From a very early age, I knew I would never marry and never have children. While other little girls wanted to become moms when they grew up, I wanted to become a judge. I never role-played with dolls as a child, or felt any nurturing feelings towards young children. I didn’t even physically hold a baby until I was in my mid-20s (and when I did, it only lasted 3 seconds).
I won’t say that growing up as an only child hindered my emotional development when it came to child-rearing instincts, since I know many only children who are parents and who want to be parents. It’s also not like I necessarily hate all children. As an adult, I’ve volunteered for non-profit organizations that benefit youth and even had a short stint as a staff member at a mentoring organization for high school kids. I just never personally had the desire to breed, adopt and/or raise my own children.
The same goes for marriage. I’ve been in relationships, and lived with boyfriends, but at no point has the idea of engaging in a legally-binding ritual historically derived from an intent to either carry on a family line or transfer property ever really held appeal for me. I also dislike anything involving a lot of paperwork.
So while many of my friends have deliberately chosen over the past several years to marry, remarry and (sometimes purposely) have children, I have intentionally chosen not to marry or have children, knowing that it conflicted with my values and/or choice of lifestyle. I’ll never have a tax advantage based on these decisions. In addition, I’ll never receive presents from registries for a marriage or a baby.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. I like buying things for people. Presents are fun. And for the most part, I don’t mind spending money on friends who are embarking upon the next chapters of their lives. People are excited and fine, let’s celebrate. (When they’re celebrating these chapters for the third or fourth time, it may be a smidge less exciting than the first time, but that’s just my opinion. But I digress.)
The present system (pun alert!) is unbalanced. Society has not yet adopted a similar type of celebration to materially congratulate those of us who have also concluded that their lives will not contain a legal spouse or child. Where’s the card and memento to recognize that I have other life priorities than a child and as a result, have been responsible enough to not bring an unwanted baby into the world? Where’s my olive pitter, strawberry huller, and other super specific utensils that I would never buy on my own unless they were gifted to me? It simply seems a little counter-intuitive that some unplanned pregnancy would land me some gift certificates, but my years of responsible behavior results in zilch.
Give me presents, dammit.