Somewhere around the age of three, I knew for sure that I was going to be independent and child free. Not because I don’t like children, but somehow I knew that my life was going to be about something else. Of course at three, I had no clue what that might be, but I knew that motherhood and domesticity were not for me.
Like any child who knows exactly what she wants, I was informed by my elders that I don’t know what I want, and that surely when I grew more intelligent, I too would find validation and eternal happiness in motherhood. One thing was certain, I was adamantly persistent in my quest to remain child-free.
As a forty four year woman, I am ecstatically happy to have remained child free. I have made many mistakes in my life, none of which I regretted because each was a learning experience that made me more confident in who I am. Being childless was not a mistake, in fact it is my proudest achievement. Here s why.
I never knew what I wanted in life, except a few things that I was sure of. I was going to be independent, free, unburdened, and my life was going to be one glorious adventure. Having no firm career aspirations, and plenty of impressive degrees, I was always qualified to take charge and lead no matter what the situation, but grueling hard work, and domesticity were to be avoided at all costs. My education afforded me plenty of Vice Presidencies, and small business ownerships, the purpose of which was to maintain my sense of freedom and adventure, not to build a nest egg and settle down.
At twenty six, contrary to my doubts and inner suspicions, I got married to a fun, adventuresome, soul mate who wanted nothing more than to have fun like me. Had his goal been to settle down and have babies, I would have run in the opposite direction. But since like me, he too wanted to simply live life gloriously, we embarked on one excellent adventure together. We were young, we were best friends, and we wanted nothing to do with responsibility. We lived well, in fact we lived very well. I wish most young college graduates embark on a life of ecstatic adventure, rather than a life of drudgery, which is why I am such a huge fan of millennials.
We lived royally. Armed with solid educations, impressive degrees and two six figure incomes, we lived all over the world, traveled far, drank fine champagne, saw the sun rise from exotic, far off beaches, and I am here to state to everyone, NO we had no regrets. While our friends were busy pro creating, signing mortgages and buying mini vans, we were referred to as greedy, restless yuppies who were sure to crash and burn and live empty lives. On the contrary, we never paid attention to what they said of us, and lived every day like there is no tomorrow. I can’t tell you how many times friends and critics assured us that we were destined for a life of sad, pathetic, emptiness, only to be offended by our permanent ecstasy, and being in a permanent state of bliss.
And then, we returned to this country to settle down. Regrettably, that was my idea. To this day I have no clue why I wanted it, because now I yearn to get back into my saddle and ride off into the sunset once again. But, we bought a house in the city, two fancy cars, and though we had no intention of birthing anything, thought that we could still travel and have fun. But, this is how we settled into a life of what we don’t want. Surrounded by mother-in-laws, mini vans, and critics who just wanted to give us a friendly reminder that the way to eternal happiness was car-pools, PTA meetings, and marriage counseling, we quickly found ourselves surrounded by the very people who will discourage you from life. I wish we had the sense to sell the house and move on. But no, we gave into that pressure, and as much as we loved each other, decided that it was time we go our separate ways.
Make no mistake, I have no regrets about getting a divorce. I appreciate the 15 amazing years of fun, love and international adventure, but now was a time to get to know myself, explore, stand on my own two feet, and fall in love with life all over again.
Broke and penniless, I decided to give myself a one year vacation from responsibility, so that I can recover from divorce and find my own direction. Was I happy to be child free? You bet! My girlfriends were eager to point out that had I had a child, I would be guaranteed a life of financial support, and wanted to know if I now was sorry to have had no children. But knowing that this was not what I wanted for myself turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.
I am living proof that a divorced woman can be better than ever. I tell anyone who wants to hear it that freedom is the ultimate luxury, and being beholden to no one but myself was the greatest gift I ever received. I now had the freedom to explore my sexuality in the way a woman just can’t do with a husband. I discovered that contrary to the garbage that the media feeds single women, there are plenty of fish in the sea, especially the young, sexy, gorgeous ones with the stamina of a stallion. I started to travel the world, push boundaries that single, unprotected women should not push alone while abroad, and I am here to tell you, just do it!
