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Old 08-28-2017, 09:18 AM
 
7,953 posts, read 5,058,504 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pikabike View Post
By the same logic, how can those who had kids know what they missed by having them?
They can't. Thus the chasm of misunderstanding between parents and the child-free. But this is an asymmetric situation, as the parents greatly outnumber the child-free.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdoglover View Post
...I wonder if the poster who brought this up is feeling stuck and wondering why he is stuck since he doesn't have dependents. Just as one can be responsible beyond self-interest, one can also feel stuck all by oneself.
You’re right.

As others have wisely noted, it’s certainly true, that no amount of preparation or amassing of resources, can entirely insulate one from some baleful future setback or tragedy. Thus it’s never appropriate to feel smug or self-congratulatory. Such glee is swiftly punished. Nor am I suddenly feeling remorse, that I never had children. I’d be aghast at losing the individual primacy of non-reproduction, even if somehow I could abide the fuss and chores and stresses of parenthood; and besides, the company of children irritates me.

But it does seem to me, that these responsibilities of being a good citizen and upstanding member of the community and so forth, these feelings of interconnectedness that internally discipline us and allow us to function as productive members of society, tend to weaken, as three trends coalesce: (1) we get older and our careers asymptote or outright conclude; (2) we do amass enough money to sustain at least a modest existence, barring some calamity; and (3) we have no children or any other close relatives. One comes to think of humanity less as “us”, than as “them”. One comes to view society as a laboratory for studying the subjects, than as a neighborhood in which one partakes of neighborliness. The distinction between humans and animals blurs.

My point isn’t to suddenly start advocating for reproduction as the moral thing to do. No. But let me give an analogy. Poor workers are better workers, more assiduous workers, because they need the paycheck. One sardonic quip at their boss, and they’re tossed onto the street. Knowing that, they’re silky-smooth, willing to abide indignities and to work hard without grumbling. Now suppose that such a worker wins the lottery. He/she is no worse of a machinist, or a nursing-assistant, or a security-guard, than before – in terms of skill or experience. But suddenly that desperate dependency is obviated. Now the worker can afford to be less complaisant. He/she, from the management point of view, isn’t as good of a worker anymore. The anchor of family has similar effect.

In sum, it’s taken me decades to realize that I lack the fortitude and big-picture understanding, to handle the freedom that comes with (1) having no dependents, and (2) not needing to slave for a paycheck. Rather than rejoicing in these freedoms, and turning them to productive ends, I crave a taskmaster, an overseer, a source of regimentation. Many other retirees or near-retirees, one supposes, face similar predicament. That’s not to insinuate that this is a grievous problem, or something meriting thorough preparation to avoid. There are worse ways to live! But it is something to think about – something besides issues of long-term care, emergency buttons to press if you fall in your bathtub, etc.
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Old 08-28-2017, 10:02 AM
 
2,952 posts, read 1,643,263 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
In terms of retirement planning, I’m delighted that I need not worry about college-tuition for the kiddoes, or leaving them an inheritance. But one can’t help wondering about the rationale for amassing and preserving a portfolio, for abstaining from spending from it, if one has no heirs. For whom is it all being saved? And, as one gets older, but has already met one’s notional financial goals: why does one keep working?

I am working my dream job in our own business. Why should I give it up? I love the money, we take off 6 to 8 weeks a year to travel. (2 to 3 weeks at a time.) If I could find someone who knows what we know, we'd be taking those private plane trips around the world that last for about 3 months. That and the revenue stream that comes in several times a month from various sources are why we work.

There are many needy charities one can leave their money to without children.


Being child-free, bestows on one tremendous freedoms, but also a feeling of rootlessness and drift. If I have no dependents, why should I remain responsible? What’s to keep me in-line, productive, motivated, conscientious?
Moral, ethics, and integrity keep us in line. Actually never thought about it. Its just who we are. I have no idea of a feeling of rootlessness and drift. Maybe you should seek professional help?

Why do you think only people with children should be productive members of society? Many aren't, they pop out children cause of their egos, they want a mini me.
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Old 08-28-2017, 10:22 AM
 
1,774 posts, read 2,447,142 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrassTacksGal View Post
How would someone without children regret it? They never had it. They have no idea what children bring to your life throughout your life. You can't miss something you never had.


Untrue. I have no children by choice and do not regret my decision. When I was only 27 yrs old, my mom sent my incorrigible 12 yr old brother to live with me for a year. I was a police officer at the time, unmarried. So.... I have an idea of what it is like to take care of a child, worry about picking him up from school, having enough money to pay for food, cloths, medical, dental.


