Sunday, November 4, 2018

Being selfish gets a bad rap





I enjoy living alone.


This past spring, in a moment of inspiration, I began looking for a new place to live. My lease was up and the place I called home was no longer doing it for me.


I found a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom townhouse, complete with an attached garage and 4 bay windows. It reminded me of San Francisco, except for the price. Perks of living in a city on the Canadian Prairies.


The owner asked me the standard questions and when I told her I would be living here alone, she asked me what I needed three bedrooms for. I told her I needed a spare bedroom and an office.


Lined up outside, waiting to view, were young couples and some with children. I had competition. But I believed in my references and excellent credit report and so I said to myself,


“ this place is mine.”


Sure enough, a month later, I moved in.



October was the first month I actually stayed home. I’ve spent
 5 months taking road trips, because I have this fantasy of living in two different places.


I’m not domestic. I chose not to have children, but I love being an aunt. I
 learned how to clean so I keep a tidy house. I enjoy dancing in my kitchen and cooking meals for myself. When I do laundry and clean the bathrooms, I remind myself that I’m living my childhood dream of living alone.


I’ve lived alone for years, off and on since 18 but never in a place as nice as what I live in now.


I host family dinners. I have a small family-one brother, two nephews and my dad. I also have a sister in law and my dad’s wife. I don’t call her my stepmom because I was 27 when my father remarried. My mother passed away, 14 years ago.


I don’t feel bad about my lifestyle. I don’t have pets, I keep plants that need watering maybe every 2 weeks.



I put my needs first because I am the only person who is paying my bills.


The calendar on my phone has numerous dates earmarked for my nephews. Either they are visiting me for the weekend or my brother has asked me to hang out with them for the evening when he is working late.


I don’t hesitate to say yes when he asks. Not because I want to spend my evening cooking and helping with homework and making sure they get to bed on time. I say yes because I like seeing my nephews and I want to be a fantastic aunt.


When they come visit me, which is usually once a month, the kids know we will go shopping at the mall. I will take them swimming and we will eat all the foods they like to eat. In return, I get to be the fun adult without the daily responsibility.



We get jobs to pay our bills. We want a certain lifestyle and do what we must to acquire it.


People get married and have families to fulfill their needs. My needs are different. I need plenty of space to myself. I need to pursue my path. I happen to view much of domestic life as a distraction.


While I currently do my own cooking and cleaning, I have no issue with one day affording a chef and a housekeeper.


During my days as a violinist, my apartment was disgusting. I did have someone come and clean every two weeks. I didn’t know how to cook. I was too busy practicing, teaching and performing.



My joy comes from providing myself with a good life. I don’t think that is wrong.


I’ve never been a “Yes” person, I have no problem saying “No”. But then again, the people in my small social circle are all self reliant. We support one another in our aspirations but there seems to be an understanding that we are responsible for our own affairs.


I have this habit of being really social for a period of time and then disappearing for awhile.


Self preservation.


I think maybe, I’m talking a good game. Sure, I’ve spent the last 17 months doing whatever I wanted. Time and money collided so I seized the opportunity.


Prior that this, I worked 50 hours a week for five and a half years for a small company. But I enjoyed that job. It gave me what I needed while I figured out my next move after the violin career.


So while I dedicated most of my time to that job, it was really all about me. I gained a lot from that experience, not just a pay check. I’ve maintained a friendship with the owners since their retirement and I’ve been able to enjoy a year or more long vacation.


Growing up, I never viewed motherhood as something to look forward too. How happy was I when I realized I had a choice. While I do like to help people, contrary to everything I’ve said so far, I don’t enjoy the daily obligation of being legally and morally responsible for another human life.


Living a life as a non parent is judged as being selfish. Some parents get on their high horse and declare their selflessness in raising children. But they chose to raise children for their own needs.


Or if the child was an accident, declaring me selfish for not wanting children is one way to try and drag me into their misery. Most of us childfree by choice people have become aware of this tactic.


I choose to keep myself happy and healthy-well, I need to cut way back on the sugar-but I don’t surround myself with chaos.


I recently reactivated my Twitter account, after repeatedly opening the app and wondering what the hell I should have Twitter for. So I did an experiment. Instead of tweeting, I began looking for other childfree people.


I read their articles, listened to their podcasts, liked their tweets and began to engage with them. While my following is tiny, I get daily engagement back now.


For me, the whole point of writing is to share my stories in an entertaining manner. Well, that’s not the whole point. I also am desperate for content I can relate to. Many of the topics floating around, while interesting to read, I cannot relate to.


So even my writing is selfish. I still don’t feel bad about that

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