January 11, 2007

Lucky

L RED U C K Y

There have been people in my life who believe that I will someday regret my decision to remain childfree.

I’m forty-five and I have yet to feel even a tinge of regret. So it seems unlikely, but who knows? Perhaps at sixty or seventy I will regret not having children, but I suspect it will be the same kind of regret that I feel about the fact that I did not take some time off after graduating college to tour Europe.
Last night in a small group of non-parents, we were joking about how we’ve come to regard our childfree states. I said I still describe myself as childless, by choice. Laughing, he said, "I’m childless, by lucky."
At the time, I didn’t have any money to spare and the prospect of Europe on $10.00 a day, hitch-hiking and bedding down in tents and hostels, didn’t appeal to me.

So while my friends were touring Europe, I went straight into the work place and I was self-employed as a fashion sales agent by the time I was twenty-five years old. Financially, I was in pretty good shape. I took pride in the fact that I owned my own business, I had no debts and a car bought for cash. Only after my marriage at age twenty-six did I start to travel the world.

A part of me regrets not taking some time off to follow my friends to Europe or to work on a cruise ship and travel the world for a year or two. But, in retrospect, I’m glad I made the choices I did. They were the right choices for me at the time and I have reaped rich rewards from the experience of struggling as a small business owner.

I suspect the same will be true of any regrets I may have about not having children. Motherhood undoubtedly would have been an interesting and challenging experience too, one that I might have taken great pride and delight in. However, when I look back, there was so much I was able to do as a non-parent that I cherish. I can’t imagine my life any other way.

An acquaintance of mine is close to sixty. Many years ago, he and his wife had hoped to have a baby. She became pregnant and miscarried. Was there regret? Of course.

However, with time he’s come to see that, perhaps, it was meant to be. Last night in a small group of non-parents, we were joking about how we’ve come to regard our childfree states. I said I still describe myself as childless, by choice. Laughing, he said, "I’m childless, by lucky."


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5 comments:

Teri said...

LauraS - Ah, yes...sometimes it's a journey. I constantly have to remind myself of all the things I have because I don't have kids. That includes quiet mornings, a space where I can hear my own thoughts and write then down. Also, dinners with my husband, grocery shopping when everyone else is putting dinner on the table. Staying out late, if I want, mid-week.

Sarah said...

As someone who has chosen to be childfree instead of childless, this was a very sweet post. :-)

Cheeky said...

I respect those who make that choice. I always knew I would have kids since I was very young. I used to tell my mom that I was gonna have 10 - she laughs and reminds me of that every now and then......

Teri said...

Cheeky - I like to say I am going to make up for this lifetime's absence of kids by having 5 the next time around!

Oh, The Joys said...

Some days I wish I were... but alas.