Despite assuming I’d come around to the idea of certain societal norms, that hasn’t exactly panned out as once-thought.
This past weekend, my mother joined me for a dreaded, but the necessary, trip to Walmart. It was a fairly painless trip overall, except for the tantrum-ing child we encountered on our way in. I couldn't see the child, but I definitely could hear some unfortunate horror that befell the child. Who knows, it might've been a lost pacifier or skipped over toy aisle. Regardless, I cringed so hard at the sound that I almost caught a charley-horse in my foot. I like my grocery trips to consist of my shopping list and me- that's it. Now, if I had a dime for every time someone told me that I'd "understand when [I] have kids," I'd at least have enough to purchase my load of groceries.
Not to say that I don't like children, but I grit my teeth at the thought of possibly having my own children.
As someone who ALWAYS knew she wanted children, my mother's always found it astounding that neither myself nor my sister, really want children. She's always been perfectly OK with it, but she just couldn't, and still can't, relate. My father seems fairly indifferent as well, and I appreciate them for allowing us to maintain our residing attitudes.
I can't say with complete certainty that my mind will never change, but it's doubtful. The life I've envisioned for myself since I can remember never accounted for raising children. I've always had a career-oriented mindset, and in turn, a severe case of tunnel vision. That's not to say raising a few rescue dogs might not be in the picture. (Dogs seem like a reasonable amount of responsibility without the steep level of commitment.)
It's not just the idea of children, though, because I'm not all that fond of the idea of marriage, either. To be fair, I'm not against marriage itself. I've just taken issue with some of the faulty dynamics of marriage.
Honestly, I think this stems from many of the marriages that I've observed throughout my life. Of course, I understand that marriage isn't a perfect entity, but my disenchantment goes beyond the common ups and downs of any marriage.
As another unrelatable area for my mother and myself, I think I made a better case recently for my qualms with marriage.
After a recent conversation regarding my disillusionment with marriage, I've come to view my stance as more of a precautionary measure, rather than an outright distaste. I don't take issue with the idea of marriage just to be a self-proclaimed non-conformist; I really just think some introspective evaluation of relationship dynamics would go a long way.
Mainly, I've seen a couple of underlying, problematic themes: people grow apart and people passively accept unhappy relationships. Although it's said that "opposites attract," I think it's important to note that opposites might not remain attracted. While finding a person who offers qualities you lack can be beneficial, having minimal common interests or mutual goals in life can be a real headache. Even if, in the beginning, you think your differences present some sort of balance, they might just drive a wedge down the road.
As such, say this metaphorical wedge is driven between you and whomever, I've seen plenty of people just live with it. I'm not one for confrontation, so I understand not wanting to initiate World War III over the fact that you want to spend the weekend organizing the closet and the other wants to split time between fishing and watching six hours of [insert any sport here]. At what point, though, are the growing differences and opposing pursuits addressed? It's wild to me that a couple will just remain mutually unhappy and go on with an unfulfilling, tension-filled life.
Now, like all great think-pieces, I must make some disclaimers. First, I don't think not wanting kids makes me selfish, and I think it's great that some people adore the idea of having their own children. Secondly, I know at 21 years of age that I'm not a marriage or relationship expert. However, based on the observations I've made over at least a decade's time — starting with my parent's divorce and continuing with many other closely observed relationships- I've noticed these indisputable themes.
As such, I don't think all viewpoints of having children or getting married should be cast in a dark, dismal light. I just think there needs to be a level of realism. I think society, in general, promotes this idealistic idea of "married life" or "family life." While there are certainly many good, worthwhile aspects, there are serious, real-world ramifications that should be accounted for beforehand. Big life decisions as these shouldn't warrant an "I'll cross that bridge when I get to it" type of attitude. Consider whether "that bridge" is stable, consider where "that bridge" leads, consider when or if the time is optimal to cross "that bridge."