Choices in life, choices

Laura Hancock started practising yoga when she worked for a charity. It was a job that involved long hours and caused a lot of anxiety. Yoga was her counterbalance. “It saved my life, in a way,” she says.

Yoga brought her a sense of peace and started her journey of self-inquiry; eventually, she decided to bring those benefits to others by becoming a yoga teacher. She studied for more than eight years before qualifying. That was about 10 years ago; since then, she has been teaching in Oxford, her home town.

At first, the work felt like a privilege, even though she was working a lot and not earning much. “There was a sense that, if you gave it your all and you did it with integrity and love and all those things, then it would eventually work out for you.”

But recently she had a moment of realisation. “I can’t afford my rent, I have no savings, I have no partner, I have no family. I’m 38 and most of my friends have families; they’re buying houses,” she says. “There is a lot of grief around that. I feel like I’ve just landed on Earth, like a hard crash on to the ground, and am looking around and feeling quite lonely.”

Oh well, perhaps yoga teaching wasn’t quite the thing then love.

Or possibly, the sort of people who go to yoga classes – bored haute bourgeois houswives – aren’t willing to pay the servants properly. That has been a regular complaint about British life for a long time now……..

The rest of the piece seems to be about how women don’t find peace and happiness in their careers so much, but would welcome relationships and children.

Hmm, yes?

29 thoughts on “Choices in life, choices”

  1. The decline in marriage rates “is a class-based affair”,… The well-off are more likely to marry and have more stable families – and the advantages of this family structure are conferred on their offspring. For those in a more precarious financial situation, it can often be easier to stay single.

    Chicken and egg. Shagging around and ‘having it all’ until most of the decent blokes are already married may not be the best strategy. Who’d a thunk it.

  2. From the article:

    loneliness and singledom are endemic in this phase of capitalism

    Nothing to do with decades of the left attacking marriage and the family then?

    This is not an economic problem. If this yoga teacher’s earnings tripled overnight she’d be no happier.

    Incidentally, my sister knows a personal trainer who drives a Lamborghini. People doing this sort of work aren’t obliged to be poor.

  3. The decline in marriage rates probably has more to do with the way successive governments have subsidised single parents through the welfare state. Going down the job, marriage, mortgage / kids (whichever order suits)stability route is a non starter when you can get a paid for flat and an income from knocking out a sprog or three with a ‘baby father’.

  4. Devoted themselves to their work…Yoga? It’s the equivalent of me choosing to spend my life propped up against the bar and wondering why I’m broke and my wife has left me. Given many girls find husbands in their working environment, hanging out with bored haute bourgeois housewives and gays probably isn’t a good strategy.

  5. Hancock is one of the many people in recent years to recognise that they have devoted themselves to their work and neglected everything else that might give their life meaning.

    So feminists who told women that they shouldn’t get married or have children and should become worker drones instead, might have been wrong?
    Oh and those kids you didn’t have, we’ll just import millions of third-world women to have them instead. Result: profit!

    I’m sure there was a survey a few years ago that found women in the 1950’s were happier than women today.

  6. Laura Hancock started practising yoga when she worked for a charity. It was a job that involved long hours and caused a lot of anxiety.

    F off did your charity job involve long hours. I’ve never met an office-based charity worker doing more than a 10am-4pm. And if that makes you anxious then you’ve just not hit adulthood yet and built a bit of perspective.

    “I can’t afford my rent, I have no savings, I have no partner, I have no family. I’m 38″

    Yep, not yet hit adulthood.

  7. Also

    “She studied for more than eight years before qualifying”

    EIGHT years to learn to teach yoga? Either yoga teaching is the most complex subject on the planet or she’s missing quite a few brain cells

  8. “There’s this culture in education where it’s almost competitive about how much you work,”

    almost eh?

  9. Her LinkedIn also shows she decided to blow away some money in her late 20s on a Masters in Creative Writing. This after a degree in English. Before that she was private schooled. A long series of stupid financial decisions. Her parents must be so proud that their line ends in her.

  10. And yet, if I (40, owns own house, 2 okish careers, and looking for a third) were to ask her out she’d probably reject me out of hand for not meeting her exacting standards…

  11. she worked for a charity. It was a job that involved long hours and caused a lot of anxiety

    Sounds unlikely. Who ever heard of a charity job having long hours and lots of anxiety?

    She studied for more than eight years before qualifying

    The traditional three year undergraduate degree doesn’t sound so bad now.

    But recently she had a moment of realisation. “I can’t afford my rent, I have no savings, I have no partner, I have no family. I’m 38 …

    38 is late; but that’s what happens when you live somewhere like Oxford or Brighton or London. The normalisation of high house prices leave you stuck in a state of eternal twenty-something, and you don’t notice anything wrong because all of your friends are in the same boat. (The converse happens too: single women approaching 30 move to London so that they don’t have to see all their friends get pregnant / married.)

    “There was a sense that, if you gave it your all and you did it with integrity and love and all those things, then it would eventually work out for you.”

    That’s what school teaches little girls: study and work as hard as you can, and you’ll get a gold star.

