now seems to be in their 30s, and you're in your 40s and not there yet, what do you do?" It's really depressing to think I may have already peaked in my work life, and the peak was awfully low.

I told my therapist once that it feels like everyone else I know is going down the road of life in well-running cars, getting where they're supposed to be at the time they're supposed to be there, and I'm in an old, barely-running jalopy yelling "Wait for me, wait for me!" It is comforting in an odd way to know that this is more common than I felt like it was.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:33 PM on October 7 [10 favorites]


I'm sorry that this article is increasing alienation for LGBTQ+ women. I hear you and I see you and I'm sorry.
posted by lazuli at 8:45 PM on October 7 [15 favorites]


I'm on the (non)bleeding edge of genx. I started my period, and menopause early, so I'm pretty much done with all that nonsense, and I cannot even fucking begin to tell you how goddamn awesome it is when your period is a thing of the past. Menopause is different for everyone, so I won't presume my experience is generalised, but all the fearful stories of how bad menopause was going to be...didn't come true, and for me the side effects were much less unpleasant than menstruation had been. Example, I am no longer always consumed with rage. So, that's nice.

Re retirement and crone island. A group of us, whom have been friends for a very long time are seriously considering buying contiguous parcels of land, and building tiny homes, and combining our talents and skills to create an enterprise which sustains us physically and emotionally. Is it feasible? I don't know. Will it actually happen? I don't know that either, but like the Little Matchgirl, it's the vision keeping me warm in the dark.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:54 AM on October 8 [8 favorites]


Re retirement and crone island. A group of us, whom have been friends for a very long time are seriously considering buying contiguous parcels of land, and building tiny homes,

Alternative, think of forming a LLC to run a "Nursing Home" which just happens to sit on those contiguous parcels.
posted by mikelieman at 10:33 AM on October 8 [3 favorites]


On the retirement and crone island aspect, the Internet serendipity machine just showed me Older Womens Co-Housing, which isn't an island, but otherwise looks like it might be similar, in N. London
posted by amcewen at 11:04 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Should I believe that I've had Lots of Choices my whole life, and this* is what I've done with those choices - or that I was lied to and deceived, and most of those were false choices, a dizzying array of "possibilities" with none of them actually leading to security, much less prosperity?

That’s fine, but I am stalled in a high prestige but low pay job that there isn’t a way out of without either taking on the management of a department (which I think i’d stink at) or leaving my field entirely. And I mostly like my job but it pays what many make as an entry level employee, and raises are not something that really happens.

I don't feel like I had a whole lot of options. If I had to go back and do it all again I would fall into the exact same situation because I didn't have a lot of choices. I got into the field i work in because I didn't drive, got laid off from my dream career, and this is a company town, so working at the big employer or barista were pretty much my options and I can't stand coffee. And to be fair, the first ten years were great. But the last five have gone completely insane. Ever diminishing staff, the work load gets bigger, we're kind of expected to be therapists dealing with people in crisis, which is frequent (I had to deal with someone who was possibly suicidal recently and hoo boy, did I not sign up for that when I originally got hired to do data entry), everyone's miserable and trapped. I cannot get another job for shit because I am not also a combination of travel agent, budget analyst and event planner in the job I have right now. I'm working on event planning skills but the other two seem beyond me because even though any moron can book a plane flight, I haven't done it with Their System for work, and I just plain don't want to do budgets and payroll. Hell, why is my job insane? Pretty much boils down to money issues. Let's not do more of that. The career counselor had no effing idea how to help me, nobody does. And yeah, raises? Hah. Not unless you can get another job, and see above.

Unless some drastic good miracle happens, I see myself on this course until I die. I can't seem to find a reasonable way off and "quit and become a homeless person" isn't a reasonable way off, even if that and death are the only ways off.

There must be a name for the effect where pay drops when women enter a field. (If there isn't, there should be.)

