Thursday, January 07, 2010

Choices

I have a personal theory that so much of life is about choices. Sometimes you hear that we, as a generatio, are worse off financially than our parents' generation was. I don't think it is necessarily true that we are poorer than our parents. I think we have chosen to seek more at our age than our parents did. For example, my parents did not own their own home until I was 5, my brother (the eldest) was 10. I know families that owned home before they had children or when their childrne were younger. That's a choice they've all made. A choice that comes with a cost - benefits as well - but definitely a cost. We also choose the kind of cars we have, the vacations we take, the clothes we buy, etc - how nice they are, how frequently we replace them - all at a cost. We choose a lifestyle. That may be a lifestyle that can not be maintained with only one parent working. So, both have to work and you have to find childcare - mostly likely pay for it. Sometimes you have to choose whether or not to have another child based on what it means you can afford in terms of the lifestyle you want to have or even the ability to afford the basic needs you have to provide for the children you already have. Sucky choices - but choices none the less. Some people acknowledge having had to make those choices. On the other hand, there are those who don't seem to acknowledge that it's their choices that put them where they are. And then there are those who did not make the choices that put them where they are - outside circumstances forced them there. But, those are not the norm. Most of it - you made a choice that has put you here. You could make different choices. They may not be palatable to you, but it could be done. I just wish people would more frequently recognize that they made choices that put them where they are. Like me. I chose not to try to have children on my own before marriage. As a result, I was trying desperately at 40+ to have a baby - not easy. A & I also chose not to borrow money to adopt a child. We felt that the cost of repaying the loan would mean having a family that couldn't be a family because we had to work extra jobs to pay for getting a family. So we are childless and at a certain level, it was a choice.

5 comments:

loribeth said...

Kate, you echo my thoughts on so many levels. Dh & I often get snarky comments & digs about how much money we must have (the "because you don't have kids" is sometimes implied & sometimes just stated baldly). At a certain level, yes, it was a choice (we could have continued with treatment, we could have adopted...), but on another, it was not -- & they know that & it bugs the hell out of me that they would say something like that when they know at least part of our story.

They also don't recognize that, while we don't have kids, dh & I have also chosen to live in a smaller house and drive a less flashy car than many of them do. We haven't taken any expensive vacations in a long time & we don't have many "toys." We have no mortgage, paid-up credit cards & a savings account. Those things didn't just happen because we don't have kids. They were the result of choices, priorities & careful planning.

Great post.

Brenna said...

Firstly, I wouldn't think twice about you being in 'my generation' though I think I am on the older side of the group at 36. This was a great post, I appreciate seeing your thoughts laid out so well here.

MLO said...

I no longer believe most things are from "choices." We can only make choices within the hand we are dealt. Was it truly feasible for you to pursue a child without a husband? Was it your choice that you did not meet and marry until later?

No, life is a mix of what is thrown at us and what choices are before us from those circumstances.

dinap said...

Nicely put, Kate. That discussion also got me thinking about how I'm very much a product of my parent's choices. They sacrificed so we could live in a good school district, and saved so I didn't have to take on many undergraduate loans. So that put me in a position where I had more choices when I first started my adult life. But since then, my choices have been my own and I own them...but luck (or lack thereof) does play some part in life, I think.

Erin said...

Great post. I too found that discussion to be quite fascinating.