Birthday Revelation

I wanted to have children very badly. I thought I would be a good father, and I wanted to see if that was true. It's funny because I was always uncomfortable around other people's kids. That wasn't because I was uncomfortable around kids. It was because I was uncomfortable around their parents. I knew I would relate differently, and I didn't want to do things that would offend their parents. Having my own kids meant I didn't have to worry about that.

It turned out that I couldn't have kids without technological intervention. The tube that goes from the testicles to the end of my penis was not there. I make *****, but I can't deliver it. When I found this out, the technology wasn't really there, and I struggled with the idea of having kids not related to me. I really didn't want to have them, but I wanted kids, so we tried with other men's *****. Fortunately that didn't work.

Eventually the technology advanced, and we tried and were successful! There were many reasons why I wanted biological children. Maybe the most important was that I wanted to feel connected, and feel like I understood them. When I saw myself in them, I would know what was going on, and be able to relate to them better.

Another reason is that I believe our children are our immortality. We live on through our genes, mixed with someone else's. By selecting a partner to have children with, I think that to some degree (different in all of us), we seek to recreate ourselves, only better.

The last reason I will mention is the meaning factor. For many people, their children are their reason for living. Many a person contemplating suicide has decided not to because of the impact it would have on their kids. Many people make their children their life's work. Their children are the only legacy they leave behind when they die.

I was devastated when I found out I was infertile. Everyone else in the world can create a baby as easy as falling off a log (and way more fun), but I can't. Everyone else is trying to stop pregnancies, and I can't start one. I felt inhuman; some kind of alien from who-knows-where. I remember sitting on my bed, staring at the wall, crying and wondering what the point was. Funny thing. I'm infertile still, but I have my own, genetically-related kids and I feel like a member of the human race again.

I do not think the desire to have children is as strong in some as in others. It's kind of a mystery, because one would have thought that the lack of desire to have children would have been bred out of us by now. After all, if only those who really want to have children have them, only children with a higher desire to have children should result. But I guess that environmental factors also play a role. Still, I find that rarely do the people who shouldn't have children choose not to, and far too often people who would make great parents choose not to become parents.

But meaning in life doesn't have to come from children. Immortality can come from writing a book or leaving some other lasting work. And some people can see themselves in other kids whether or not they are related to them. It's really up to us.

I think parents and friends who keep bugging childless individuals to have kids are just showing concern in the same way that all evangelists do. If you find something that makes you really happy, it is natural to want to share the good news. They love you. They don't believe you can be happy unless you have what they have. And to a small degree, they are seeking to validate their own choices. A single person making his or her way in the world happily and creatively might create a little doubt about their choices to have children. Maybe they want to be childless, to some degree.

I don't believe we have any predetermined path. I believe it is our job to make meaning out of the path we find ourselves on. If I can't have children, then I find a way to say I wasn't meant to have children. I.e., my true path goes that way. If I manage to have children, I can say I was meant to. I was just given certain obstacles to overcome in order to do it.

All paths you could be on are the right path if you tell yourself it is. We make up the stories about our lives. Like I made up a story that I was an alien. And later on I made up a story that I didn't deserve to live (that's a sad one, isn't it)? Now I have a story that I experienced these things in order to teach me compassion and to give me an opportunity to become a writer -- a writer who can see deeper into the heart of things and can show it to others so they can have compassion too.

There's a story I'm struggling with right now. Why am I a good writer who has published nothing and a good musician who has sold no recordings? Is it because I haven't really tried? Is it because I don't believe in myself? Is it because no one has discovered me? Is it because I'm waiting for something? Some kick in the pants? Is it because I'm not really a good writer or musician?

See? I have a multiplicity of stories to tell, of meanings I could make. But in truth, it's probably better not to judge at all. I can only make myself unhappy that way. It is far better to live in this moment, where I am writing a story for I-don't-know-who, and to feel my feelings of sadness (for my unhappy self) and longing (to be playing music with a magic partner again), and worry (how long can I write at work instead of working at work) and pride (people think I write well, and I am dedicated to it).

I have muses everywhere -- people who send me down one path or another. I love my muses. They keep me going. Otherwise I would be alone, or dead, perhaps.

But I'm not dead. And it's my birthday. And I am glad I'm alive. And I appreciate it more than I can say, knowing how close I came to giving it up because it had become so painful. Who knows? Maybe the world is a much more interesting place because I'm in it. I know for damn sure it's a lot more interesting to me!
wundayatta wundayatta
56-60, M
2 Responses Jul 16, 2010 a lot....I agree!<br />
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Happy belated Birthday!

I guess I was raised to always do my best. To leave no potential unexploited. To be successful (which required winning the Nobel prize for my father). That kind of competitive stuff is hard to shed. maybe even it isn't desirable to get rid of it. We are great apes. We compete for status. We compete to pass on our genes. It's built in, and it is reinforced by culture and training.<br />
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I think people set their goals based on what they think they are capable of. Maybe we all set our goals a little too high? Maybe we have to if we want to keep moving.<br />
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Not everyone is like this. Many people can live for the moment and be happy doing what they are doing. I love to think. Writing makes me think. I love to be useful to others. The only way I know I'm useful is if people want to read what I write -- if they are willing to pay for it.<br />
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Thank you, by the way. :-)