Childless and fantastic – just a myth or a happy reality?
I thought that my life without responsibilities would be over by the age of 30, but as it turns out I am childless and fantastic. The fun doesn’t have to end just because other people are settling down.
I tried to squeeze in a lifetime’s worth of adventure by living at hyperspeed. This was only so I’d be “ready” for marriage and motherhood by about the big 3-0. I felt that I should already have lived a full life. By this time I should be ready to assume a best supporting actress role in the lives of my husband and children. As it turns out, I still have a lot of other dreams with just a few weeks to go before celebrating three decades.
The idea of sacrificing my body, career, and lifestyle for my children doesn’t thrill me with joy and anticipation. Although I think society should do much more to support parents, and I want to pay forward all the love that my parents gave me, it’s not necessarily for my own children. Being a dad looks like fun though. Especially as it turns out you also get paid more and get promoted at work! As far as eternal love and commitment goes, I do rather like men. It’s just that I haven’t really fancied any particular bloke all that much yet. So far romantic interests are mostly seasonal heroes or villains. They get to bring lessons while I get to remain the main character of the hopefully Oscar-winning series that is my life.
I know this all might make me sound like selfish Cersei, the evil queen in the Game of Thrones books (she wasn’t such a mothering type). However I fancy myself more as a Daenerys Targaryen. Nothing but a Khal Drogo (minus the forced marriage) will do. And while I am not likely to become a Mother of Dragons, I hope to be the creator of beautiful photographs, profound intellectual think-pieces, and scores of exciting stories. As far as “settling down” goes, I would like to own my own apartment. I want it to have enough space to invite people over and host out of town guests. But it should be in an artsy post-industrial neighborhood close to the city, rather than a leafy family-friendly place deep in the suburbs. I’m excited to participate in civic life and be part of a community long-term.
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The one wife and mother I do kind of envy had her kids after 35. She is a successful entrepreneur, runs a non-profit, has a pretty cool husband, and still hangs out with friends. Even with children under 5, she doesn’t seem too much like a “mom”. She even has hobbies! It seems like this could be because she has not been responsible for any other lives for a fair chunk of her life. She never aimed specifically to get married and have kids, she just tried to live her life.
Breaker of chains
As for the rest of the mothers I know, I feel happy that they got what they wanted. They seem to enjoy it. But I feel the same lack of envy most of them seem to feel when I go travel on my own for weeks at a time in countries that are not heavily marketed as paradise for solo women (India, Egypt., Morocco…). Personally, it took me a long while to let myself enjoy my life without FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Even though I was living the life I wanted, I felt I was missing out on the roles of wife and mother.
My likelihood of becoming a monarch or hatching dragon eggs is quite low. But I do hope I can share one title with Daenerys: Breaker of Chains. I met a nineteen-year-old girl recently while travelling. She asked me if I was lonely and if I wanted to have children. I didn’t have a simple answer for her. But I shared some of the highs and lows of my adventures up to now. I told her that I am far from alone or unhappy, even if I am not in a relationship and don’t have children. I am childless and fantastic. It was amazing to see the look in her eyes when she realized there are more paths to happiness than she imagined. I felt like a living legend.
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