38 year old female feels time is running out

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    I really hope you can give me a different perspective as I find I am really struggling at present.

    I’m 38, female and single.

    Four years ago I broke up with my ex and since then have really tried to move on in my life. It’s been very much a work in progress; in many ways, life is so much better than before – I am fulfilled professionally, I have a good circle of friends, a home, my family and my health. There’s a lot to be thankful for – and I am. The last four years have been good – I have really learned to be kind to myself and I have really enjoyed life. I have said goodbye to the past – hard, as we had been together for 10 years, but I see it for what it was, a learning experience, good and bad times.

    Thing is; I am so lonely and, more than that, I feel that the hopes I had to become a wife and mother are slowly dissipating. I am trying to be open minded and hopeful that something might happen, but I can’t (and won’t) force it.
    I don’t want to ‘settle’, or rather, make a poor decision based on a fear. I have dated, but I haven’t met anyone I really feel strongly about.

    I tell myself that I am open to love, but the truth is I am slowly preparing myself for the eventuality of being on my own.
    I am 38 and I am so sad inside. I’m losing hope.

    I can appreciate the good things in my life, I am thankful and I am trying to be open to possibilities – but my hope is dying inside. I’ve given up on online dating, it just feels so mechanical. I meet a very limited number of new people.

    I am focusing my energies on lots of things: exploring other interests, my niece, work – but it is increasingly becoming the case that these feel like activities to fill a gaping void.

    thank you.


    i’ve dealt with rape victims, suicidal depressive people, brought people back from the edge of insanity, turned the most mundane individuals into something more capable than anything they could have managed themselves.
    And i am going to give you just a little hint of what you are missing. Take it as you wish, but i did stumble across you post by accident, as i am not a member or lurker of “tinybuddha” or any such forums that promote a worldview that is so far from reality. 🙂 therefore i probably wont be back for a reply or to “checkup” on you.

    you really need to travel, and gain an insight into who you are. Once you realize the basis of what your character has been built on, you can thus modify it to suit your needs.
    Want to be a mom? really? no i seriously do MEAN: REALLY? what is it that you are trying to fulfill? a sense of meaning/ belonging? or actually wanting to have a miniature human being to feed, clothe and grow? the answer to this will show you who you are, and i sense that in your inner-most secretive desires, you want to feel part of the group, belong and you need praise from others to appraise you of your position in their eyes, and that position needs to be high 🙂
    maybe change your career?maybe go back to university but in a land far away where you dont understand the language or cultures and need to adapt all over again to a new way of life ? 🙂 get out of your comfort zone. god damn it woman, go skydiving, climb a damned mountain, run a marathon. these are things to distract you for the time being, but it is during these extraneous excursion is when your desires of what you truly want, shall come forward to you, during those times when you can barely breathe, comprehend and/or move.
    maybe start a business, learn to code, learn graphic designing, learn to scuba dive, add value to yourself and keep moving on.
    there is so much i could teach and tell you, but the best teacher is always experience. Light a fire under your ass and go do something with your life that is worth remembering across the ages, do that, see what DOESN’T come to you.
    I once knew a man, idiotically wasted his life until 48, drugs, alcoholic, living on the streets, no education. One day (till this day no one really understood how) he got a nice younger woman pregnant(~25?)…Shifted his entire life around, year later, learnt coding on a broken pentium 2 laptop and worked his ass off…got himself into a fortune 500 company after 3 yrs freelancing and supporting his wife and daughter. he is 64 now….knows more than people with PHDs in CS/AI. He has created software that you are now using to browse this site and probably the reason for why your browser is responding in a timely manner to your clicks.

    the things that you think are important, family, love, kids, are really things you may never plan out, they will happen at the worst of times, as life is what occurs when you busy making other plans 🙂



    Thanks for the reply.

    To clarify; I would like to become a Mother because I would like to love and bring up a child. If I had wanted to be part of a group and get swept along, I would have had a child with my ex fiance (even though I knew the rel was going nowhere)

    In the past 4 years I have set up a business which is doing v well and sells into 14 countries, I’ve travelled to many, many countries and I have achieved a lot. As I said, my life is really interesting and I am fulfilled on lot of non personal levels. I’m driven, motivated and try my best: that is who I am !

    So, I think your comments about my needing to light a fire are slightly off the mark – but you won’t have known any of these things.


    lol…my temporary email had minutes left to expire before you replied, and i was alerted 🙂

    when i said travel and such,i meant out of comfort zone, away from friends, familiar languages, familiar surroundings, etc…the point of it all being that maybe you can find a romantic interest in a place unfamiliar to you as you have to rely on others to guide you.

    and really? you have experience and yet you come to a public place to gain an opinion? or idea? i still believe you are trying to find your own worth through others…but lets not argue that, you know yourself better than others, im sure.

    and why not simply adopt? or IVF? actually, try helping out in caring for a child of one of your friends or family? see what its actually like.

    and please remember, sometimes when you are dehydrated, you feel hungry. the body craves the fluids in the food as well. the point of my entire rant is that just be sure that this isnt one of those times. maybe you want love/acceptance and instead you get a child(which you may regret later) or vice-versa.


