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Old 07-18-2011, 11:43 PM
 
Location: Connecticut is my adopted home.
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No children for a number of reasons and no regrets. I've thought quite a lot about the issues that Janeace has been dealing with but I've decided to take things as they come as I and my husband age.

As for the esoteric question of why one would attempt to leave the world a better place without children, I would put forward that for at least some of us, not adding to the world population was just that attempt. In addition, childless people often have time and energy to give back. It's more than just about me and mine, it's about the continuity of life (life in all it's diversity and glory) in general.

I think as one ages, glimpses into the void are inevitable. Some choose to fully look, others not so much, but coming face to face with the end of the line is no fun regardless. It causes existential questions and often the type of angst that has arisen for the OP and others that have added their insights to this thread.
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:35 AM
 
Location: Mammoth Lakes, CA
3,306 posts, read 7,402,983 times
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Quote:
When the biological imperative is suppressed or denied, isn't the proverbial meaning of life also altered?
Yes, it was altered for me because I wasn't burdened with the expense and responsibility of having children I never wanted. The question assumes that there is no "meaning to life" if one doesn't have children, which is patently absurd. The meaning of life differs wildly from person to person or culture to culture. Millions would say there is, in fact, no "meaning to life."

It always amuses me that people with children seem to passively pity those of us who never had them, as if we "missed something."

Having children is not a "biological imperative." There's plenty of others having 10 kids (and most of them can't afford it), to make up for the millions of us childless by choice.
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Mammoth Lakes, CA
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Quote:
And my spouse and I also noted, as we expected, that having children did NOT give happiness to the vast majority of our peers who did so.
Boy, this is so true. I spend my lunch break with colleagues who almost all have teenage or grown children and they do little else but bitterly complain about the expense and heartache involved. So many of these adult kids are meth freaks, felons, losers... and their parents are all University professors, educated and professional people. It makes no difference, the kids still turn out to be mostly selfish, lazy drains on them.
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:57 AM
 
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I really don't think it can be saidthat you'll get a consistent answer as I know mnay that regret and some that don't plus some that have and talked about the trouble they had but thnk its worth it now. I think like always it really depends on the people involved both parent and childen. I would say that one has to thnk differently about aging based o this and even the closeness. I really can't thnik of mnay situations in my family where another younger person didn't at soem point take over many responsibilties of either the parents or the anunt or have younger siblings do it.If none then one really should plan for that possiblity.That cost has to be figure in like any other in retirement planning.I know one in a assisted living facility now who had no children but he and wife planned for that.The plan included their nephew helping with choice of facity and other busness when it happened after his wifes death. If not for that planning he would be in a nursing home like so many others.
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Old 07-19-2011, 12:55 PM
 
1,952 posts, read 2,244,483 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulysses61 View Post
Boy, this is so true. I spend my lunch break with colleagues who almost all have teenage or grown children and they do little else but bitterly complain about the expense and heartache involved. So many of these adult kids are meth freaks, felons, losers... and their parents are all University professors, educated and professional people. It makes no difference, the kids still turn out to be mostly selfish, lazy drains on them.

Unfortunately this is not always the children's fault, people are being required to work longer hours and focus or otherwise highly specialise on one or a handful of skills (I.E. University Professor, Specialist Doctor, Etc.) This can make them very good at what they do, but they become to an extent like functioning idiot savants, hyperdeveloped in a few areas at the detriment of a well rounded personality and skill set.

Remember Dustin Hoffman's character in "Rain Man"? He could count into a five deck shoe of cards at a casino and tell you that April 9th 4611 would fall on a Wednesday, but it would be unimaginable to picture the character as a parent. Between having to spend alot of time away from the children and not having time or opportunity to round out skill sets many of today's parents can pattern this example to an extent.

And sadly the parents can have high levels of stress and burnout, the children can feel unloved and adandoned, and both live unfulfilled lives to an extent.
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Old 07-19-2011, 05:22 PM
 