It should probably involve the word "cooties." As in, this job field has now been contaminated by girl cooties.

insomnia is a fun symptom of menopause

Let's combine that with all the studies of "if you don't get 8 hours of sleep a night you'll get dementia and diabetes." GOOD GOD, MAN, I TRIED TO GET 8 HOURS! I forced myself to go to bed at 9 (note: am a night owl so this generally doesn't work too well for falling asleep at that time) and TRIED to go back to sleep when I woke up at 4 a.m. feeling like I could do the conga!
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:30 AM on October 8 [8 favorites]


Oh yeah, and the ambiguous loss thing is great. I'm a "super single" and knew from age 5 I wasn't ever going to get married, but it took me decades to get to the point where I'm fine with that and accept it. And yet it disturbs the shit out of people for you to say something like "yeah, I'm probably never gonna find true love." Everybody feels compelled to blow some hope up your ass. And I just want to go, really, dude? Technically it could happen, like a lightning strike, but again, the odds aren't good. Just look at me, you know? I can count on one hand the number of people who are shocked that I'm single. I wasn't meant to be partnered and while yeah, I know a few people who managed to find true love after 50, who's to say I'm that lucky?

"The person could be found in five minutes. Or never. You're not going to get an email from God that says you're never going to have a partner. That hope lingers on, and it's really hard to live in hope that is not met, but there's no end. Humans don't do uncertainty well."

You're damned right. This is why I call myself "permanently single," because I can't live with that microscopically infinitesimal tiny slice of hope indefinitely. You can't run your life around that. I consider myself fortunate to not want kids under the circumstances. Hey God, you know how you find someone when you're not looking? That's been going on for over a decade now.... still not finding! Because I never will!
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:41 AM on October 8 [12 favorites]


The american dream we were sold or conscripted into is not the only way to live, is not a healthy way to live, is not a sustainable way to live. Other cultures and timeperiods have structured community and family differently. Before i chose "tiny house recluse" (I'm inelligible to move to Crone Island) i can offer some resources that were helpful to me when contemplating a more social housing and living arrangement.

Diana Leaf Christiansen has two books with great advice about founding and runnning intentional communities: everything from separate houses in a neighborhood association to cohousing to communes.

IC.org lists existing and forming communities. Visiting existing communes, cohousing blocks and private suburban communities can be an uplifring and eye opening experience.

You're not alone, and through cooperation thrre are ways to reduce your exploitation and find security, meaning and escape from a society that demands everything and rewards the worst.

As for naming, Crone Island is catchy, I also like Gynasophia
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 11:49 AM on October 8 [4 favorites]


Anchorite_of_Palgrave: Other cultures and timeperiods have structured community and family differently.

From my reading, I'd guesstimate that at least 80% of them have still found a way to give women miserable lives. (To give most people miserable lives, yes, but to give women especially miserable lives.)
posted by clawsoon at 12:44 PM on October 8 [9 favorites]


The 2016 presidential election was perfectly timed to be the cherry on top of my dawning awareness that the glass ceiling is totally fucking real, and we were sold a bill of goods: women can't do anything they want. There's a ton of shit out there that is just completely closed to us, much of it rooted in unconscious bias, and if you try to point that out a lot of people won't believe you.

Somehow I didn't believe in the glass ceiling until I saw it hit my cohort of working women, and it's weird because it's not like it wasn't there all along. Even when I worked in a majority-female industry, the top bosses were very disproportionately male. But still, I think I believed that things were changing, getting better all the time? In 10 years, when I was more senior, I would be recognized as such? I don't know. But it took me a couple of years of watching what happened to the careers of middle-managment women vs middle management men at my company (the former pushed out, or stopped dead in their career tracks, the latter increasingly promoted) to finally register what was going on.

And to be clear, it's not that I thought all women could accomplish whatever they wanted professionally -- I was aware that race and class and non-cis/het status could hold someone back. I just didn't think that if you had all the other things (middle class background, whiteness/passing, an education) that purely being female was still going to be a total disqualification for many things. Right in time for non-election of HRC.
posted by mrmurbles at 2:46 PM on October 8 [34 favorites]


Right in time for non-election of HRC.

It has been very painful.

