Don’t Tell Young People They’ll “Change Their Mind” About Life Choices

“I’m pretty sure I don’t want to have children.”

*GASP OF INDIGNATION* “BUT CHILDREN ARE PRECIOUS ANGELS SENT FROM ABOVE! WHY WOULD SOMEONE OF CHILD BEARING AGE EVER THINK THEY DON’T WANT PRECIOUS ANGELS???”

“I just don’t want to have any.”

“Oh come now dear, it’s worth it! You’ll change your mind when you get older.”

Pretty sure I know several people in their thirties who haven’t changed their minds yet but please, continue to make my life choices for me.

I am not vehemently opposed to having children in the future but I’m also not all for it. But right now, I know I SHOULDN’T have children. I’m 22 years old and for some reason, people feel like that gives them the right to decide that I’m wrong about choices I’m making for the rest of my life when barely four years ago I was thrown into adulthood and told I had to start making choices for the rest of my life. Now that I’m “of marrying age” and “childbearing age” I’m expected to get married, settle down, and have children sometime soon.

Happily, my parents do not do this to me so I only deal with it when I’m not at home. My parents are far more concerned that their children are financially stable and healthy rather than pushing out grand-babies and adding in-laws to the Christmas shopping (Side note: My parents love my brother and sisters in law very much! They are zero hassle and 100% part of the family!).

So I’m asked about future children and family plans and marriage and it’s annoying because if I share my actual thoughts then I’m wrong. Not just me though, my younger sister has decided she’s not interested in having children (she’s 19) and she was told by a 13 year old girl that she was crazy.

It’s not even just talking about children. It’s about boyfriends, future husbands, what profession I’ve chosen, how I’m spending my time, when is the rest of my life, etc.

Okay so here you go:

  1. Not interested in boyfriends right now (so no future husbands)
  2. I KNOW THE PROFESSION I CHOSE IS DIFFICULT TO GET INTO AND I KNOW IT TAKES TIME TO BUILD A BASE OF READERS STOP TELLING ME THIS AS IF I DIDN’T SPEND FOUR YEARS FIGURING OUT WHAT I WANT TO DO
  3. How I spend my time on a daily basis is my business, not yours. I know you’re curious and you ask because you sincerely want to know but don’t condescend if YOU think I’m wasting my time.
  4. The rest of my life is here and now. If you haven’t noticed, point B from birth is death, and I’m going to get there the best way I can, trusting God and following Him. My time is not being wasted because I haven’t made a 50 year plan yet.

The problem is not asking a 20-something human being what they’re doing with their life, the problem is acting like whatever they say is either unrealistic or stupid. If a 20-something tells you that their plan is to spend the next 3 years in Asia feeding homeless people then that’s a great plan. If their plan is to spend the next 3 years building a video gaming Youtube channel to try to break into professional gaming, that’s a great plan too. And if they have no plan, don’t suggest one unless you REALLY believe it fits their personality and life (it probably won’t so maybe ask about that plan before you decide that it’s stupid). So if I say I want to live off my writing and am working on building readers, don’t ask when I’m going to “get a real job” because you don’t think that writing will pay the bills.

If you care, ask. At the same time, don’t tell me I’m wrong just because you think I could or should be doing something else with my life. It’s not wrong to decide in your 20s that you don’t want children. I’ve thought very hard about my reasoning behind my choices. I know myself and I know I’m not suited to raise a child right now. I know myself and I know I’m not ready to enter a romantic relationship right now. Maybe I’ll be ready in a few years, maybe I’ll never be ready for these things. That’s my decision, not yours. Just because you think your children are the best decision you ever made, doesn’t mean they would be the best decision for me. Just because your marriage is wonderful and fantastic, doesn’t mean marriage is the best thing for every person on the planet.

Consider this post a PSA to everyone who knows a 20-something millenial: feel free to ask about our lives but analyze your own motives before you criticize our decisions. Is it really about helping us make better decisions? Or is it about us doing what YOU would do in our situation?