Taking care of my brother was difficult because I had to deal with his problems and turn him around. Thankfully, I had great cop friends who would help me out. My brother made friends at school, joined boy scouts and outgrew 3 sets of cloths in one year due to good food and exercise, living in the country. I had to buy a station wagon to haul around a bunch of kids because they wouldn't all fit in my 280Z.


It was a great experience and I do know what it's like to have a child. But the experience didn't cause me to change my own mind about having a child. To this day, I am thankful I made the decision that was right for me. And I am NOT lonely.
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Old 08-28-2017, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,650 posts, read 17,623,979 times
Reputation: 27728
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
But it does seem to me, that these responsibilities of being a good citizen and upstanding member of the community and so forth, these feelings of interconnectedness that internally discipline us and allow us to function as productive members of society, tend to weaken, as three trends coalesce: (1) we get older and our careers asymptote or outright conclude; (2) we do amass enough money to sustain at least a modest existence, barring some calamity; and (3) we have no children or any other close relatives. One comes to think of humanity less as “us”, than as “them”. One comes to view society as a laboratory for studying the subjects, than as a neighborhood in which one partakes of neighborliness. The distinction between humans and animals blurs.

My point isn’t to suddenly start advocating for reproduction as the moral thing to do. No. But let me give an analogy. Poor workers are better workers, more assiduous workers, because they need the paycheck. One sardonic quip at their boss, and they’re tossed onto the street. Knowing that, they’re silky-smooth, willing to abide indignities and to work hard without grumbling. Now suppose that such a worker wins the lottery. He/she is no worse of a machinist, or a nursing-assistant, or a security-guard, than before – in terms of skill or experience. But suddenly that desperate dependency is obviated. Now the worker can afford to be less complaisant. He/she, from the management point of view, isn’t as good of a worker anymore. The anchor of family has similar effect.

In sum, it’s taken me decades to realize that I lack the fortitude and big-picture understanding, to handle the freedom that comes with (1) having no dependents, and (2) not needing to slave for a paycheck. Rather than rejoicing in these freedoms, and turning them to productive ends, I crave a taskmaster, an overseer, a source of regimentation. Many other retirees or near-retirees, one supposes, face similar predicament. That’s not to insinuate that this is a grievous problem, or something meriting thorough preparation to avoid. There are worse ways to live! But it is something to think about – something besides issues of long-term care, emergency buttons to press if you fall in your bathtub, etc.
I agree with most of your points, and that they apply to most people, given how our society is currently constructed.

However, "times are changing" socially, and IMO, not for the better.

When I was a child, my grandparents lived on a dead-end street. Surrounding them were many other families who had lived there for years, mostly Silents with a smattering of Greatest Generation and older Boomers. All of those neighbors knew each other well and had for years. I remember at least one couple having no children.

Those people were integrated in their communities. Many worked at the same places, and many of those employers had after hours social events, sports leagues, things of that nature. Those of similar age often helped watched children for the others if schedules differed. Virtually all of them were religious and attended church. Many were part of fraternal organizations, like the Masons or Moose Lodge, or civic organizations, like Kiwanis or Rotary Clubs.

That social fabric is now frayed. Many children are now raised in single parent or nontraditional arrangements by harried and addled caregivers. In my area, similar to yours I'm sure, children today are often being raised with less than I was twenty years ago as a working to middle class kid. Instead of dad having a solidly middle class wage at a factory or similar and mom being a caregiver or having a "pink collar" income, it might just be mom in a call center for $10-$12/hr with irregular and inadequate child support from the absentee father, with often one or both having legal or substance abuse issues.

Jobs come and go - those deeper bonds that people used to develop over many years with colleagues are no longer possible. Fraternal organizations like the Masons are hanging on by a thread. In many areas of the country, this lack of participation even impacts the churches, especially those in small towns and rural areas. I know many churches which used to be healthy, brimming with members, children, and activity, that have been whittled down to a relative handful of sedate seniors. In a generation, all we'll have of those institutions are memories, then historical accounts.

People can still form those connections in some ways, but I agree that is difficult. One way parents meet connections is through their child's school, networking and connecting with other parents. With more parents increasingly working longer hours for poor wages, the breakdown of the traditional family, and the increasingly impersonal nature of our culture, I'd wager fewer parents know anything about their child's classmates, much less the other parents. PTA participation and other such things are probably declining.

I agree that poor workers and those with children are going to make for more docile workers, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will be more competent workers. If you have a few years of expenses saved up and no one else depending on you, you have a lot more flexibility to tell people to go sod off than someone with three children who runs a budget at a net loss every month.