I remember when I believed in a meritocracy and want to go back and slap myself twice in the head, once for believing it and once for having to unwind it as I got older. And maybe a third time for taking a hard look at the true hand of cards at 3AM on election night.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:03 PM on October 8 [15 favorites]


A few of my friends are starting to discuss this idea of living together in retirement, and have asked me if I wanted in. I like the idea, but I’ve witnessed how people change, physically and mentally, as decrepitude sets in. It can be disturbing. On the whole I’d rather be cared for by strangers. I’ll find an aged care place that seems decent and move myself in to save people the hell of making that decision for me. I’ll bring a bunch of board games and make friends with my fellow aged wrecks and somehow I will fucking make it work.
posted by um at 6:32 PM on October 8 [2 favorites]


I mean, I’m also looking forward to all that retirement home sex I keep hearing about.
posted by um at 6:43 PM on October 8 [4 favorites]


Eeek that's terrifying. I'm younger than this (an older millennial) and I very much worry about what my 40s and 50s have in store for me.

I think it's very interesting how much most conventional personal finance advice seems to assume that once you're established (whatever that means) in your career, as long as you avoid the dread 'lifestyle inflation', it's basically smooth sailing until you hit 65, hopefully with enough money to actually retire. Credit card and student loan debt is a problem to deal with in your 20s, and you'd better save like hell for retirement, but precious little about the in between: what to do when life happens to you when you hit middle age. Stuff that even a healthy emergency fund (if you're lucky to have one) won't help. Part of me thinks that it's because this advice was written for a different and less precarious time. Part of me thinks it's because for most people, there's really nothing that can be done about it anyway so it's not worth worrying about. Living below my means seems like prayer - it really won't keep the wolves from my door when it comes down to it but at least I'm doing something.
posted by eeek at 7:23 PM on October 8 [7 favorites]


most conventional personal finance advice seems to assume that once you're established (whatever that means) in your career, as long as you avoid the dread 'lifestyle inflation', it's basically smooth sailing until you hit 65

I have come to believe that the reason most people repeat this stuff to each other, and get upset if you challenge it, is because it's used as a litany against fear. Everyone knows, deep down inside, that the combination of elderly powerlessness and stock market forces is terrifying, but pleez pleez pleez let the 4% rule keep working when I'm old! Honestly, I think Pogo_Fuzzybutt is right that the "401k experiment" was a mistake -- not the existence of 401k's as a bonus "third leg of the retirement stool" after pensions and Social Security, but as the only thing you're supposed to need.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 8:02 PM on October 8 [4 favorites]


I've been reading and rereading Mary Ruefle's essay "The Pause" mentioned in the thread about Frances McDormand, and though it's beautifully written, the rage of the forties and fifties is not all the rage of menopause. (I am one of the people she mentions who was relatively symptom-free. I had some hot flashes. That was about all.)

The anger is about being both prisoner and jailer, about being the oppressed victim and at the same time in charge of administering the oppression. It's about the responsibilities of motherhood, daughterhood, and sisterhood in a world which considers all three to be invisible except as masks that contain meaning only for those who observe them. The "invisibility" of the older woman is not actually a phenomenon of age. Our interior is invisible before that; we are animated mannequins who exist like furniture for men (terrible casting call descriptions are a telling example). Perhaps I overstate my case - Ruefle gets a lot right. But women, like men of that age, must continue to function while they have lost their intrinsic value and have become their jobs, and societal disapproval is much stronger when women retreat to their dens, to their televisions, to their buddies, to the bar, or to the second, younger spouse. We are supposed to keep taking care of everyone, all the time, with no escape.

And while I agree that the post-menopausal world is a very free place, and that the view from beyond is very different, it is accompanied by the wear and tear of a long, active life, by unexpected illness, and by slowing down in every sense. Though I am happy and productive these days, though my life is a useful and interesting place, I am (as I dreamed the other night) "littler and littler" and will eventually be so small I will not exist.

No, I'm not saying I give up or even that I retreat. No, yesterday I attended a sports clinic in preparation for going to a foreign country to compete in my sport in my age group championships. The day before I coached all day. The week previous, I was working constantly at my so-called part-time job, doing things I've never done before, and I was walking, writing, and counseling friends. But at the same time I am startled all the time to realize, when I catch a glimpse of myself in a photo or in people's reactions to me, that I am an old person, and that those articles about aging in place, defending yourself against financial predators, and having an alert system are about people like me.
posted by Peach at 5:07 AM on October 9 [19 favorites]


I would like to chime in to say how relieving it has been to read everyone's experiences in here.

