I should be writing. There’s a lot going on in my head. In life. In Los Angeles. And all the miles beyond.
I met my cousin for drinks tonight; it’s been over a year since I’ve seen her, since she moved to Florida. She’s getting married. She just bought a house. After that: kids, she tells me. She’s a bit younger than I am. I am thrilled for her. Honestly and thoroughly. She starts telling me about her biological clock – she can feel it ticking. I smile wide and ask: “What’s that like?” Of course she thinks I’m joking. Did I set her up for this? Well, no, I really was curious. Sure, she’s not the only twentysomething who’s expressed their American Dream desires to me. OK, maybe the whole married with kids goes beyond American Dream status and is just the “natural” way of things. But it was an honest question. I don’t feel like I’m missing out. I could be wed and knocked up right now if I wanted, but I’ve rejected those “natural” steps. Not in a disdainful way, no – it’s just not my ideal itinerary. For my friends and family who are happily married and in the throes of child-rearing, I wish them every joy these things could bring. And for myself? Adventure, education, exploration, discovery. Impact. Teaching others and evolving and so much more. I am not trying to say that all these things are apart from the family scene, I am just saying – things can be different. And still be right.
So back to my cousin – yeah, she’s a little shocked by my “rejection” of these ideals. So I assure her life can be fulfilling without the pursuit of a husband and 2.5 kids. I assure her–sure, there can be love and joy in my life, even lasting companionship without all that other Leave it To Beaver junk.
At first it feels like maybe I’ve got horns growing out of my head, what with the look she gives me. But as the talk wears on – as she begins to understand that i’m not disgruntled, depressed, or even disillusioned – the horns shrink and disappear. The biggest thing is always explaining to people that no, I don’t hate kids. No, I’m not afraid of raising one. I think kids are awesome. Doesn’t mean I am obligated to have my own. Doesn’t make me any less whole, any less capable, or any less fulfilled. I’m just not choosing Option A.
So my cousin wants to know “What are you going to do when you get older?” to which I say “I’ll be older.” Pretty simple stuff, I’d say. What I’d like to know is “Why are marriage and kids more important than clean water and air, and food that hasn’t been poisoned with chemicals and ending consumerism that feeds off the suffering of others?”