Our perspectives are going to be likely too heavily colored by the small towns in which we live. Most of our local residents couple up early, and many socialize with mostly the same people they've known most of their lives. If you're from outside the area or move off for awhile and come back, good luck finding a social circle. People "like us" aren't common here, have few relatable people nearby, and I think we often get more pessimistic than perhaps we ought.
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Old 08-28-2017, 03:44 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,698 posts, read 23,692,507 times
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Truckeewannabe wrote:
Quote:
Of course if some volunteer for hospice is caring for you instead of kin, you will be lonely
Have you ever visited a hospice? I have. The employees I saw were full time well trained, excellent, compassionate people. That's inside a hospice. In your home it's the same kind of person.

And comparisons would depend upon someone's kin. Not all of them are all that great.
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Old 08-28-2017, 07:32 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,698 posts, read 23,692,507 times
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Getting back on topic to the OP's question which again was, "Do you have any regrets in not having children?" and directed towards those who choose not to have children, here's another thought.

Not all child free people dislike children which is something many people who have kids believe. I have CF friends who like kids a lot. They just never wanted any of their own. A friend of mine has taken care of her great grandnieces when they were babies and toddlers. She loves little kids. But as she says she likes to know that at the end of the day she can give 'em back.

Another friend is a school teacher, she like many of her school teacher friends like the kids they teach but they never were interested in having their own kids.

I have met many CF people who feel this way both on the Internet and before the Internet in real life. Non of them regret not having kids of their own. All of them have felt fulfilled in their desire to be around kids by helping out with other people's kids either in their own family, friends or through opportunities like mentoring etc. No regrets not having their own.

Of course there are other child free by choice people who just don't want to be around kids, not regrets there either. Life should have options and making decisions like having children should not be based upon the opinions of others not personally involved with the lives of those making them.
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Old 08-28-2017, 07:44 PM
 
13,325 posts, read 25,590,184 times
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Mod cut: Quoted post deleted.

My worst fear about dying in hospice include some well-meaning volunteer putting some squealy electronic music on and I can't get up to turn it off and also looking up and seeing my estranged sister, who always makes a show of "doing the right thing" as long as there's an audience.

If anyone is there, I'd like to see a kind soul and I think at that point, you have a pretty good sense of someone's soul. I hope I served that purpose when I worked in hospice.

Last edited by PJSaturn; 08-29-2017 at 01:08 PM..
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Old 08-28-2017, 07:58 PM
 
5 posts, read 3,702 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdoglover View Post
[snip]My worst fear about dying in hospice include some well-meaning volunteer putting some squealy electronic music on and I can't get up to turn it off and also looking up and seeing my estranged sister, who always makes a show of "doing the right thing" as long as there's an audience.

If anyone is there, I'd like to see a kind soul and I think at that point, you have a pretty good sense of someone's soul. I hope I served that purpose when I worked in hospice.
I hope you have an advanced care directive written up. We just completed ours. What a relief! No worries my Mom can take over

Last edited by PJSaturn; 08-29-2017 at 01:08 PM..
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Old 08-28-2017, 08:45 PM
 
Location: Ohio
1,217 posts, read 2,353,686 times
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I've seen family members in the previous generation, older married aunts and uncles with no children and a gay uncle no children. Their lives and old age was fine for the most part. Other family members watched out for them in their extreme old age. One great aunt spent 20 years in a upscale nursing home due to early onset ALZ but she had that disease before her husband passed and he set her up securely financially.

My gay uncle lived in Texas and when he was very ill at the end, in his case there was no family near him, he had a Mexican family live with him and keep house in return for a place to live. Don't know if he paid them for any additional care.

Dementia of the last person in a couple is the great fear, as several have said already.
But there will always be someone interested if there is money, just hope its the good people who step in.

I'd rather pay for quality care than depend on family. Frankly the health of the younger generation may mean they aren't in good enough shape to help anyone.
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Old 08-28-2017, 09:41 PM
 
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I'm only in my 40s, but I really don't have any fears about being lonely. I've cultivated friendships with people of varying ages that are quite strong. Plus, my 2 best friends and I will be supporting each other in our old age if all goes according to plan. We will not be lonely, and we're smart enough to stuff money into our 401Ks as best we can. Right now all three of us are providing some aspect of caregiving to our elderly parents and we are planning out our own futures as we do so.

I moved 2,000 miles away to a city I love, but when the first of us begins to fail, I will move back to my hometown to be with them both. Hopefully that's at least 40 years off though, lol.
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