    I can definitely hear where hellno is coming from and to some extent agree. At the same time, the “Light a fire under your ass and do something with your life” message is not always very conducive to bringing about the fundamental shift you may need to truly find the freedom and equanimity you seek.

    I’ve been down the route of skydiving, climbing a mountain, scuba diving, running a marathon, moving to another country, and learning a new language as a way of trying to get out of a certain head space, but, from my experience, all I can say is that those things are simply temporary distractions. I’m not saying don’t do those things, but be very clear as to why you’re doing them. Do them because you want to do them, because they reflect your goals, values, and aspirations, not because they’re simply something else you could be doing with your time.

    hellno is also right about exploring further the void that you’re currently feeling and hoping to fill with a relationship and a child. Could it be that there are certain aspects of yourself that you do not love or accept fully? Is there still some self-doubt about your wholeness as a person without being in a relationship or mother?

    Do you pity those who have not had children or who are not in a relationship? Do you think they want your pity? Probably not. Why then do you pity yourself?

    There is the possibility that you may never be a mother or a wife. There is a possibility that you may not wake up tomorrow from your sleep, be disfigured in a horrible car accident, or find out that you have a terminal disease. Not that I would wish any of these things up on anyone, the probability of having are just as great as the probability of not having. There is amazing strength, resilience, and ultimately happiness in the acceptance and letting go of things and not trying to drive and control circumstances to meet your will.

    I’m not saying not to pursue a relationship or not to want to have children, but don’t get too emotionally attached to the outcome. Like skydiving or climbing a mountain, those things are simply experiences that you may or may not have. To say, “I will be happier if…” or “I will be happier when..” is setting yourself up for disappointment and mental anguish, stress, and anxiety.

    You will never be more happy or complete that you can be right now. The lens through which you view yourself and the world around you is yours to choose.

    • This reply was modified 11 years ago by John.


    In contrast to the other view expressed so far, a few things came to heart as I read your words. I can understand the yearning to share our life with an intimate partner, and to express our love through having children. Congratulations on building many successful areas in your life! A romance is not that different from other creations, and I have lots of faith that the pieces will come together for you.

    One of my teachers suggested that if I wanted an amazing intimacy that it would be helpful to write down what I was looking for. As both a heartfelt prayer and a deeper understanding of what I would like, my prayer was answered. It isn’t that much different than a business plan, where we crystallize our vision into a workable direction. Then, as we move forward, our heart has a way of pulling us toward that vision. For me, it was highly effective. When I met my wife, I was not looking, rather I was following my heart and we met while playing… and she and I simply clicked.

    If you consider writing down a vision of they type of man you feel you’d be compatible with, consider digging deep within and write from the heart. Consider trading material qualities such as height and weight for inner qualities such as the way he sees the world and the way he pours himself into it.

    Then, we can let go and trust that our heart and the universe are working together to see that yearning met. Keep open to your inspiration, because often that is where our guidance arrives… our inner voice sings a creative possibility, and when we follow it (for instance, a weird food desire or seeing an advertisement for a gathering that sounds fun) then we are giving space and nourishment to our heartfelt prayer.

    In the meantime, it might be helpful to let the “time is running out” feeling to settle. It reminds me of Zaphod Beeblebrox from Hitchhiker’s Guide who said “Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so.” 🙂 I find breathing meditation helpful in settling emotions, but any method where we self-nurture and get up ready to play may work. Our bodies and minds need reminding that we have the potential to feel happiness and satisfaction here and now, without the need for any other material conditions. From that place of contentment, we are more able to connect to the information present in the moment, both internal intuition and external circumstance.

    Good luck on your path!

    With warmth,


    It will come when you least expect it! Keep doing things you normally and do not think about it that much! If you think too negative or loosing hope you are going to attract all the negative energy! Just be yourself and traveling could be something that may enable you to meet a lot of new people! 🙂


    @Lex I don’t want to be overly critical, but I’ve never been a big fan of the phrase “don’t think about it that much”. It’s like saying to someone, don’t think about purple elephants and expecting their mind to go blank.

    It’s not what you think, it’s how you feel and react to what you’re thinking. You can’t always control your thoughts which are simply reactions to the stimulus around you, but you can control what you do with those thoughts, how much emphasis you put on them, and what meaning you attribute to them.

