I chose the name of my blog after I received a painfully rude comment on facebook. I was informed, because I choose not to have children, that my life would forever remain boring and void of meaning. (See comment to the left) Thankfully my skin is fairly thick and I found the comment more humorous than hurtful. As childfree people, are we doomed to have a meaningless life? Are children really the only thing that truly gives life any meaning?
Being childfree it would be easy to slip into a life of selfishness. I think about this a lot around the holidays. We have to put in place a shopping ban come September in order for there to be a list for us to give to our families. When you are the only one to worry about, it’s easy to just buy what you want or need when you want or need it, but selfishness gets old quick. Studies have shown that long term selfish behaviours actually detract from our own happiness instead of increase it. The best way to be happy ourselves is to actually make others happy. So what can you do?
Donate Your Skills - Can you play guitar? Connect with someone who's just learning. Feel like you were blessed with wisdom? Become a mentor to a young person who could use some guidance. Nieces, nephews, neighbours, seniors and youth in your church could all use someone else to connect with. You don't need to have your own children to have an impact on the world around you.
Donate Your Home - There are thousands of dogs, cats and even rabbits sitting around in shelters waiting for a loving home. If you don't have children, particularly because you don't like or don't connect with them, why not save another life? Adopt a senior cat or a dog who has been waiting months for his forever family, or adopt a bonded pair that are often difficult to home. We don't always need to spend our time helping humans. One of my favourite quotes is “pets may just be a small part of our life, but we are their whole life”, and we can choose to make their lives full of love!
Donate Your Time - I know that just because we don't have kids doesn't mean we aren't busy. (Our bible study group barely meets once a month because apparently 4 childfree people's schedules are impossible to work around.) There is some free time though, and with that free time we can impact the world. Homeless shelters, animal shelters or even your home church are always looking for an extra pair of hands to help out. Don't feel pressured to commit to a set time if your schedule doesn’t allow it, often parades, fundraisers or events need helpers only for a few hours or a day. We can also look closer to home, is someone ill? Is there an elderly couple in your neighbourhood? Donating our time to help family and friends holds just as much meaning as helping out a stranger. Donate Your Money - Children are expensive. As childfree people we don't have to spend $13,366/year to keep a tiny person alive. That means some of us will have the luxury of more disposable income than an average family, but with that extra disposable income comes extra responsibility! We have the ability to make a difference and impact the lives of others. Plan that vacation if you want to, but also consider donating some money to your local charity, funding a child to go to summer camp or sponsoring a child overseas. "A true selfless act always sparks another." As for the boring part of being childfree, well we all know that's not true. From concerts to vacations, spontaneous hockey games and date nights to sleeping in until noon on a Saturday morning, we have no trouble keeping our lives fun. How do you find meaning without children? What do you do that adds fun to your life? Let me know in the comments!