Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Reflections (5): I Don't Want Children


I don't want children. Period.

I've moved away from some ealier ambivalence on this issue. I think there is still a part of me that questions whether I could have the patience and commitment necessary to be a good parent. There is also a measure of selfishness in not wanting to place an irrevocable limitation on my finances and my personal life.

But what has completely transformed my thinking on this issue is a new-found understanding of what, specifically, I want out of life. There was a time when essential life decisions (education, career, love...) were clouded by social, cultural, and class expectations, by other people's opinions, and by perceived familial obligations. No longer.

Jack's new life paradigm is rather simple: (1) figure out what I need to secure long-term “happiness,” and (2) go out and find it. Anything that I don't consider an essential componet of this theoretical “happiness” is just not prioritized. And guess what? I just don't find child-rearing to be essential to my long-term happiness. After some soul searching I have come to the conclusion that I just don't have an overwhelming need to pass on my genes. I also don't believe that children are required to sustain meaningful love between two people. And, more importantly, I strongly suspect that the valuable lessons a person learns as a parent can be learned thorugh other endeavors.

This is not to say that I will NEVER have kids. It just means that having them is not a personal priority. I could see a situation in which I meet a person that becomes very important to me and who does prioritize child-rearing. At that point, a decision will have to be made that might very well change my life forever.

[Reflections introductory post]

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