Not Having Children: Will It Sting and Haunt Me When I’m an Old Man?
I recently turned 34 years old. As the days towards 34 approached I anticipated to feel a certain something. It’s something that I have inevitably expected to creep up on me and hit as soon as I turn a year older. For better or worse, it did not make an appearance. I was waiting for paternal feelings to start kicking in.
Not having children. This was something that I became comfortable with some time ago. I consciously made the decision regarding not having children.
I honestly have never felt significant urges to breed. Having children is a major decision It’s a very important responsibility. They are a life-long commitment and quite an expensive one.
Saying that, I believe I would be a good father. If I look at myself objectively, I would say that I am the type of man that should be father. Yet I don’t feel the desire to become a father. If a man doesn’t naturally feel the urge, should he go through with it? I’ve always argued against it.
I’ve been told that not having children is selfish. I never understood the logic behind that. It’s a greater act of selfishness to have them and not really want them. It is truly selfless to not have them when you don’t want them.
Once I deal with basic logic my thinking ventures into philosophical and existential territory. I don’t particularly like this world. The older I get the more I dislike it. The current global climate is very concerning and I fear it will only get worse. My contempt for modern society and its trajectory grows. I can taste my disdain for what globalization has done and is continuing to do to our world.
There’s still joy to be found in this world and I do my best to partake in it. However, I’m not hopeful for the future overall. Why would I bring children into a world like this? It makes absolutely no sense to me.
I always wanted to be a Godfather. I can proudly say that I am and I take my Godfather duties seriously. The more Godchildren the better.
Despite all of this, I will admit to having fleeting moments of wanting to be a father recently. The most significant moment only occurred a few months ago. It lasted for about 20 minutes whilst I was driving along a highway. I had images running through my mind. A film reel of being a father. The interest died as soon as I got off the freeway but I’ve never felt such a strong interest in having children.
You might think that was miniscule but for me it was significant. Should I take that as a sign? Is this the beginning of my paternal urgers?
I’ve always believed that love is the most important thing in life. Love from not just one source because there are different kinds of love. A little voice inside me told me to find romantic love and a compatible partner before it was too late. I listened and I did not regret it.
Not sharing your life with a love partner is not a life worth living.
It’s always annoyed me how traditional minded Greeks focus on badgering you about when you are going to get married as opposed to finding love. Some might say the two are completely synonymous but I don’t think they are.
I’ve always been fascinated as to why the marriage question is always asked yet the following question never is : “When are you going to find love? Inevitably the next question after marriage is “when are you going to have children?
I recently got into a discussion with a client regarding not having children. He told me that I would live to regret it. That having children is the key to feeling happy and fulfilled. I generally don’t believe that but I did consider his opinion and wondered whether a life without children will have the same sting as a life without real love from a partner. I considered his point as a significant possibility. That was major as I wouldn’t have done this prior to the freeway incident.
Truthfully the thought of having children scares me. I’m scared of the intensity and the love that I will feel for the child. That love will easily allow me to make compromises to my life that I normally would not be willing to do. That love will always cause a great deal of concern. I am directly responsible for the growth and management of another life.
The worry and concern will never stop no matter how old the child is. The possibility of your teenage child not ever walking back into the house once they walk out absolutely terrifies me. It’s a heavy load to carry. These are the types of heart aches that I’m not willing to risk.
Obviously I still have time. Men have that luxury. Anthony Quinn and Luciano Pavarotti were fathering children into their 70s though I certainly don’t recommend that. There’s a saying in Greek that roughly translates to “you think you are hurting now? Wait until you are old. That’s when you will feel the sting” I want to die with as few regrets as possible. Ultimately it will boil down to two options or risks:
Have children and risk the pain and concern that comes with along with all the joy and benefit.
Continue life as I feel I want to live it and wait to see if that sting of regret and emptiness hits me when I am an old man and childless.
What would you do?