The comments on MeFi lead me to believe most everyone here is making $200k+ living a nice sheltered life in the better parts of the best cities. It's good to know I'm not alone in being dissatisfied with where I've ended up so far.
posted by FakeFreyja at 8:22 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


This is...a really weird article for me to read, as a GenX woman who is also a child of immigrants. It's both - familiar and alien, all at the same time?

Because I grew up in the same "you can have it all" time, but I still had the voices of my mother and grandmother, echoing, "This is how you protect yourself, your child. This is how you claw back your life from men." Like, I grew up reading romance novels and dreaming about a man who would be my everything and still give me freedom to be myself, but I also had my grandmother whispering, "The only ones you can count on are the women in your life."

So I am like this weird fucking blend of both, I have a long work history but also refused to get serious with any dude who didn't have a career. I didn't marry my husband for his money, but it's true that I wouldn't have even considered marrying him if he didn't have a professional career. And I love him, but he's not where I take most of my daily internal life. If I tried, I would be disappointed- he's just not capable of it.

And I feel like in some ways that lack of expectations helped me? Like I never thought I would be happy in the ways we were told we would be happy, and it lets me take small happiness where I can. I'm happy in my daughter, in my dog, in small pleasures, in laughing and dreaming with my women friends.

So I'm definitely a fucking anxiety mess, but I wouldn't categorize it as a midlife crisis, exactly, because I expect to be anxious and struggling. But maybe it is? It's weird and hard.
posted by corb at 8:48 AM on October 9 [7 favorites]


Progesterone - which isn't what causes breast cancer - can help alleviate insomnia during perimenopause. I'm not a doctor and not your doctor, but I have trouble understanding why they don't routinely encourage women to take it to help with insomnia. Thanks for everything everyone is writing.
posted by goneill at 9:01 AM on October 9 [1 favorite]


401k's as a bonus "third leg of the retirement stool" after pensions and Social Security
I am 40 and I have both a 401K and a pension. Other than my coworkers, I don't know anyone under 55 that also has both. I count it as another piece of massive privilege that I accidentally earned by not going to college and getting my job at 19. Even my company has phased out pensions for those hired a few years after me.
There is a fourth leg to be concerned with - health care. The few people I know who voluntarily retired early were able to do it because of the VA or other source of affordable health care. I think lowering the age of Medicare eligibility will do two things: make older workers cheaper for employers to keep around and allow those who want to retire to be able to do it earlier, thus helping both the 60 year old worker (more money) and the 20 year old worker (more opportunity).
posted by soelo at 9:47 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]


I think it's very interesting how much most conventional personal finance advice seems to assume that once you're established (whatever that means) in your career, as long as you avoid the dread 'lifestyle inflation', it's basically smooth sailing until you hit 65, hopefully with enough money to actually retire. Credit card and student loan debt is a problem to deal with in your 20s, and you'd better save like hell for retirement

Oh my glob, if I had a dollar for every lecture I got from someone well-meaning who makes three times what I do about how I should be saving a third of my income, I might have a shot at being able to retire. My student debt is from law school and it eats a third of my income every month. I always want to ask people if they think I should stop eating and wearing clothes, stop paying rent, or default on my loans and risk losing my professional license. I'm 41 and the only way I'm going to get out from under my student debt is if my health worsens enough to take me out of the workforce, which is not a good option. This has been a crisis since my 30s and will continue indefinitely.
posted by bile and syntax at 10:51 AM on October 9 [3 favorites]


I'm not a doctor and not your doctor, but I have trouble understanding why they don't routinely encourage women to take it to help with insomnia.

See re: invisible, inadequate health care, big pharma, keeping women at a disadvantage, gaslighting, patriarchy, etc...
posted by elsietheeel at 11:29 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


yes, elsietheeel, yes. see also: my entire medical history.
posted by goneill at 11:44 AM on October 9


Oh my glob, if I had a dollar for every lecture I got from someone well-meaning who makes three times what I do about how I should be saving a third of my income, I might have a shot at being able to retire. My student debt is from law school and it eats a third of my income every month. I always want to ask people if they think I should stop eating and wearing clothes, stop paying rent, or default on my loans and risk losing my professional license.

