MISSED THE BOAT

Hi Suse and Ella,

I'm a 39 year old woman, single/never married, and just recently finished graduate school. My life has included living in many places, volunteering overseas, and becoming an acupuncturist. Only now I would like to find a partner, and begin putting down some roots. Only I feel like I've missedsome window that happened to everybody else, like I'd be on track for what I want out of life if I were 28, not almost 40. I would love some perspectives on not comparing myself to others, and living an authentic life.

Thank you,
Missed the boat
Dear Missed the Boat,

Firstly, we think you should never feel that you have missed the boat, as your boat will go on sailing, even if you are not convinced that it's the vessel you expected to travel in. It sounds like you have had a truly inspiring and adventurous life so far, and though we can understand your desire to put down roots and find a partner, you may find that rootlessness suits you. We would like to reccommend three books to help you with your search for authenticity. First you must meet Snufkin, the hero of the Moomintroll novels by Tove Janson, who spends his life moving from one idyllic woodland spot to the next, never putting down roots, but visiting his important friends regularly; he has few possessions, only his flute and his pipe. Snufkin will remind you that there will always be a part of you that is happy to be nomadic. Next get to know Sugar, from Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White. Sugar is the feisty heroine of this 800 page novel, who is determined to make the best of her life, even though she has been dealt a difficult hand, living in Victorian london as a prostitute. The gritty reality of this book will make you glad that the Sexual and the Industrial revolutions have made it possible for you to live the life you do. Finally, let us introduce you to the heroine of Keri Hulme's The Bone People, who leads a life of defiant originality, in her self-built house on a beach in New Zealand. With these three allies, you will have the courage to go your own way, whether it is a route that leads to a permanent residence and a long-term partner, or something else entirely, but equally authentic.
Yours,
Ella and Suse
We prescribe - Moominsummer Madness by Tove Janson
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
The Bone People by Keri Hulme

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A SLUG WITH VISIONS OF HUMANITYABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP ENDED, LEAVING SCARSADULT ACNEAFRAID OF FAILUREALCOHOLIC DAUGHTERALONE ON A WIDE, WIDE SEAAlways wanted to be a writerANOREXICANXIOUS ABOUT SINGLE FRIENDAT A FORK IN THE ROADAVID READER, LACKING BOOKBEREFT OF A CATBORED IN ALABAMABOTHERED AND BEWILDEREDBRAIN SHRINKING MOMMABROKENBROKEN HEARTBROKEN HEARTED - TORN BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE BEST FRIENDSBROKEN UP WITH GIRLFRIEND; FEELING BURNT OUTCAN’T MOVE ONCANDIDA REVOLTAIRECan’t afford to go on holidayCAST ASIDECHEATEDCHRONIC PAINCOLD HANDS AND FEETCONCERNED ABOUT DAUGHTERCONFLICTED PARTNERSCRAVING FOOD CULTURECYNICAL STEPSONDAILY ABUSEDARK NIGHT OF THE SOULDEPRESSED AND UNABLE TO READDEPRESSED DURING CHRISTMAS, AND LONELY NOWDESPERATELY WANTON GIRLDIRECTIONLESSEASILY BORED WITH NOVELSEMOTIONALLY SABOTAGED BY MY MOTHEREMOTIONS IN EXTREMEEVER THE FRIEND AND NOT THE PARTNEREXTREME ANGER AND FRUSTRATIONFADING AWAYFALLEN OUT WITH MY FRIENDSFALLING IN LOVE WAY TOO FASTFAZED AND CONFLICTEDFEAR OF CONFRONTATIONFEAR OF GETTING OLDFERTILITY PROBLEMSFOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT)FORGING A BRIGHT NEW FUTUREFRIEND WHO HAS LOST A CHILD LATE IN PREGNANCYFRIENDS DAUGHTER LOST TO SUICIDEFrightened of lifeGAPING HOLEGetting over a break-upGIRL OF UNCERTAINTY, BOUND BY RULESGIRL WHO DOESN’T FIT INGRIPPED BY LOSSGUILTY FRIENDHOPELESSNESSHOUSE AND LIBRARY DESTROYED BY FIREI love music more than booksI no longer commute – and therefore I no longer readI PEEK AT THE END OF NOVELS BECAUSE I WORRY THE CHARACTER MIGHT NOT MAKE ITI wish I were famousIN MOURNING OVER LITERARY DEATHSINABILITY TO SIT STILL AND ANXIETYINCONSISTENT AND NON-STUDIOUS- BUT AMBITIOUS NONETHELESSINDECISIVEINSECUREINTERESTED IN EVERYTHING BUT ACHIEVING NOTHINGINVISIBLE WOMANITALIAN NOVEL CURESJILTED AND UNSUREJOB IN LIBRARY UNDER THREATKICKED IN THE HEADLEADENLIVING ON THE MARGINSLONE RANGERLONELY AND DEJECTEDLONELY IN LOVELONELY IN MONOTONOUS JOB, LOSING SANITYLOOKING FOR A SENSE OF PURPOSELOOKING FORWARDSLOSS OF A SISTERLOSTLOW WATTAGELOW-ENERGY PESSIMISMMAD SCIENTISTMARRIED TO A MAN, ATTRACTED TO WOMENMISSED THE BOATMISSING MY MOTHER-IN-LAWMUM GOING BACK TO WORKNEED TO LET GONEW CITY, NEW LIFE -BOOKS FOR 12 YEAR OLD BOY?NEW FRIENDSHIP WITH HOLOCAUST SURVIVORNIGHTMARISH COLLEAGUENOMADIC FLANEURPOST NATAL DEPRESSIONPREGNANT AND ALONE