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6 thoughts on “Don’t Tell Young People They’ll “Change Their Mind” About Life Choices

  1. While I understand the point you are coming from and how every person unintentionally pushes their own perspectives on others, is there not something to be said for wisdom?

    You are telling people that just because they have an opinion or idea about something, it does not mean it should necessarily apply to you. However, what are the benefits of age and wisdom if not to share with those who could also benefit from learning what you had to learn the hard way. You say they are condescending, but in my experience, the majority of people who complain about condescension simply do not like what they are hearing and do not accept that just because something is coming from a source with higher or different status or place in life, it does not mean they are treading on top of you to make themselves feel better. Perhaps the elder made a similar mistake, or knows of someone who did, and they want to assist you in seeing a different point of view before you make a decision that affects the rest of your life.

    Again and again I hear “Millenials” claim how different they are from everyone else and need to be treated differently, but this is not a “Millenial Thing”, it is just something that every young person goes through as they struggle to find their place amongst the other adults in their life, many of them who have grown accustomed to teaching and helping you through the previous twenty years of your life and may have trouble letting go of the person they have helped care for and raise. I hear time and time again of people, shortly after become the 18 year old “legal adult”, butting heads with their parents and these other caretakers (for lack of a better term) as they decide to go out into the world and make their own decisions. Unfortunately it seems that with this decision, young people decide that making your own decision means ignoring and rejecting any contradictory advice or opinion from anyone older than themselves. The Bible says to respect and listen to one’s elders, this is said for the sake of wisdom. Why would a gift such as wisdom be given if not to be shared with others who will need it. Wisdom is exactly like every other gift from God to humanity, it is meant to be received, used, then given again. Why are we attacking those who are just trying to offer a viewpoint you may not see, just because you differ from them. Each person is not so different from others as they would like to believe, we are all put on the same Earth together, made by the same Creator, and created to interact with one another and God, why would we all be created so different from one another that something like age would have the power to make everyone not even understand one another’s pain, and assist?

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I appreciate how well thought out this is and I actually agree with you on so many points!
      Let me start by saying that, because I try to keep my posts between 600 and 1000 words long, I cannot address every aspect of a topic at once. I wish I could but it would end up being far too long, even for my own tastes.
      I absolutely agree that wisdom that comes with age is important and that I, as a young person, should pay attention to and respect the teachings of my elders. I think that the problem and disconnect happen when the elder is sharing a very narrow opinion and making it sound like fact or that it’s really the only way to live life. Specifically the decision to have or not have children and to marry or not marry are often spouted as gospel whichever way the person thinks is right. Wisdom is learned lessons and the ability to figure out situations based on past experience. The choices I talk about in my post, children, marriage, and vocation, are not based on an elder’s past experience. I rarely hear from those older than me things like, “I really appreciated knowing this helpful trick when memorizing data tables. Maybe it would help you with your computer programming if you’d like to know it” or “Sometimes you have to let go of a person who’s hurting you. I’ve been in some toxic relationships and I don’t want you to get stuck like I did. Get rid of this person right now.” Instead I hear “Oh, so when are you going to get a real job?” and “I used to think I didn’t want kids too but you’ll change your mind when you find the right man!” The first two are bits of wisdom and life advice that don’t condescend or contradict my own life choices. The second two are purely opinion based, they condescend and make it sound like my choices are not valid because the person doesn’t think I’m making a good decision.
      Each person has indeed been made unique in God’s image though we are not as different as we’d like to think. Young people rebel, yes. Wisdom should be shared, yes. Wisdom. Not always opinion. We should look to our elders for wisdom and knowledge but our elders should not look at us as if we know nothing because we’re young.
      Thank you again for your comment! I can see that you’ve put a lot of thought into your response and I respect your opinion and appreciate your readership!

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