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Posts Tagged ‘children’


I love how kids will say whatever is on their mind, ever so innocently…

Last month I had the pleasure of visiting my brother and my 6-year-old twin nieces. At 6 years old, they are always a bundle of vibrant energy, fun… and unexpected surprises. One day, while helping the girls with their morning routine, one of the girls looked at me and said, “Aunt Jeannie, how come you don’t have a baby?”

In an instant my mind raced with all of the possible responses, searching for the most appropriate one for their innocent ears. I replied, “Well, because I haven’t yet met the right man to marry.” I can’t quite remember exactly how the conversation ensued from there, but I believe their next question was something to the effect of why I didn’t have a boyfriend. In this moment frozen in time, I was immediately reminded of so many of their kids’ movies, where the princess has to be saved by the prince, where finding her true love is always the objective, where getting married and riding off into the sunset is always the outcome; and I realized how many societal messages we are bombarded with from the time we are small children. And it occurred to me that I was being granted a very powerful teaching moment.

I then went on to explain to the girls that I didn’t have a boyfriend, and that it is ok to not have a boyfriend, that it is ok to be single. I think this was the first time that they came to understand the word “single.” I explained to them that I choose to be single because I hadn’t yet met the right man to date, and that I will very happily remain single until I do find the right match. And then they so nicely informed me, “But Aunt Jeannie, you are the only one who doesn’t have a boyfriend.” Oh bless their little innocent hearts.

I then proceeded to list for them all of daddy’s friends who are “single,” the “aunts” and “uncles” who fill their lives on a regular basis, people about whom it never occurred to them to wonder their relationship status, or what that even means. After finishing the laundry list of singletons that surround their lives, I then said what I think was the most important lesson I could teach them, “We don’t have to get married. We can choose to get married or we can choose to be single. We can be anything we want in this life. But the most important thing is to be happy. I am single and I am very happy.”

As the day went on, I reflected on what a powerful moment this was for me with my nieces, and what an opportunity I have to be a positive influence in their lives: a role model to show them that they can do and be anything that they want in this life, that they do not have to settle for anything less than what they deserve, and that they do not have to follow the societal blue-print. I hope to teach them, by example, that they can forge their own paths, that they can take their own risks, that they can be bold, strong and brave, and that they can find their own life’s purpose on this Earth.

Photo by Flickr user reemer.

I then began to think about all of the people I see around me who are in unhappy relationships: people who are stuck in the societal mold and are scared to break out of it, people who are terrified to be alone. And I thought about the happy couples who are few and far between: those couples that you just look at and say “Yes! Those two are so in love!,” the couples who just exude peace and happiness, and who truly complement one another like yin and yang. And I was reminded once again that one should never settle for less than that and of how much better it is to be happily single than to be unhappily married or in a relationship with the wrong person.

I thought about all of my “happily single” friends, the empowered and independent men and women who have had so many adventures and who have done so many incredible things with their careers and their lives. And I hoped for my nieces that they would never end up in the situation of an unhappy relationship, that they would be brave enough to be alone and strong enough to wait for the right man, or if they preferred, that they would choose to be “happily single.”

Later on in the week, out of the blue, one of my nieces stood up proudly and declared, “When I grow up, I want to be single!” I smiled from ear to ear as I chucked to myself. I knew that I had planted a good seed: a seed of an independent, empowered woman who doesn’t have to be anything that society dictates; a seed of an innocent girl who will grow up to be a strong and beautiful woman who can choose to lead any kind of life that she wants.

Photo by Flickr user Chema Escarcega.

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Our society largely teaches us that if we hope to find happiness, we must have a myriad of very specific things, among them: romantic love, marriage, children and a stable, high-paying career. I have none of these things, and yet I am living more fully than I have ever lived before. Only one month into 2012 and I can already see that my 37th year is gearing up to be the best of my life. And I am yet again reminded that if we are open, if we pay attention to the signs, if we listen to our instincts and trust, we can create and experience nothing short of magic in our lives.

One year ago today, shortly after being fired for the first time in my life, I reflected on the idea of the “life plan,” the idea that there are certain milestones towards which we are “supposed” to work and specific benchmarks by which we measure our success in achieving said milestones. And I am now able to see that it wasn’t until I rejected those measurements, and let go of any idea of the life I had planned, that I began to see the true magic unfold in my life. It was truly by surrendering that my life began to flow with the current.

Today I turn 37 years old and I stand in awe of the life that has manifested before me. It is not a life I ever could have dreamed of or imagined. It is, in fact, the farthest thing from any picture I ever could have painted for myself. Nor is it a life that any of my friends or family ever would have predicted for me. Yet I look back in wonder and amazement at the incredible journey, the unexpected twists and turns, the surprising detours and the life-altering and mind-blowing experiences that have delivered me to this very place in time and space.

