I have been thinking a lot about being single and alone recently.
I feel like my singleness has never been so much in my face as it is now with this job search. It is the thing that I feel is stopping me from pursuing my dreams, which is something I never thought I would give into. But I really feel like my options are doing what I want to do but be alone, or do something else and have a potential of finding a partner or at the very least living in a city where there are other singles.
On the one hand there are jobs that I can have working in a shul, which was always my dream – but all of those jobs are in places that I either can’t or won’t live in alone. It is not good to be single and live in suburbia or move to Nairobi or even Sydney. The job in Nairobi would be amazing for me – but it would be completely socially isolating and I’m not sure how safe it would be for me to go there alone, as a single woman. Even the job in Sydney I am worried about applying for, as all I hear is how there are no single men there, especially where the shul is located. But these are the jobs that make my heart lift; the jobs that sound perfect; the jobs that I would love to do…if only I was ok being alone…
On the other hand there are jobs that I can’t apply to because I am single. Still in 2017 there are jobs, even in the very modern/open/progressive Jewish world, that the only image of family or adult is one that is married (no matter what gender either partner are). I am not seen as one who can really show what a Jewish home is. I am not seen as one who is able to hold my own or teach in a serious way. It doesn’t matter that I hold a BA, MA, and comes June smicha; or that I have held a job and ran a community already. Nope, all that matters is if I have a ring on my finger and a legally binding partner (they are not ok with roommates who are not married to one another).
And so day in and day out I am forced to see that I am single. I was talking to a friend yesterday, and he noticed my unhappiness with my choice for next year, and was the first person to tell me not to give up my dreams, but I will have to give up one of my dreams. I am forced to decide the next step in my life, and I feel like my options are either to pursue what I have been working towards, but know that I will be alone OR take a slightly different path so I can live in a city.
I hope to be proven wrong.
PS. An interesting book to read, that I found really speaks to my life as a single woman “All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation” by Rebecca Traister