I just read a post on a certain website that I frequent that asked users if they thought they had wasted their life by raising a family. The poster said they loved their family and would do anything for them, but couldn’t help but think of all the things they could be doing besides worrying about these other people in their life. They bemoaned being as good-looking, physically fit, emotionally and fiscally stable as they would ever be in their life, and it “going to waste” on their family.
As Arsenio Hall used to say, “Things that make you say ‘Hmmmmm’.”
I had to respond, and I did, but I didn’t really say all the things I wanted to say. I mean, how do you properly convey to someone just how badly they missed the point? And not just the point of some conversation, or a college English essay question, but the point of having a family. Now, I’m not going to sit here and pretend to have all the answers and all the reasons that someone might want offspring, or not want them. I will stand proudly on a soap box and tell you all the reasons why I did, and expect you to swallow them with appropriate amounts of salt (you may even choose whether it’s Kosher or Sea or Iodized or fine or coarse or Pink Himalayan).
I understand that when you say something like “You’ve completely missed the point,” when the topic is something like “Why bother being alive,” people are going to come in with all kinds of opinions. And that’s okay. Everyone can and should pursue the things in life that make them happy and leave them feeling fulfilled. However, for me, and I believe for the majority of people out there raising families, the point of it all is to carve a place out where you can be surrounded by those you love and make you feel whole.
That’s what a family can do.
Everyone spends their whole life tilling soil, planting seeds, and watching their garden grow. What they choose to plant, and how well they maintain their crop will determine what sort of harvest they receive.
I want my harvest to be filled with the smiling faces of those I’ve spent my life with and who I’ve helped mold into happy, healthy, satisfied members of the human race. My children, their children, and maybe even those kids’ kids. Wouldn’t that be a trip?
So, is a family a waste? I feel like that’s like telling someone that their mortgage payment is a waste. You’re going to be spending the time anyway, you may as well put that time in a place that will pay dividends when you’re ready to cash out.