Friday, April 23, 2010

What Does My Remarkable Life Look Like?

I read a number of self-improvement blogs, whether geeky tips for computer optimization or personal finance articles or how to organize your life or seek happiness. One of my regular destinations is Unclutterer. They have a new article up (on Wed) about pursuing the life you want. It got me thinking about my life.

I am married, with no children (and rapidly reaching a point where children are unlikely outside of adoption) and still seeking who I am and what I want from life. I do have a vision of what I'd like to have in my life in the future (although it is rather vague career-wise).

My vision? My husband and I are collectors and long ago outgrew our tiny first home which we've lived in for 12 years. I want a larger home where we can have room to display our collections.

Ideally, this home would have a bit of property around it (not so big as to overwhelm us with work but large enough that neighborhood noise is less likely to trigger my anxieties). This may sound crass and materialistic but the major view I have of my life involves real estate, not because of some "keeping up with the Joneses" thing but because having that sort of place would allow us to pursue things we really love.

Space like that would allow us to entertain and share our collections with people. Also, we'd have to have more money so presumably my future self has found a career where I'm happy and earn enough to live in a nice house; hopefully we'd have both the time and money to pursue our hobbies and spend even more time with our volunteer work (which is already a large part of our lives). We'd have time to be passionate about the things we care about already. I'd prefer if that future career was something related to my passions: perhaps teaching or working with a museum or leading a nonprofit to further a cause I believe in (like literacy).

At various times I've wanted one child as part of this future (I'm an only child myself so I am experienced with the up-sides and down-sides of having only one). I am not always certain about this because my husband and I enjoy our life together as it is now, for the most part, and I worry how it would change with children.

I realize that many people can't understand how two well-educated people who work with children in their volunteer work could be less than eager to be parents, but it happens. It is our choice. For a long time, we were simply delaying the decision while I went to school. This was partly because of schooling and partly because I honestly feared pregnancy.

My mother wanted two children but I was an only child. This came about because she was physically unable to have a second child. She was pregnant several times, including after my birth, but I was the only one to make it full term. When I was old enough to understand this I became obsessed with the idea that I would have difficulty carrying a child full term. I asked my doctor ten years ago and he said that I should be fine, but I've always harbored that fear. I just didn't want to go through that heart break. Since I was already uncertain if I wanted kids, this added issue was enough to delay making a decision.

A few years ago we decided to try to have a child, but nothing came of it. I'm 41. It might not happen (and yes, I realize if it does I'm actually more at risk for complications in pregnancy than if I had done it earlier). We've decided to accept the idea that we may or may not have a child (and since our current situation without jobs--and hence without health care--it would be lousy timing to happen right now anyways).

So, my "Remarkable Life" may or may not be childless -- but it basically just involves who we are today but with more room, money, and time to pursue the things we love--both as a career and for fun.

Check out the Unclutterer article, which is very well written, and the comment section and think about what your remarkable life would look like.

We have to know what we are heading for if we are going to reach it. Knowing a little bit about the destination I am trying to reach will, hopefully, make it easier for me to make the decisions now which will get me there.


  1. Thanks for sharing this - I like your vision for your big home where you can enjoy and share your collections.

    I can honestly understand too your reasons for not having children yet & I'm sure it will happen for you both if it's meant to. Like you I don't have kids, have gone through phases of wanting them but never strongly enough (fear and career coming first also played their part). Now I feel to old to embark on parenthood, but I'm kind of sad that there aren't any children close to me in my life. Though that could change. So I think it's great that you work with kids, giving the side of you that wants to be a parent some expression.

    Looking forward to reading more.

  2. I'm going out to volunteer work today with kids. I like it. Being an only child, I wasn't around kids much growing up (even ones my own age since we moved around a lot). Books and adult were more likely companions. :)

    I wasn't sure I was the motherly type but I do pretty well with kids, I find, and mostly enjoy it.

    We're leaving it up to fate..... we'll see. I'm 41, after all.


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