I could not have done any of this with children in tow. But along the road I encountered many women who could do just that, and I am always impressed. I have been single for seven years, have been proposed to four times, said no thank you four times, and am now recovering from a breakup from yet another beautiful soul. Have I got regrets? None. I live the way I want to live, surrounded by amazing friends, beautiful, sexy younger men, champagne, exotic vacations, and having done a lot of work on my own self and building a complete life, I have never been lonely. Being child free has not left me feeling empty, unfulfilled, or alone. In fact, most of my girlfriends rely on therapy and pills in order to fill the gaping hole that was supposed to be filled by a litter of children and a balding husband. I realized that bearing children is just a biological function, it is not and cannot be fulfillment. That comes on working on yourself, facing inner demons, breaking boundaries, learning, exploring, chasing and catching dreams, but not from settling into a suburban coma of trips to the mall, and play dates.
What do I want next? More life on my own terms. Do I want another husband? I’m not sure yet. I have reached a point where my life is very full, overflowing in fact. I love my lovers, and it is nice when a relationship reaches that comfort level that we all aspire to. But I have never needed a marriage contract, and certainly not with someone who believes in settling.
What is gratifying is knowing that I have lived my life on my own terms. That knowing that motherhood is not for me, and that unwillingness to compromise myself just to attain a marriage contract or stability is exactly the reason that I am complete. Had I compromised, I know I would have been miserable, and would have regretted not listening to my own inner voice. We are all here to live the life we want, and knowing that is exactly what brings fulfillment in life. Living by the book, or other people’s expectations is exactly what brings misery.
Don’t get me wrong, I love children. Other people’s children can be delightful. I love to squeeze them, giggle with them, spoil them, but what I enjoy most is walking away from them. I love having the freedom to go to my own home, which is quiet, peaceful, warm and clean, indulge in my own glass of fine wine, and invite whoever I want to come over. Is that selfish? Maybe, but I live a life of no regrets.
I recently ran into my ex husband. He too set off on his own course, and I am happy to report that he is now more successful than ever. But, he settled down, and he regrets that. I wish nothing but the best for him, as I am still grateful for the adventure he gave me. But, his life is nothing how he imagined. He married the first woman he went on a date with. She had a child from a previous marriage, and soon they had a child of their own. Now he is a dad, living in suburbia, enjoying baseball games and hot dogs, rather than midnight sails along Victoria Harbor, or waking up to watch the sun rise on the beaches of Phuket. Is he sorry? He admits it. Though neither of us is sorry for the divorce (it was time for each of us to move on), he is sorry to have compromised. He too wanted a child free lifestyle, and to live on his own terms. But, he compromised. And he is now thinking about divorcing again.
Life is all about living on one’s own terms, and completion is all about attaining that for yourself. How many of us put aside our own dreams, to follow the prescription for life other’s have envisioned for us? Living on someone else’s terms is the road to regret.
Again, I have no problem with other people’s choices, as long as they are their own. What hurts is watching women conform to the lives their parents lived, compromise their dreams to find a half-way point to the dreams of their man, settle into the illusion that the marriage contract provides security, when it is exactly what keeps you bound to one spot.
I am not bragging, and as narcissistic as you may think I am, I am simply a human, who stuck to her own guns and has not regretted it. I do not fear life, and no, women who choose to be child free are not lonely. We find more time to work on expanding ourselves, exploring the world, shedding our fears and have the luxury of trying new things and constantly evolving. Is that so bad?
Where am I going next? I never know, but I am okay with that. I have lived in the same city for seven years, and am ready to check out another part of the globe. The soul mate I recently broke up with, wants is to get back together and try living in his home country. I am cool with that. I need a fresh perspective, a change of scenery, new challenges, a new language, and another excellent adventure.
To the young ones, just setting out in life, here is my advice. Don’t listen to anyone but yourself. You were born knowing who you are, and what you want. It isn’t wrong to live irresponsibly, unaccountably, nor to chase your dreams across the globe. It is only wrong to give in to their pressure, settle for a life half lived, then criticize those who live just as you dreamed.
As always, no apologies, no regrets.