    Also, trying to choose between positive or negative thoughts will simply keep you spinning in circles or riding a roller coaster of emotions. Choose neither positive or negative. Instead, strive to choose to accept reality in all its current forms and future possibilities.


    ok i admit it
    lulu has now made me come to this site 3 times….this place is so weird.
    and oddly, makes me feel at peace as well, seriously what IS the philosophy of this site? its users? how big is it? who owns/runs it? this runs on something modified with wordpress isnt it?
    John and Matt, everything you guys mentioned, i did actually say in my posts, but i wanted it to be a little vague, i repeat, experience is the best teacher 🙂 and the best way to make someone grow is to make them realize stuff on their own, rather than give them a concrete opinion that they must accept/reject. It helps in dealing with psychotic/schizophrenic patients when calming them down (though does backfire unless used carefully), iv found using it on people to be really helpful who tend to be in lulu’s position. if there is any mental health professional here, i would love their feedback on this.

    to lulu: i repeat, adoption and ivf? these arent options out of the blue, they are regular things that are happening everyday around us, therefore have probably been considered by you, and rejected. my question is, why did you reject it? that little nagging feeling as to why doing those is a bad idea is what i am talking about. and what i really recommend is, talk to a mental health professional that you dont know/arent related to (ie: exchange money for therapy).

    so….can i be announced as being “right” in saying you’re trying to fill a void? 😀


    I’m not sure I agree with your assessment hellno. I’m not trying to ‘fill a void’ – but yes, I am lonely, at times. It’s not that I am questioning my value as a single person, rather that being on my own is all well and good, but I would like to share my life with someone special. Why is that so wrong? Coming out with comments like ‘trying to fill a void’ is…tiresome.

    I’ve taken a lot from Matt and Lex’s comments especially. John:I don’t ‘pity’ myself, but I do feel that I would like to be a mother. I’m probably no different to anyone my age with a ticking biological timeclock.

    IVF and adoption do not feel the right options for me – yet. Maybe, but not yet. I’d prefer to bring up a child with someone that I am in a loving committed rel with.
    Why is that so wrong?

    Hellno – I’ve done all the exciting stuff (and more) that youve outlined, lit a fire, worked my ass off. My life is really interesting – challenging and fulfilling.
    Do I want love/acceptance from another – yeah, of course. But I am not going to make a poor decision and ‘settle’ or – worse – accidentally on purpose get pregnant just so I can have a kid. That would be filling a void!

    Thanks for all the replies everyone; much appreciated.



    Consider reading “Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism” by Chogyam Trungpa, which might help you understand the restlessness that remains after the bravado blows out.

    Welcome to the community! Feel free to post your own post if you’d like more of your curiosities addressed. This is Lulu’s thread. 🙂

    With warmth,



    Your yearning is worth respecting, and does not arise because of a “void”. Hellno has issues 🙂 There is magic when two join as one in heart, mind and body… that you are honoring that and looking to understand what to do next is awesome. Not that you need help rejecting wrong views, but i felt the call to respond just in case it left a canker. 🙂

    With warmth,


    Hi Lulu,
    As an observer of this conversation, I must say I think you are feeling a void. It may be true that you are meant to find someone who you feel fulfilled by and have a child. But the truth is that right now you are experiencing an existential “crisis.” I would deal with that. The rest will probably follow.
    Be well


    I am saying this in the nicest possible way…but please stop trying to label me! I am ok – more than ok! I am no more in crisis than anyone else is.
    I am just lonely sometimes – not all the time, but sometimes, and I would like to meet someone I can share my life with!

    Of course I question the nature and the purpose of life: who doesn’t? But that isn’t necessarily a negative thing ..it just means I am a conscious, evolving being – as are you.
    ‘Crisis’ is just so damningly negative – and I am not. I am enjoying my life, I’m at peace with my past, I’m just yearning for someone I can build a future with.


    I’m going to put on my beginner’s hat because I hear where you’re coming from and empathize with the struggle – I too have these moments of yearning and I’m trying to explore where they come from and what to do with that energy that brings about feelings of longing and desire to be with someone, which can sometimes be very frustrating with your mind lashing out at the world, “Hey! Why not me?!’

    But if there is no void, if there is no self-pity, if there is no crisis, if you are perfectly content with all aspects of yourself and your life, what’s left but to take each day as it comes and accept whatever may or may not come?

    I direct this question to you as much as I do at myself.

    I’m in a state of mind right now where if I meet someone, if we like each other, if we fall in love, if we get married, if we have a child, that’s great. And if none of that happens or if along that relationship trajectory, one of us or both us decide to go our separate ways for whatever million reasons people do, it won’t be the end of the world. Life will go on. I’ll be happy. She’ll be happy. And eventually, the struggle will end with death.

    I realize it’s a very stoic approach to life, but that’s simply where I am today and so I want to be transparent about where my response is coming from.

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