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The first thing I knew as a child myself was that I didn't want to be a parent. I'm now 58 and have never had a second's change-of-mind. I might have lost one great guy over it, but it was so important to him, and so important to me *not to*, so that's how it was.
I fully expect/hope to do the right financial things so I can hire services and people for things I need done. I'd rather pay someone that pull in personal issues.
When my mother died in 2005, it meant less to me than a change in the weather. No mother-daughter closeness there- she was genuinely incapable of relationship. I'm fond of my father, but he was never much of a parent either. He's 86 and well, and when he's gone, it'll be odd, but not a deep personal loss.
I have one sister who I have no desire to be in touch with.
Yes, friends marry and move away, get involved with their families, etc. My feeling is, we die alone no matter how the obits want to describe it. I liked what one poster said previously about being involved with things and people (and in her case, god) that matter, that are authentic, that speak to really living consciously. If that means family, fine. It doesn't for me. I'd rather be lonely at times than crowded and stuck (two extremes, I know).
I am currently surrounded by my six senior dogs who give me a great feeling of caring for vulnerable beings whose company I enjoy (my job, less so... but I like having a few bucks in my pocket as I get older).
My oldest friend is 85, youngest is 32. It's hard to keep friendships going as you get older, and hard to make them, but I don't think that's a good reason to have familial relationships because they'd don't go away. Sometimes it's a good thing when they go away or don't happen.
I do feel for those who do not have children and thought they did want that life. That is truly sad.
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:03 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,017 posts, read 18,717,907 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdoglover View Post
The first thing I knew as a child myself was that I didn't want to be a parent. I'm now 58 and have never had a second's change-of-mind. I might have lost one great guy over it, but it was so important to him, and so important to me *not to*, so that's how it was.
I fully expect/hope to do the right financial things so I can hire services and people for things I need done. I'd rather pay someone that pull in personal issues.
When my mother died in 2005, it meant less to me than a change in the weather. No mother-daughter closeness there- she was genuinely incapable of relationship. I'm fond of my father, but he was never much of a parent either. He's 86 and well, and when he's gone, it'll be odd, but not a deep personal loss.
I have one sister who I have no desire to be in touch with.
Yes, friends marry and move away, get involved with their families, etc. My feeling is, we die alone no matter how the obits want to describe it. I liked what one poster said previously about being involved with things and people (and in her case, god) that matter, that are authentic, that speak to really living consciously. If that means family, fine. It doesn't for me. I'd rather be lonely at times than crowded and stuck (two extremes, I know).
I am currently surrounded by my six senior dogs who give me a great feeling of caring for vulnerable beings whose company I enjoy (my job, less so... but I like having a few bucks in my pocket as I get older).
My oldest friend is 85, youngest is 32. It's hard to keep friendships going as you get older, and hard to make them, but I don't think that's a good reason to have familial relationships because they'd don't go away. Sometimes it's a good thing when they go away or don't happen.
I do feel for those who do not have children and thought they did want that life. That is truly sad.
What a wonderful family tome, very insightful but also respectful of others who have had different experiences. Couldn't rep you again so soon, but tried to. Pie-in-the-sky family togetherness is just not the reality for many people. I, too, knew as a child that I did not want children, as I knew I didn't want to re-create that childhood for anyone else. Sure, people can argue that it was in my own hands to create a better and different childhood for my own potential children, but it's not that simple. Some things go very deep, and some of us are not cut out to be good parents. If we recognize that, we save ourselves and others much grief and suffering. My desire not to have children cost me my marriage, basically - wife had agreed to this, but she was 19 at the time we got married. Way too young to make such a decision! What was I thinking??Nine years later she had other ideas.
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:09 PM
 
Location: SoCal desert
8,092 posts, read 13,872,236 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulysses61 View Post
Millions would say there is, in fact, no "meaning to life."

Hey! Don't forget all the Monty Python fans!


Sorry. It was getting wa-ay too serious in here ... I'll behave now
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Old 07-19-2011, 11:08 PM
 
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I never considered whether or not I'd be a good parent, because I knew I didn't want to be one. I don't like to be around children and avoid them, although treat them with respect if I must be around them (and then people marvel, "You're so good with children, I thought you didn't like them." I don't like being around them, but they can't help that, so I am very good with them. It's very draining and I am very glad to be finished with it.
If a child is pre-verbal or a baby, I have no idea what to do and no desire to find out.
I honestly think that someone as confirmed as I am in this has some sort of biological not-imperative. Of course, I could have blundered into parenthood with some idea of reliving it and making it better, but that would be a mistake all around, and I was never tempted.
I got a tubal at age 30 because no one would do the surgery earlier. I call it "the lack of desire made flesh."
As for "meaning of life," or bio imperatives being denied, well, I can't say anything polite, so I won't say anything. But I think that is just absurd.
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Old 07-20-2011, 06:48 AM
 
Location: Bar Harbor, ME
1,922 posts, read 3,934,494 times
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Children can be wonderful. And children can be a nightmare. I have one in the wonderful category and one in the super high maintenance nightmare category who won't talk to any of the family including her other sibling now at age 31 because of tiny little differences with them. Bi-polar or something; happy she found a husband who can put up with her, and that she lives 3000 miles away.
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