What’s in a family?

I’ve always said that kids are fantastic little creatures when they’re not your own. I say this because I’ve seen things from the other side of the show-curtain; all the ropes, pulleys, and gears. I’ve seen the stresses parents go through in order to keep their children young. I’ve seen the level of responsibility that raising them entails. I’ve seen the thankless sacrifices that they have to make on the daily. I’ve seen all of this and figured that I probably shouldn’t procreate.

Whenever I say this out loud, I’m always met with resistance in the form of questions. “You really don’t want a mini you running around?” No, no I don’t. “Doesn’t your mother want grandchildren?” she has 3 already. “What about your wife?” I don’t plan on having one of those either. Sooner or later, these conversations turn into debates where people try to convince me that I’m wrong for having these kinds of views.

I personally don’t see any benefit in any of this. I mean marriages don’t guarantee happiness. In actuality, half of them end in ex-marriages and from the other half, who’s to say which ones are truly happy. Children start their lives by putting their mothers through excruciating pain (who does that to a loved one?). The pain is swiftly followed by sleepless nights as you try to figure out which piercing cry means what. Then comes anger, resentment, emotional blackmail, a whole heap of disappointment and that’s before the kid even turns 20.

Statistics tell us that married people live longer than single people. Statistics also say that vegans live longer than non-vegans but veganism is yet to be as mandatory as marriage. “You’re going to be really lonely,” some say but if you live long enough then loneliness is inevitable. These are the only benefits people have given me and they really don’t help me understand why marriage is seen as obligatory.

“God says it’s not right for a man to be alone,” others say but their pastors also tell them that Jesus, the blueprint for an exemplary life, died a single virgin. The smartass says something like “Good thing your mom didn’t think like this”. For all I know, I could’ve been perfectly content in the dark void that is nonexistence. The only people that should be happy about my existence are my parents because this was their choice. I love my family but that doesn’t mean I have to spend my life trying to replicate it.

Making babies is just one of the many ways that we like to try and cheat death. By reproducing, we sort of live on. Marriage just ensures that that investment has the best chance of survival. These are the roots of these decision trees. Every other reason you have given for marriage and procreation is just a by-product.

If I’m completely honest with myself, I have no idea what the future holds. I don’t know what kind of person I’ll be so I cannot say, for certain, that I’ll be a life-long bachelor with no children but that’s precisely why I used the word “plan”. I could plan how I’m going to set my life up on mars but that doesn’t mean I will implement it.

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