At 73, I am definitely committed to living childfree, and I made the decision very early in life.
Maybe it started when I refused to play with dolls, or when I had to get a job in high school. I tried babysitting a few times, then, instead, made a deal with some friends to help host birthday parties so we could eat cake and make $5 for an afternoon.
I wanted a life of adventure and freedom to travel, to immerse myself in beautiful art, music, and fresh, exciting experiences. My brother had 6 children, so that was enough for my family’s next generation. And, I believed decades ago that the world had too many children going hungry, being abused, uneducated and miserable.
I taught French for a few years and arranged to take a group of 12 high school students to live in the French Alps for 3 months, skiing and immersing ourselves in the culture. Three of my students went back to school or work in France after they graduated.
In my late twenties, I moved into a commune where we had a shared economy and lived in a much smaller carbon footprint. I was able to work on projects that made an impact on the environment. The children were raised in a school from the age of 6 months. Wayyyy ahead of its time. We were an extended family from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences.
When I had my own business for many years, I always had high school apprentices to mentor. And now, my husband and I have been expats for the last five years, living in Prague, Czech Republic. I speak 3 foreign languages and have friends all over the world to visit or just connect with.
I admire my friends who have raised families and are proud of their children. But there are multitudes of experiences that I probably wouldn’t have had if I’d had children, and I am fiercely proud of my own choice to embody the last two lines of Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken”:
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.