On the wilful childless decision.

I read an article that was so compelling that the thought of coming to put up a post here in this long forgotten hole of a blog of mine formed up in my mind.

An immensely intense subject matter, the decision not to have kids. But because people want us to explain, for a variety of reasons. Some feel insecure because if they are going to abide by typical societal conventions, they need to have a certain number of fellow comrades by their side along for the painful ride. Some feel slighted because they are worried you’ve gone ‘cooler’ than them. Some feel worried that you’re going to miss out on something huge in the journey of life because there is no other thing that’s comparable to the love between a parent and a child.

People demand explanations when you do things out of the typical social path. In my opinion, too few people ask, “Why are you having kids?”. (Don’t you feel sometimes that that is the more important question to ask?)

People want an explanation that would allow you to justify your reasons to stay childless, though I am not sure they have the capacity within them to comprehend or understand.

Based on the following quote alone, I can be quite sure this book will be one for the kill.

Those of us who choose not to become parents are a bit like Unitarians or nonnative Californians; we tend to arrive at our destination via our own meandering, sometimes agonizing paths. Contrary to a lot of cultural assumptions, people who opt out of parenthood … are not a monolithic group. We are neither hedonists nor ascetics. We bear no worse psychological scars from our own upbringings than most people who have kids. We do not hate children (and it still amazes me that this notion is given any credence). In fact, many of us devote quite a lot of energy to enriching the lives of other people’s children, which in turn enriches our own lives.

— Meghan Daum, Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids

Because, you see, even though I am pretty certain about my stand to not have kids, I find it difficult to articulate the reasons, which bubble clearly in my mind, to others. I just know myself that I will not be the good mother that I want to be if I were to have kids and I would rather choose not to have kids than to consciously choose to have one just to see if I would in fact be a good mother. See how convoluted that becomes?

I am still in the midst of ploughing through the dictionary in search for the apt group of words that will congregate to explicate the mess of thoughts and feelings that roar through the opinions that are cooking up in my mind. But for now, maybe “self-knowledge” could be the next candidate, except I’m not so certain if it would be the best word to get through to most people. Do most people understand “self-knowledge”? Do most have enough self-knowledge to?

“It’s about time we stop mistaking self-knowledge for self-absorption — and realize that nobody has a monopoly on selfishness.”

— Meghan Daum, Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids

Exposition on this will have to be shelved on hold until I get my hands on the book.

Till then, hold off on releasing your kids on me.

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March mayhem.

It is now past mid-March.

Now, before we digress into the perennial riddle of the passage of time in life — the “how did we get here already?!” — I need to direct your attention to some other truly important issues.

I think many people would agree with me that one of the best ways to put age into perspective is to have a newborn enter your life. When you have a zero-year-old tiny human in your arms, it is difficult to escape this profound sense of age in life seeping into your mind.

Apart from her regular cries of genuine need (only newborns have the right to be authentically innocently demanding) that now dictate the airwaves in my house, things at home remain quite peaceful. In fact, everything seems even more peaceful than before, because, apparently, being in the presence of a newborn, who has pretty much no perceivable ability to judge us, makes people go into their most well-behaved mode, what with speaking in mild, gentle tones and trying their best to say silly things to stimulate the baby to react with some form of facial expressions that the adults can then interpret on non-baby terms. Such simple-minded folks we are!

But, honestly, compared to all the horror tales I have heard about babies who scream their heads off deep into the middle of the night, my niece is being one of the most wonderful tiny humans I have ever seen.

I know everyone adores babies for their unworldly cuteness that has yet to be tainted by the nasty dirt that permeates the current state of humanity in this terrible world that we live in today. It is important to indulge in marvelling at their pleasantly clean slate of life, because it puts our overwhelmingly disordered phases of life into perspective. Yes, we have been through terrible things, and life in general seems to feel unbearably shitty every other hour of the day, but, hey, look at how far you have come. You used to be this tiny bundle of defenceless being with blotchy skin and no teeth.

Other than the gruelling vice-like grip over my life courtesy of my final-year research project, I am hobbling through this mayhem that is March considerably fine.

I hope you, my friends, are doing considerably fine as well. Relativity is not just one of the grand theories that the genius that is Einstein came up with. It is one of the core concepts that will help you not lose sight of your perspectives as you hop and hobble through life.

Let us continue Marching on.