Being childless and the birth of a new philosophy

By Nina Steele 

My new philosophy on life is that it can all end tomorrow, and so every moment is precious. There is no more time to waste on anything or anyone who does not add value to my life. If it all ends tomorrow, as it may well do, I want to be filled with the joy that mine has been a life well lived, as opposed to a life full of drama and unhappiness.

Being childless has been a blessing for us as a couple. For one thing, we can now focus most of our energy on ourselves. And if like me you believe that the purpose of life is to learn and grow continuously, then not having the distraction of parenthood can only count as a blessing.

I have absolutely no doubt that having children is a great teacher, and that many parents find the whole experience immensely rewarding. I also know from being a child once, and from talking to other parents, that it can also be a continuous struggle. My own mother now in her 70s, still has to care for one of my brothers, who has mental health issues, and since he will never leave the house, she now worries about what will happen to him once she dies.

Being childless may not make you a member of mainstream society, but it certainly gives you plenty of opportunities to enjoy your life to the full, if that is of course what you want to do. Someone I know was recently opening up to me about the difficulties that she and her partner were facing raising their children. They never imagined that it would be such a struggle. One thing she mentioned was how restricted she felt their life has become. Everything has to be planned well in advance and spontaneity has now become a thing of the past. The more I listened to her story the more grateful I felt about the course that our life has taken.

In complete contrast, I met a childless woman the other day and we had so much in common that I thought I was looking at myself. She too is childless by circumstance, and has long made peace with it. She feels strongly about making the most of life while we still can, and does not believe in living one’s life, based on other people. It was evident that being childless has been the greatest teacher for us and from it, a philosophy about what the meaning of life is, has sprung.

What has being childless taught you?

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