“Don’t you want to settle down?" "You’re not getting any younger…” “I had four children and owned my own home by 24…”
To the previous generations, we love you.
We really do.
You’ve passed on your wisdom, your advice and some damn good recipes.
You’ve helped build a lot of what we have available today, and for that, we are grateful. We’ll happily accept your knowledge and your casserole; however, we’d like to kindly pass on accepting your ideals.
Simply put, what worked for many then, does not work for many nowadays.
There’s a standard projection of what one’s life should look like:
Get married, buy a house, raise children, retire, and spend your days golfing, baking and spoiling your grandchildren with toys and sugar.
That’s the norm, isn’t it? Because that’s maybe what your Mum or your Mum’s Mum’s Mum’s Mum did.
Now, by all means, that’s a very fulfilling – nay, the MOST fulfilling path for many.
Then, there’s the rest of us.
The ones who don’t want that.
The ones who answer, “So, when are you guys going to get married?” or “How many children do you want?” with lies because the person asking is our fourth cousin. So, we keep the answer short and sweet, telling them what they want to hear (because, frankly, you’ll likely never see them again anyway after this family wedding, and the line up at the cash bar is starting to get long.)
But then, ah, there’s our close circle of people who ask these same questions.
The people who you can be truthful with and (hopefully) won’t be unsupportive of your decision to deviate from the norm (but that’s a whole other article for another day.)
Of course, be prepared to the answer, “Why not?”
That is, if you choose to – you aren’t obligated to explain, justify or defend your choices.
Let’s break down some myths now, shall we? Here are some of the questions I’ve been asked, and you likely have, too:
“Why don’t you want to get married? Is it because you aren’t sure if they’re ‘the one’ ?”
For starters, I wouldn’t waste my partner’s or my own time if I didn’t think things would work out long-term. People choose not to marry for many reasons. Here are just my individual thoughts:
1. A ring or piece of paper isn’t mandatory to prove love, nor will it strengthen a relationship. Two people choosing each other each day out of choice, not obligation, means more to me, personally.
2. If things DON’T work between two people after really trying to make it work (which it often doesn’t; people are supposed to grow, change and evolve), wouldn’t it be so much easier to just break things off and call it a day?
3. Um, have you seen the cost of some weddings? I could be sunning my buns down south, poolside.
“Are you just going to rent forever? When are you going to buy a house?”
Ok, so this is something that I would, personally, like to have.
But the reason I’ve included it here is because I’ve let go of the pressure of it being a ‘must’ for me.
If it happens, great.
But realistically, the market is bananas, and this monkey has more important things to spend money on.
Besides, there are definitely advantages of renting.
“Why don’t you want children? Do you not want/can’t handle the responsibility?”
Any cat/dog Moms out there reading this?
I realize comparing pets to children is like apples to oranges, but hear me out.
As a dog Mom, I still have to be home at a certain time.
I still have to provide nutritious food, shelter, attention, discipline and a stimulating environment (toys that encourage puzzle solving and enough chew toys to release endorphins, stress and anxiety).
I still have to be cautious of heat stroke or frostbite, ticks, broken glass, and aggressive dogs. I need to provide enough physical activity, and medical attention when necessary. So it’s not a matter of responsibility, for me.
It's simply a matter of disinterest.
Same way I’m disinterested in eating olives or watching football.
The storylines I’ve created with my Barbies as a child didn’t even involve children; those girls were jet setting or on safari.
They thrived living in the Aunt category, which I do now.
It's similar to how people can love their job, but still want to leave their work at work.
Now, have I actually been on safari like my Barbies? Not yet, at least. But saving up will be a heck of a lot easier, since I’m spending money on my own ideals, and not those of others.