James Rigdon has discovered that being a childless 34-year-old man is kind of a big deal.
I’M 34 AND I DON’T HAVE CHILDREN.
Apparently, this is a big deal.
It shocks some people, even before they see that I’m smiling when I say that.
Why does this shock so many of you?
Is it because I was one of the only people who went beyond the “condoms don’t work” part of our EXTREMELY limited sex ed program? (Seriously, our small town only said that condoms don’t work – like that’s going to stop teenagers from having sex – then they blamed television for the 1 in 4 pregnancy rate of our senior class)
Is it because I’ve been married a couple of times and somehow managed to avoid that fate?
Maybe it’s due to my having avoided society’s “standard image” of people automatically wanting kids?
Or it could be because I’ve managed to be consistent in the fact that I just don’t want kids.
When I tell people that, they act as though I’m some kind of cruel, heartless, evil creature. WHY could a person not want to have children? With so many wonderful things about kids, why would you not want to have one?
Or else they look at me as some kind of womanizing filth who just wants to make his way in and out of beds across the country while taking no responsibility. And yes, my statement that I have no kids has occasionally been followed by a quiet “that you know of.”
I’ve heard all the classic lines, too:
“It’ll change when you get older.”
I first heard that one at age 21. Still waiting for that to kick in; it’s only been, what, thirteen years?
“You just haven’t met the right girl/woman yet.”
I especially love it when that line is used by women I’m dating.
“Wait until you have one, then you’ll wonder how you got by without.”
I didn’t have to have a car wreck or a divorce to know that I didn’t want one of those, either, folks.
And the reasons I give have remained fairly constant, though most people just don’t want to listen, nor to believe. So I decided to write an article, maybe see if the public at large can clarify. And do please absorb all the reasons together before you start giving me refutations, point by point.
The Top 5 Reasons Why I Do Not Have Children:
- I am a youngest child of a youngest child.
My father was 35 when I was born. He was the last of eleven, meaning he has nephews about his own age. Which means I was never really around small kids, growing up. No experience. Hell, I was nearly 15 before the first time I ever held a baby, and was almost 17 before the second time! Babies and small children have, quite simply, never been a part of my life, and I’m not inclined to change that.
- My genes are already spread out there.
As I said, my dad was the last of eleven. My mother’s mom was the fourth of thirteen. My brother has three kids. I feel that my genetics are already pretty well spread out there in the world. And as that world is pushing seven BILLION people, I don’t really think there’s a grand inclination toward my dumping two or three more into it.
- My life is too itinerant.
I’ve lived in three states during this year alone. Both of my moves gave me less than a week’s notice to pack up and go. That’s the way of my career- that’s how I pay my bills and stay alive and, you know, FEED MYSELF. It’s what I went to college for. Having a kid fairly significantly changes that. And, while I still have the dream of finding something long-term and getting established somewhere and all that other stuff… this is how it is now, how it’s been for the past eight years.
- I’m too damn selfish.
Yep. I said it. I like my freedom, my free time, I like spending my money on things to improve my life, I like knowing that, when I go through hard times, I’m the only one about whom I have to worry, and I like thinking that if, by some God-given happening, I hit it big and get filthy rich, I can make for the Caribbean without looking back. Kids change all of that. And, for all that you may THINK it’s only for 18 years… look at my sister. She’s 35 and lives with my parents.
And now, because I can feel the antipathy of the readers through all of these prior reasons…
The number one reason why I don’t have kids. The only one that should really count.
Are you ready for this?
- I JUST DON’T WANT TO.
That’s it, folks. Those other four reasons, while true, are mostly just stuff I tell people to overload them past their ability to argue. I don’t want children. Can’t say I ever really have. And I have friends who have kids and love them and are great with them- I’m proud of them. But it’s just not for me. And it shouldn’t have to be.
We live in the 21st century, folks, where even the Catholic Church has (mostly) gotten past its obsession with procreation. For all the people out there who don’t have kids, you should not have to be ashamed, you should not have to constantly answer inquiries about your reasoning. It’s your life, and you ought to be allowed to live like you want to live.
And let everyone else do the same.
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