Don't forget - Gen-X also lived through THREE recessions in our adult earning lives. I had to wipe out my savings for each one just to make ends meet. (and one time that was even at the advice of a financial advisor.)

So even when we've done everything RIGHT it hasn't helped.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:49 AM on October 9 [16 favorites]


Not to mention that our parents also lived through a serious recession in the early 80s while many of us were kids, so they accumulated less in the way of assets and/or lost ground, meaning there was less money available to launch us and a fair amount of precarity in childhood.
posted by Miko at 12:50 PM on October 9 [4 favorites]


Don't forget - Gen-X also lived through THREE recessions in our adult earning lives. I had to wipe out my savings for each one just to make ends meet.

I'm GenX. I went to law school a little late, as in not straight out of college. I graduated in 2008, literally right after the crash. A bunch of my classmates had their big-firm offers rescinded, and several more had to leave the field of law because there were no jobs. This is just the people I know from my top 20 school.
posted by bile and syntax at 12:50 PM on October 9 [3 favorites]


Progesterone - which isn't what causes breast cancer - can help alleviate insomnia during perimenopause. I'm not a doctor and not your doctor, but I have trouble understanding why they don't routinely encourage women to take it to help with insomnia.

Isn't that one of those chemicals that gets used for birth control? Wouldn't want to have women having carefree sex; gotta keep that stuff on tight lockdown so only those who really NEED it can get it.
/sarcasm

... You can extend that "logic" to pretty much any form of health care that's only provided to women.

And even on the insurance companies that offer it - women are twitchy about taking hormones. A lot of us have problems with some of them, and there's a lot of horror stories about what happens when the dosage is wrong or clashes with other medication. Many doctors are oblivious to all of that. They fall back on either "hormones are evil and turn women into sluts" or "hormones will fix your life and if you're not comfortable taking it, you must have a head full of superstitious feminist propaganda."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:42 PM on October 9 [6 favorites]


When I was 20 and didn't want or need hormones of any kind I was basically ordered to take them by all medical professionals all the time, instead of getting treatment for what was obviously, in retrospect, a serious medical condition. Now that I am 40 and desperately need hormones to function, because I never got treatment for that serious medical condition, I have extraordinary trouble getting them, even though I am under the care of multiple doctors with 'endocrine' in their job description.

Oh I could cry, and maybe it would be because I'm frustrated with the medical community, or maybe it would be because I have wildly fluctuating levels of estrogen BECAUSE NOBODY CARES ABOUT WOMEN!!! Who knows?

THANKS PATRIARCHY
posted by goneill at 3:00 PM on October 9 [4 favorites]


I was super into cohousing and intentional communities when I was younger, before I discovered that a) most people are assholes and the ones that aren't probably aren't interested in cohousing, and if they are they probably don't want to live where you want to live; and b) cohousing / intentional communities require a SHITLOAD of capital to start up. They're basically only for rich white people.

Buuuut if someone here can prove me wrong I'd be delighted! And I'd ask when I can move in!
posted by rabbitrabbit at 7:09 PM on October 9 [7 favorites]


Bunglegirl: I was talking to a coworker about her chronic heath issues and wondered aloud how it's going to be for her to get heath insurance when the ACA is gone and she replied "oh I don't have to worry about that, I'm on my parents' insurance."

Off topic but ... this is what I have hated about the media's coverage of Obamacare (and the various repeal attempts) from the very beginning. It's always written about the fight between Republicans and Democrats, not about the specific things the laws set out to do. Because your coworker is ignorant of the fact that staying on her parents' insurance is something she can do only because of the ACA!!!
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 8:42 PM on October 9 [4 favorites]


Gen-X also lived through THREE recessions in our adult earning lives. I had to wipe out my savings for each one just to make ends meet.

That's just it. So much "retirement advice" is all "start putting 50,000 dollars per year into a 401k at age 7, and with 12% average interest...."

It took ~5 years for my 401k to recover from the last recession, and three from the one before that. That's 8 years of growth lost. Add in the wage stagnation - recall that half your retirement savings growth is supposed to come from raises - and it is nearly impossible to put enough money away on a middle class or less income.

