(And I want to Travel!)
Warning: This post is some kind of a rant.
Explaining my life choices is not something I am very good at. I believe that we are all entitled to make decisions about how are we going to live our life, and having to explain why I opt for something over another thing is really unnecessary, and not to mention, quite emotionally draining. Sometimes, those people who ask you to explain your decisions are those who do not really support your choices. What is even more exhausting is defending your choice, especially against someone who cannot clearly understand why you are putting “settling down” on hold for long-term travel.
I recently had a conversation with an old friend who has settled down, started a family and now has a really cute kid. It got me kind of riled up in the end, and kind of disappointed, too. But then I realized I should not expect everyone to fully understand why I have this lifestyle, and should not care that much whether they do or they don’t.
Me: I don’t really want to be tied down right now, I need my freedom. Especially now that I’m traveling.
Friend: You don’t want to have kids? Why? You’re weird
Me: I am just not ready for it. I don’t know if eventually I will be ready to settle down and have a family, but as of the moment, it’s really not part of my plan as of the moment. I want to travel, experience new things, meet lots of people and hopefully, learn more. Not to mention, there’s no one I want to have kids with yet! Hahaha!
Friend: But children are gifts from God. I was so lonely before I had my kid, but now I am just so happy.
Me: I am sure you are! But as I said, I’m just not ready.
Friend: Who will take care of you when you grow old? You will be alone.
Me: I don’t really care about that.
Friend: Fine, enjoy your life now. I hope you won’t regret this when you’re older, and can’t have kids anymore.
I’ve had conversations like this in the past, although most are about me not continuing my law studies, or having a “weird” job, but they were not as critical as this one. I felt sad about his opinion on what I’ve decided to do. And while I do not adhere to most of his beliefs, I do respect his choice. I mean people get married and have kids all the time and are absolutely happy. And I think that is great and amazing! It takes a lot of commitment and love to be able to do that. I would not even think they settled for something less unless they tell me that they feel they have. My friend’s disrespect of my choice was such a huge letdown.
He did make a few seemingly valid points that, until about a few years ago, I used to believe in. Marriage and kids will give your life meaning. You won’t grow old alone when you’ve got kids, they will take care of you when you’re all wrinkled and weary. Work now, save, and travel later.
I don’t think I can accept these things anymore. I just know that different things in life can make us feel perfectly content and that there is no one all-encompassing formula to happiness. However, our conversation has made me question again so many things that I previously believe in.
1. Why do I need to feel “fulfilled”? Can I not have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, for new experiences and for adventures?
2. Can I not give my own life its meaning and not rely on other people doing it for me?
3. Why should I be afraid of growing old alone when what I should be afraid of is growing old and not be able to do the things that I want to do?
4. Why would I want to have kids, raise them and then have this expectation that they will take care of me when I am old and weary?
5. Why should I be overly concerned about the future?
Frankly, I do not have all the answers to these questions (and I still have a lot more in my mind). And sometimes I do stress about not knowing what lies ahead. At the end of the day though, I just realize that life is not about doing everything “right”. I do not have my future all-planned, but so what? I know I won’t be able to please everybody with my life choices. And anyway, I am not here to be a people-pleaser. I did that before, and it made me miserable.
I am currently living my dream to travel. And I am not on a holiday where everything is supposedly sunny and bright and happy. This is not something I will do for a few months and then I’d return to “normal” life and then get myself a “real job”. This is already my life. I go thru stress, heartbreak, and whatnots like everyone else. I do have problems, believe it or not.
We all want to be able to live our life to the fullest. And if you’re lucky, you get to choose how to live your life. Right now, this is what I want, this is MY choice. It may not be the same as yours. And if you are worried about my happiness or my future, don’t be. I am not worried about yours. I am pretty sure you will do well. So please, won’t you just have a little faith in me?