I’m so tired of and so confused about the narrative surrounding those who choose to be childfree. All too often, we are told that our decision is selfish. That we’re missing out on something. That we’re going to regret our decision.
What I don’t think people understand is that I have carefully chosen this life. I’ve mindfully chosen what will and will not be part of my life. I’ve curated it.
If you’re unfamiliar with the word, I love these definitions of curating.
to select, organize, and look after…Oxford Dictionary
carefully chosen and thoughtfully organized or presentedMerriam-Webster
The idea of curating something usually has to do with items in museums or collections, but why don’t we apply this concept to our own lives? Why don’t we carefully choose what will and will not be part of our lives? Why don’t we thoughtfully organize and present what is important to us and our lives?
I’ve learned alot about curation through my plant collection. When I first entered into the plant world, every plant was on my wishlist. I had to have them all and couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to have every one! I would be so scared to never find a plant again that I’d have to purchase it as soon as I saw it. What happened? I got overwhelmed. I couldn’t keep up with the care for all of the plants. I lost the joy in the hobby. This wasn’t a complete loss, though, because I realized what plants I really love (hoyas), and I’ve since been able to carefully choose the plants that I keep. I’ve been able to thoughtfully purchase plants I will truly love. I have a small wishlist of plants I’d like to add to my collection that I know I’ll be able to treasure and enjoy.
Although this is just a little analogy from one of my hobbies, I think it is also how we sometimes approach life. We’re so scared to miss out on something, we’re so scared to let time and opportunities pass us by, and we just grab onto everything and anything in an attempt to be happy. We’re sold this lie that we have to “have it all” in order to be happy. That we can have it all. That more is better. That we must want more, that we must fit into this predetermined mold and follow this pre-marked path for our life.
But why aren’t we encouraged to carefully, mindfully and thoughtfully curate our lives? To make choices that will allow us to treasure what we have. To mindfully select the things that will and will not be part of our lives. Why aren’t we encouraged to challenge the norm and instead select what is right for us as individuals? Why aren’t we encouraged to face the inevitable truth that we cannot have it all? As the saying goes, we can do anything, but we can’t do everything.
If your carefully curated life involves treasuring children, I’m so happy for you. If your mindfully created life involves activity and noise and busyness, I’m not shaming you or telling you that my life is better. I’m simply saying that my carefully curated life does not involve children of my own. That I have prioritized something different and that my values are focused on something else. I know that I’m “missing out” on having children and the trials and joys of the experience, because I’ve thoughtfully designed my life this way. And this is how I can say, with reasonable confidence, that I will not regret my decision.
If choosing to curate one’s life in this way makes one selfish in the view of the world, may I kindly suggest that perhaps the world needs a shakeup? That I, and any other childfree individuals, are in fact not the problem. That maybe our carefully chosen, carefully curated lives are uncomfortable to others not because of the lack of children, but because they go against social norms? That maybe our lives challenge others to look at their own lives and carefully and thoughtfully choose what will and will not be part of them? It isn’t always an easy or comfortable process to curate your life, but it is absolutely worth it.
What about you? Have you taken the time to carefully curate your life? What items remained? What did you have to let go? I’d love to hear in the comments, if you’re comfortable sharing!