And that leaves out the costs of childcare, and soon, the costs of caring for our parents. And god help you if you have a medical crisis.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:44 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


I joked up above about my inheritance being something that makes me solvent. Interestingly - that very topic is actually something my parents are in a state of negotiation about right now.

Sometime last year, when my parents and I were in a room together (I don't remember the circumstances), my father let slip that they knew that financially, I'd had shit luck compared to my brother - and that they would be trying to make up for that in their will. However, my mother objected, saying that she hadn't agreed to that - she wanted to divide things evenly between my brother and I. My father argued that my brother had thus far had a more stable employment history - through no fault of my own - and had in-laws who were well-off, compared to my having shit job luck and being single (and hey, just being a single woman, too) - so an even split ultimately wasn't fair. They dropped the discussion right then, and I got the sense it was an ongoing thing they were still discussing.

But I took my father aside privately a couple days later and said "listen, even if ultimately it doesn't happen, the fact that you acknowledge where I am and understand how I got there, and want to do something about it, is fantastic. Thank you."

....Can we make my Dad head of the Federal Bank or something?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:36 AM on October 10 [16 favorites]


That's amazing, EmpressCallipygos. I can't help but wonder how I have been nailed by each recession. During the last one, I used to joke that each new career path I had taken was hit by massive recession and which one would people like me to take out next? But, my husband, luckily for him and for us, has managed to skate through. He has always easily gotten new jobs and only had a brief bout of unemployment during the depths of the tech implosion. He's never had to endure the lengthy rounds of multiple interviews before being put off. I had one local architecture firm interview me at length over a year, meeting all kinds of people and in the first round, they hired a dude who has "more extensive hand-drawing skills." Which, uh, if you're looking for a watercolorist to do renderings then say that up front. Whatever. After the second lengthy round, they brought up at the last minute their software package and whether I knew it, I was familiar with it and told them that I could easily jump in but I would need a bit of time to get into their groove. At the time, I could walk digital circles around 90% of folks in architecture, young and old, but they hired a dude who already knew it. I had several friends and one of them when he heard this bullshit got very angry and it was part of the reason he left that company. He was a real talent. But, who knows? I think of showing up as a woman as just a few demerit points. You can overcome it but if you don't have an active champion on the inside, it's harder. And men are just willing to "take a chance" on another person who looks and feels like them. Architecture is a sexist profession but, you know, the jokes on them, because it also doesn't pay very well.
posted by amanda at 7:35 AM on October 10


1) Laughed out loud at the notion of prescribingn progesterone broadly. I can tell you that even the amount in a birth control pill makes me Hate All People (and more or less cease to see sunshine), and I know I'm not alone. There are LOTS of reasons why menopause is hard to "fix" and breast cancer isn't the only one.

2) It's about the responsibilities of motherhood, daughterhood, and sisterhood in a world which considers all three to be invisible except as masks that contain meaning only for those who observe them.

This resonated with me. Really, all this peri-menopause instability hits just as a lot of us, especially those who got into parenthood late, are getting bit in the ass by the "sandwich generation" phenomenon. I have a school-age child that takes some handling and the occasional meeting at school (in addition to regular scheduling overload), plus spouse and I are looking at four aging parents, who range from quite independent, to theoretically independent but actually high maintenance, to disabled and recently widowed, thus requiring a ton of work on logistical and financial structuring fronts, all on top of our two full-time jobs and local commitments.

It is a new form of Too Much, and I'm stressed all the time, in a way that you don't really lay on casual friends, and now many former diversions have become deluges of bleakness -- Twitter, podcasts, even the Sunday paper -- and there's just no respite other than pure escapism, which isn't really that good for one's nuclear family... And so we just put our heads down and plunge onward, but WHEW!
posted by acm at 7:53 AM on October 10 [2 favorites]


my father let slip that they knew that financially, I'd had shit luck compared to my brother - and that they would be trying to make up for that in their will.

