No, your life will not be empty and devoid of meaning if you don't have kids

Twitter is a place people go to say some very dumb things.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that this week, a parent and radio present sent out a couple of ridiculous tweets about women’s purpose and the meaning of life.

Naturally, though, people still reacted to the nonsense, replying in droves to say ‘this is bad. Delete this’.

The ‘this’ in question is a series of tweets that essentially suggest that women should have children before the age of 30, and if they don’t they’re big idiots who will have miserable, meaningless lives.

‘Ladies, by the time you are 30, 90 per cent of your eggs are dead,’ wrote Stefan Molyneux, apparently completely aware that when you write things on the internet, people see them.

‘Get married young, have your babies, THEN have your career.

 

‘You have 40 years to work if you want to, you only have a short time to have children.

‘Listen to Mother Nature – she loves you and wants you to be happy.

‘Women get mostly infertile at 40, but live to be 80.

‘Without a family, what are you going to do with those 40 long long years?’

Stefan is obviously very confused about what women do if they don’t have children, so I’m going to be very helpful and break things down – for him and for all other people who genuinely believe that life is pointless unless you push some tiny humans out of your vagina.

If you don’t have kids, what will you do for those long 40 years between your fertility dropping off and imminent death?

Whatever the f*** you want, basically.

Life doesn’t actually have a set purpose or meaning – that’s why stoned dudes will ponder what it all, like, means until the end of time. It’s an open question without an answer, and there’s no official body of life that can send a world-wide email saying ‘hey, just a head’s up, the point of being a human is to do this one thing, and if you’re not doing it, you have wasted your years.’

We can all get caught up on defining the meaning of life. It’s a super fun question when you’re experiencing depression and everything feels pointless.

But really, we’re each responsible for determining our own purpose.

Making that decision is the tricky bit, yes. Figuring out why you’re on the earth is a far more complicated mission than choosing what you want for lunch, and we struggle with the latter.

But it’s your life, your choice, and you have to do whatever will make you feel like you’ve done the whole life thing properly.

For some people, that’s becoming a parent. These are people who are really keen on the idea of leaving something (namely, another human) behind when they leave this mortal realm, who think perhaps they can make the world a better place by bringing a newbie into it and raising them well. Hopefully, these are people who would also be good at parenting, although that’s not always the case.

Not everyone should have that same purpose, though.

For one thing, the human race really isn’t in danger of running out. The earth definitely doesn’t need every one of us to have children. It could actually do with us reducing our output, so it doesn’t become so polluted and hot it’s just a giant ball of trash that’s on fire.

Plus, not all of us would be good at raising a child.

The idea that having children is just what people do results in loads of parents who never stopped to consider that reproducing isn’t actually what they want. Those parents are then miserable, they have less-than-great relationships with their children, and those children grow up to be unhappy adults.

It’s not a pleasant feeling to know that your parents didn’t really want to have you, and a lack of dedication and care really isn’t great for a person’s wellbeing.

Imagine the misery that could be saved if we encouraged people to question not only if they want children, but if they would actually do a good job at being a parent – and if we then made it perfectly okay to decide that actually, having kids isn’t the right choice.

But no, instead we get this fear-mongering cr*p that suggests if you don’t have children, for whatever reason, you’ll be missing out on any potential for happiness or meaning… which simply isn’t the case.

Once you decide that parenting isn’t your purpose, you aren’t then left directionless – you can just choose a different thing.

You could run for office and create political change! You could write a load of books! You could save the polar bears! You could take action against the climate crisis! You could be there for your friends! You could just focus on living out your days as happily and damage-free as possible!

Not having children doesn’t mean you’ll be bored and have nothing to do for the next 40 years. Instead, being without kids frees you to run off and do whatever the hell you like without having to worry about raising a tiny human.

Obviously, yes, parents can still do those things (you can do more than one thing in life, if you didn’t know), but children do tend to take quite a bit of time, effort, and money to look after. If having kids isn’t your priority, other stuff will fill that mystical gap.

A life without children is not empty, unless you choose to leave it that way. A life with children can be filled with all the wrong stuff.

The choice to have or not have children doesn’t automatically make your life more meaningful. It’s all down to how you fill your time, whether that’s with caring for kids or not.

Not to sound like a fortune cookie, but your life is your own and no one else gets to decide what it’s all for. Not the looming weight of societal expectations, not your parents who are desperate for grandkids, and definitely not a random dude on Twitter being controversial for clicks.

It is perfectly okay to decide not to reproduce tiny humans. If that’s the right choice for you, you won’t feel like you missed out or wasted your youth.

Work out what you care about and make that your metaphorical baby; bring it into the world, care for it, protect it, value it. Let it be your life’s work, meaning, and purpose.

If life feels empty, fill it up. Kids are not the only thing that fit in that 40 year space.

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