  12. My stereotypical view of a yoga teacher is a woman in good physical shape but probably a herbivore who doesn’t drink caffeine or alcohol.

    In other words a bit prissy and not much fun which is likely to be the reason for the lack of boyfriend rather than the over work.

    But I could be wrong.

  13. Battery Chicken- what we don’t tend to get as many articles about is “The other woman”- i reckon it’s far more prevalent than people “working too hard to have a relationship”.

  14. Mal: if I (40, owns own house, 2 okish careers, and looking for a third) were to ask her out

    Worth a go, Andy. A yoga teacher should be in good nick at least.

    You should point out that you are probably her last chance of children and happiness, so at least she can make her parents happy.

    OTOH, rejecting you is likely to lead to bitter loneliness and lots of cats, which will one day feast on her corpse.

  15. This is a true story from a while ago. Aunt of mine devoted her life to looking after her aunt. Old girl nearly cracked the ton so my aunt early sixties by then. The following year I walked her down the aisle and gave her away to a similar aged widower. Moral of this story? Revealed preferences.

  16. “I’m 38 and most of my friends have families; they’re buying houses,”

    Thirty-eight.

    “That was about 10 years ago; since then, she has been teaching in Oxford, her home town.”

    Twenty-eight.

    “She studied for more than eight years before qualifying.”

    Twenty?

    “when she worked for a charity. It was a job that involved long hours and caused a lot of anxiety.”

    Plus what Mal said.

    “Hancock is one of the founding members of the new yoga teachers’ union”

    Er…

  17. Andrew M,

    “38 is late; but that’s what happens when you live somewhere like Oxford or Brighton or London. ”

    Oxford jobs pay about the same as jobs in Swindon, but with much higher house prices (and before people get into Oxford vs Swindon comparisons, a tiny part of it looks like an episode of Inspector Morse).

    But this stuff is also about every other choice. Yeah, luck is a variable, especially to becoming a billionaire, but men and women with families and money are about compromises, work, trade.

  18. loneliness and singledom are endemic in this phase of capitalism

    The economic system which permits people to be single and economically independent at 38 years old, yes that’s the problem alright.

    We need a system where such independence is impossible or only possible for the elite. Capitalism allows you the choice, which is clearly undesirable.

  19. “culture in education where it’s almost competitive about how much you work”: if you say so.

    In my day there was a culture of boasting how little you worked. It was all lies of course.

  20. “My stereotypical view of a yoga teacher is a woman in good physical shape but probably a herbivore who doesn’t drink caffeine or alcohol.

    In other words a bit prissy and not much fun which is likely to be the reason for the lack of boyfriend rather than the over work. ”

    OTOH she is probably very bendy.

  21. She says she has no family. Are they all dead or did she fall out with them?

    If she went to private school her parents must have money. Perhaps there are good reasons they are not supporting her.

  22. MC,

    You should point out that you are probably her last chance of children and happiness

    No. Find a way to let her come to that conclusion herself, rather than outright telling her the unpleasant truth. The bearer of bad news always gets the blame.

  23. Ducky McDuckface

    She was 20 when she decided to be a bum and it has taken nearly 20 years for her to realize it’s not a good idea.

    Silly bitch.

    When I was 20 I was working like a slave. It’s taken me until 45 to be where I want to be, but I’m sure this bitch thinks I should give her money because I have more of it.

    Fuck off, dear.

  24. Andy,

    “Some good points made by Carl.”

    Indeed, but I’m just not sure what you can do for these people. There’s a lot of fantasy living here. Everything seems to be channelled through the lens of things seen on television. If it’s not Sex and the City, it’s some charming Sunday evening show set in a Cornish fishing village. She’s have been better off living in Slough and applying her writing skills to doing PR at O2. She’d probably have met more regular guys rather than the sort of hipster manchildren living in London. But Slough is the sort of place that the TV takes the piss out of.

  25. ‘I’m just not sure what you can do for these people’

    For starters, stop telling them they can have it all and that actions have consequences. It may indeed be too late for us in our late 30’s/early 40’s, so focus on the younger generations- tell them to settle down and have a family while in their peak fertile years. Ignore the feminists and promote traditional family structures.

  26. I believe becoming a yoga instructor for some is more like something in line with martial arts than just doing courses, you have to work your way through levels some with minimum time limits. In fairness as it’s not just knowing the mechanics of it all but precise controlled application as well, as for if 8 years is reasonable I wouldn’t be surprised if she taught well before that then advanced and stepped up her teaching as she advanced.

  27. Woman who chose poorly ducks accountability for it by blaming everyone else.

    She has still clearly invested no energy in understanding the thing she desires, i.e. a man to have a family with.

    Guardian people are a study in failure….

  28. “Worth a go, Andy. A yoga teacher should be in good nick at least.
    You should point out that you are probably her last chance of children and happiness, so at least she can make her parents happy.”

    He’s also her last chance to get a ring on her finger, knock out a few kids and then claim all his assets in the inevitable divorce 5-7 years later.

    Any man with assets who is thinking of marrying a late 30s woman with advanced baby rabies needs taking out into the woods and given a good slapping to knock some sense into his head.

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