Saturday night, I met an array of interesting people. Among the crowd, there was a man who, when I asked if he’d ever been in love before, plainly said, “That shit hurts.” I giggled at the idea that a man could be so candid about his feelings, that a man could, in a sense, be vulnerable enough to share something so personal.
“I’m traumatized. You have any idea what it’s like to give someone your all?” he added.
I sure do, and I can relate, but as a male friend (I keep running into insightful men!) said recently, “Love is worth it all.”
If we live in fear, and limit our experiences for the sake of avoiding pain, we’re depriving ourselves of the greatest experiences life has to offer. So whereas before I scurried at the sight of pain, I now appreciate it as much as I do happiness, because pain has taught me things about myself, about others, and about life I wouldn’t have known otherwise. Moreover, pain reminds me that I care that deeply about someone, and when I contemplate how amazing it feels to love (and I don’t just mean romantically), the ache is well worth it.
The brigade of fascinating people continued when I met the alluring young man a friend of mine is currently talking to. He donned a seemingly tailored suit and spoke softly, yet confidently. I was captivated not by his appearance, but by his presence. At just 26 years old, he has an old soul, one that demands attention. Within minutes of meeting, we were engaged in conversation. I’m not sure how we landed on the topic, but it might’ve had something to do with the fact that I no longer shy away from revealing that I don’t want children. It is nothing to be ashamed of, and it tends to spark interesting dialogue.
Upon my revelation, the refined man said something that irked me, a phrase very similar to others I’ve heard in the past: “I guarantee you you’ll change your mind by the time you’re 30.” He then went on to say that he believes procreation is the purpose of life. “We are here to pass down our genes, to pass down what we know.”
To this point, I asked, So then does that mean that a person who can’t bear children has no purpose?
His eyes widened, but his tone didn’t escalate. He mentioned adoption and a broader idea of passing on knowledge. While it would’ve been easy to jump to conclusions, after listening to him for a while, I realized his views weren’t limited to the traditional perception of parenting. He spoke of parenting in the sense of teaching and inspiring others.
He was surprised when I said the following: I don’t believe we were put on this earth for the purpose of procreation. If you look back in history, there have been various authors, which I can’t name off the top of my head – Elizabeth Gilbert being a modern example – who have chosen to be childfree and have passed down their knowledge through their writing. That is what I aim to do through my writing. I want to inspire and empower women of all ages. I want to start an organization for poor children. So while I don’t intend to be a mother in the physiological sense of the word, I do intend to mother.
That conversation tagged along with me into the following day. I was feeling a little down, because there are times when I wonder if my heart is leading me astray, but then, after speaking with a friend of mine, the one who feels like her clock is ticking, I realized, I have nothing to worry about. In response to the conversation I had with the alluring man, my friend said, “Some people are parents and spread no wisdom and if they spread something, it’s bad examples to follow. I think artists spread their knowledge better than some parents. As long as you’re true to yourself and your wants, nothing else should matter.”
I don’t want to sit around waiting for the feeling of motherhood to find me. I’m okay with the idea that it might eventually, but I’m also at peace with the possibility that it might not. For now, I’d rather focus on my dreams, on the things that fill me with love and hope, so that I can radiate the same onto others.
Just a couple of days ago, a coworker told me that her daughter is also a writer and that she hopes to teach her daughter to be as confident as I am. The beauty in her statement is that she acknowledged that confidence has to, in part, be taught. Like so many other things, it shouldn’t simply be expected. Perhaps it is part of my purpose to teach women how to believe in themselves. Maybe we all have a different purpose, and for some that includes having children, while for others it does not. Deep down inside though, I believe that maybe, just maybe, the purpose of life is to learn how to love.
Have you ever pondered the purpose of life, or is that too big of a question for you to think about? Do you know what your purpose is? Share below!