Present Tense

Saying my ‘gratefuls’…….

I have a great life.  I love my job, I love where I live and I love the freedom that I have.  It’s taken me a long time to be able to say these things and to openly admit that I am good and that my life is good.  You’re not supposed to proclaim your happiness too loudly or you might hurt someone else’s feelings, you see.  It can be considered selfish or proud or arrogant or even in the more popular parlance of the day, “offensive”.  You’re bragging if you’re happy and successful.

Well, enough of that.  I have been working a long time, personally and professionally to arrive at this place, where I can openly proclaim satisfaction and gratitude and it feels great!  Let me be clear, my life is not perfect, but it’s pretty doggone workable.  I can look back and see all of the right and not so right decisions I’ve made over the years and I’m happy to be able to accept them and live with them.  It wasn’t that way for a long time.

For instance, my husband and I are childless by choice.  We decided early in our marriage that we would not have children.  In fact, we were so sure that he had a vasectomy in his mid-30s.  Over time I started to feel little pangs of regret, guilt and yes, even some anger over this decision.  It ate at me for a few years and I must admit, I blamed my husband.  HE was the one who didn’t want kids, even though I had stated my feelings very clearly and even encouraged him to get the ‘snip-snip’, so that I could stop taking birth control pills.

As I approached my mid-40s and past any kind of normal child-bearing age, I began to accept that we would not have children. Oh,  I know;  there’s adoption, vasectomy reversal, medical intervention, but the fact that we didn’t explore any of those solutions  shows me that we had made the right decision all along.  I struggled with feelings of inadequacy as a woman because I didn’t have kids;  it’s an ugly truth, but other women were the most brutal in letting me know that I  was sorely lacking as a ‘real woman’, since I was childless.  I’ll never be a member of ‘the club’ of motherhood and I’ll admit that it has caused me a great deal of pain over the years.

But, I’m officially over it.  I’ve watched a couple of our friends succumb to life threatening illnesses over the past few months and I’ve been smacked right in the middle of the forehead with this message: quit wasting time.  Quit wasting time on regrets of what could have been, what you should have done, how you could have done things differently.  None of it matters.  I am who, what and where I am and that’s the bottom line.  Being childless has allowed us to build a stable financial foundation; I have been able to build a career that I love and my husband was able to basically retire from his business several years ago.  We live in a place that is beautiful, where we can enjoy all of the outdoor activities that we love.  We have friends and family that we love.  I am here, now and I am grateful.

June 25, 2010 - Posted by | Musings | , , ,

11 Comments »

  1. Well said, Jane. Seems we all spend so much time trying to achieve “happy” that we lose sight of what that means personally in our lives and the ability to identify it.

    Comment by Melissa | June 25, 2010 | Reply

  2. You had to know this would be on top of my list of faves…great stuff love. Can’t wait to see you. xoxoxo.

    Comment by Margie | June 25, 2010 | Reply

  3. AMEN!!!!!
    Happy you are happy with your life decisions. Looking ahead and not backwards – that is a GOOD THING!!!

    Comment by Marsha | June 25, 2010 | Reply

  4. Hats off to you for being happy and not being sorry about it. You should be! I have very few friends who are married without kids. I hate that they have to live with so much judgement over it. First of all, it’s no one elses business Having a family because you feel like you are supposed to is the craziest thing ever. It has so much to do with divorces and the sordid lives that make such a mess of children’s lives in general. Good for you! I wish I could join you in saying I am truly happy and where I want to be, but I still have some painful lessons to learn in life I am afraid (as I am doing right now). However, I look at people like you and I know that my mantra “the best is yet to come” is true! Thank you 🙂

    Comment by Teri Yarborough | June 25, 2010 | Reply

  5. I love this article, Jane. It mirrors much of my life and I couldn’t have expressed my feelings any better. We have a sign in our home “Life Doesn’t Get Better Than This.”

    Comment by Leona Salazar | June 25, 2010 | Reply

  6. This is beautiful.

    Comment by Dawn | June 26, 2010 | Reply

  7. I LOVE the picture that goes w/this blog – now I’ll go back and read your blog.

    Love
    Big Sis

    Comment by big sis | June 27, 2010 | Reply

  8. “The time to be happy is NOW!” Remember where you’ve seen that? In your former bathroom in BC! And it’s still there! Glad you’ve finally made it relevant in your life NOW!!!!

    See you soon!
    Love
    Big Sis

    Comment by big sis | June 27, 2010 | Reply

  9. Jane,
    Kudos for writing this. I hope I can feel this same way some day. As much as you get the “down the nose” look for having no children, I get it for only having ONE! I’m an only child myself, and I remember being asked, “Why did your parents only have ONE kid?” I would always say that they achieved perfection the first time, and didn’t have to keep trying. Now that I have one child, I go back and forth about whether to have another. Financially we really can’t do it, and I don’t know that we really want to anyway (we’re happy with our son – imagine!) So I think I’m going to try to change the tide on my thinking and realize that I’m happy with the way my life is!

    Comment by Shannon | August 24, 2010 | Reply

  10. Jane,

    I am so grateful that you shared your feelings that you have gone through even after the decision to not have children. My husband and I have made the same decision – we got married when I was 25 and we thought we would eventually have kids, since it’s what people do, but we kept putting it off, not even interested in the prospect. By the time I hit 30 we were already blatantly stating to friends and family that it was never gonna happen. I am now turning 39 and I sometimes find myself in mental anguish – not because we made this decision, but because I feel like there must be something wrong with me…like I have a hole in my heart and that I’m nver going to be part of that club. I can relate to your feelings towards your husband too, isn’t that odd? Perhaps I am missing out, but I still have no desire to pursue it, and deep down I know that. I’m so glad to know I’m not alone in these conflicted feelings, and that there’s a chance that eventually I will be able to be at ease with my decision, and not feel guilty about it. So again, thank you for sharing this.

    Comment by Heather | September 1, 2010 | Reply

  11. I related to this article. We have also made the decision to not have children and as a result have endured the same as you. “Selfish” was a term we heard often. We consider ourselves “responsible” as we were not in a stable financial position for many years. I also decided I was not “Mom” material as I often found myself rationalizing the merits of a child. We are not heartless as we did have a cat for almost 17 years. Thanks for the blog.

    Comment by christie | January 4, 2011 | Reply


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