When I reached adulthood in the Sixties with a college degree, I was determined to pursue my career and didn’t really desire to have children. Although I hoped someday to marry, my priorities involved other pursuits, in particular, travel and continued education. A husband might, and children definitely, would interfere with my goals, take up my free time, clutter up my lovely home, and damage the beautiful objects in it.
Today in retirement, I’m sitting alone with my material treasures and my memories while my siblings and many of my friends are busy with their children and grandchildren. I worry about my failing health and wonder who will be here for me when I can no longer take care of myself. What will I do with all my “stuff” if I have to move to assisted living? Who will visit me there? Even making a will is a dilemma. I have no relationships close enough to designate as my executor if my husband dies before I do.
I never anticipated the loneliness in my senior years when I opted out of having a family. So what am I doing to alleviate it? For a number of years I taught adult classes in my church and participated in musical groups there. I’ve joined a few women’s philanthropic groups. Now that my physical activities are limited, I keep in contact with friends by phone and email. I make a point of reaching out to others who are alone as I am. I’ve even written a couple of books to share my memories and my insights into the Christian life.
As my contemporaries pass on, my circle of friendships grows smaller. I accept that this consequence was my self-centered choice. But if some young woman can learn from my experience and take stock of the long-term results of her choice between singleness, marriage, and/or family, sharing this is worth it. Looking back, it seems that God’s plan is really for us to grow up in loving families and then to create new ones for the next generation.
Submitted by A. D.
Originally posted on Ruth Institute