This is a thing I'm thinking a lot about right now - like, we are thinking of trying for another baby, and if born, this new baby will be set up so much better than the kid I had while a struggling single mother, and have advantages first baby did not. And so inheritance wise, how to account for that without creating deep resentment? I mean maybe cart before horse in my own case, but I imagine everyone doing will planning has some version of this on their mind.
posted by corb at 8:51 AM on October 10


Yeah, this is far from a Thing I Can Count On; what to do about your wlll is such a personal decision. and I also totally get where my mother is coming from too, just like you don't want to cause deep resentment between your kids.

That is exactly why I made a point of telling my father that "I am grateful for the thought, even if you ultimately cannot manifest it." Because sincerely, I am. I get so many other messages that the financial shit I'm in is my own making, and the path out of it is solely on me, that simply having my father's recognition that it is not my fault, and his recognition that it hasn't been fair for me, has been deeply, deeply validating.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:44 AM on October 10 [5 favorites]


I joked up above about my inheritance being something that makes me solvent. Interestingly - that very topic is actually something my parents are in a state of negotiation about right now.

The only economic security I have, and my only hope of ever establishing ANY kind of retirement fund -- even an insufficient one -- came from my father's unexpected life insurance payout. He was otherwise insolvent, bankrupted by the illness that killed him in the pre-ACA days. I was so broke when he died that I almost couldn't pay to run his obituary, and then all of a sudden I had two years' salary in the bank. Every decision I've been able to make in the last decade is because I have that nest egg at my back.

All in all, of course, I'd rather have my dad around (he was only in his early 50s) but I would almost certainly be back to living under his roof right now if he were.

I know SO many people for whom something similar is also the case. In my chronically underpaid field when you meet someone who's been at it more than 5 years, you can bet your hat they have a trust fund, a windfall, or a wealthy professional spouse.

I imagine everyone doing will planning has some version of this on their mind.

My partner's folks are in the midst of this right now and I'm very curious to see what they settle on.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:45 AM on October 10 [1 favorite]


I was so broke when he died that I almost couldn't pay to run his obituary, and then all of a sudden I had two years' salary in the bank.

This is another thing I think about that is affecting Gen X particularly, in that life-saving medical advances came about just in time for our grandparents to be old. Which, don't get me wrong, I love having most of my grandparents around, they're amazing and I love them, but the same time at this point in their life, my parents' parents had already received inheritances, some of which passed down to them. When people are dying in their 60s and 70s, you not only don't have expensive end of life care, you also receive inheritances while there's still time for it to make a significant impact.

My partner's mother died at that age, which now seems absurdly early, and it is going to make our life so much easier, which gives me so many complicated feels. But I think it's definitely a real factor.
posted by corb at 10:08 AM on October 10 [7 favorites]


My mom is planning to give everything to my little brother. He lived at home until his 30s. They both love Fox News and guns. He did manage to carve out a lucrative career but I don't think it's going to make him happy. Everytime I go home, my mom points out things that she has promised to him. It's painful so I don't go "home" anymore. He's actually a nice guy but my two brothers get a kind of parental treatment that I don't and all three of us are wildly different people.

My spouse has some anxiety about financially supporting his parents. But, we can't. And they don't want us to know the particulars of their financial issues and I won't support them without knowing more. It sounds cruel but one of them has been sending money to Nigeria even after numerous confrontations and interventions.

Also, just listening to the endless blabber about the birth control "debate" on the news and fuck everyone who is planning to rely on me to do anything for them.
posted by amanda at 11:40 AM on October 10 [1 favorite]


Every decision I've been able to make in the last decade is because I have that nest egg at my back.

Aaaaand as I was typing this comment the decision was made to lay off my department and cancel my project so now I'm unemployed...again. For the, what, 9th time in my 15 year career? No way that would put a dent in retirement planning. No sir.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:03 PM on October 10 [9 favorites]


Simply raising our kids has also become more challenging. Autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia and other special-needs diagnoses have surged, which means a higher likelihood that parents of our generation will be caring for a child with an intellectual disability or developmental delay.

Unless she's comparing us to generations that institutionalized their children with disabilities -- and maybe she is -- that's not accurate. There are more official diagnoses for autism and other special needs, but that's because of increased awareness and expanded definitions. People with disabilities have always been here.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:03 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]


« Older A post of a good sort   |   The swinging piano sound of Ms. Cleo Brown Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.