Simultaneously, I am mesmerized by how much has happened, by how quickly the years have passed, a blip on the dashboard of universal time. And I find myself sounding like my father when I say, “I never thought I’d get to be {insert age}!” Just the other day I expressed this same thought to a friend of mine, who very wisely responded, “You’ve earned your 37 and you have to admit it is probably better then 17 or 27 for that matter.” As I pondered this, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the veritable accuracy and poignancy of that statement. I looked back on my life at those ages and this is what I realized: 17 was the year of my first broken heart; 27 was the year of my second broken heart…So what of 37?… 37 is the year of my LIBERATED HEART.

For much of the two decades between my tender 17-year old adolescent self and my now 37-year older and wiser self, I have been through the wringer of broken hearts, time and again left dripping helplessly into the floor. I have touched every range of emotion and their deep and often painful polar opposites. I have lived, breathed and tasted them. And I have drowned in them. I have looked for love and happiness in all of the wrong places, and I have fought tooth and nail for loves that left me broken and wrung out. And in the process I have seen the inner fibers of my heart carved out, leaving me with gaping holes of emptiness.

Whatever remnants of an intact heart were left after the first two broken hearts, were finally completely shattered by the third (and hopefully last!). But though I did not realize it at that time, it was that utter smashing of my heart that would actually be the key to cracking me wide open. I saw a beautiful quote the other day:

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”~ Rumi

The day that my heart was shattered into smithereens, was the day that my true healing could really begin. Since that time, I have dived more deeply into my soul than I ever dared dream possible. I have touched the source of the divine within me, the deep well of wisdom and knowing, and I have connected with the celestial forces all around me, above and beneath me. I have drunk, tasted and touched the pure light of love. I have found Bliss.

So yes, it is true: I have no romantic love. I have no marriage or children. And I don’t have a stable, high-paying career. But I lack nothing. I have found true happiness in myself, with myself and by myself.

On that note, age 36, I bid thee a loving farewell. You have been a true and trusted friend on the journey to the heart, you have been the gateway to my liberation. I will always look back on you with reverence as the year that changed everything and I will carry you with me as I walk forward into what I know will be one of the most powerful and transformational years of my life.

Hello age 37. I welcome you with open arms and a fully intact heart.

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All of my life I knew that I wanted children. It was just something that I had never questioned. I often felt badly for the friends who were confused and unsure, but I could never understand how they could not know. I was so sure. Like my own family, I hoped to have 2 boys and a girl.

They say that women have a biological clock and that one day it will start ticking. Well, I learned that for myself when I was 27 years old. Several of my colleagues began having children and bringing them into the office and I just couldn’t get enough of them. Of course I was recently broken up from a long-term relationship, so I knew it wasn’t coming for me anytime soon. But I was still young, I wasn’t worried.

The years passed and I found myself living in a different city, a grad-school drop-out and still no children. Instead I was busy working in the start-up world. I was distracted and life was taking me in a different direction for now. I still wasn’t worried. I knew that I had time.

When I was in my early 30’s, the man that I loved said to me “You will be so adorable pregnant.” I felt certain that it would be with him, and I would daydream about our lives together as parents with our children. But the Universe had other ideas.

When my nieces and then my nephew were born, also in my early 30’s, I was overwhelmed with love for these little beings. In awe of the fact that they shared my DNA, I loved them like they were my own. As my brothers can attest, I showered them with love and affection at every possible opportunity. I loved being an auntie, and I knew from my experience with them that I would make a great Mom…but this further fueled the fire of own maternal yearnings. I was overflowing with love, but I wanted my own children on whom to shower that love.

But then I was 34. And then 35. Then 2 cities later and still single… and without any prospects on the horizon. Although everyone kept telling me I had time and that I was sure to meet someone, I knew in my heart that it may not happen. I had to prepare myself for the possibility that I had missed my opportunity, that I may never have children. Now I know that if I really wanted to I could get a sperm donor and have a child on my own, but that has never felt like the right choice for me. For one I can’t afford it, but secondly with the number of hungry mouths already on this Earth, it just never felt right to me to bring another child into this world under those circumstances. Instead, I have always had the backup plan that if I were still single at 40, I would simply adopt.

Now I am 36. And each year that passes, the reality that I may not have children becomes more and more real to me. And I have cried, believe me I have cried. Furious tears. I have been angry and bitter, envious of the friends who have children, pissed at a cruel Universe for taking my dream away from me, and broken by and resentful of the men who left me single. Why was this happening to me? It had been my dream to have children. How could I possibly find myself in this situation?

Well, time changes all things. Although at one time heart-breaking, I have had to come to grips with the idea that I may not have children in my future. And while I have wrestled that idea to the ground over and over again, in the end we have called a truce. I can no longer go on fighting. And as I sit here with the most adoring kitty on my lap, purring up at me, and with a second lovable kitty on the couch behind me, paw on my shoulder, I have to laugh. I always wanted children. I guess I just didn’t specify to the Universe that I did not mean the furry kind.

So where am I at now in my thinking? I am perfectly content with where I am. Through an unexpected twist of fate, life appears to be taking me in a different direction. And I can honestly say that I have completely let go of the need and the desire to have children…I have released the dream. And more importantly I have surrendered myself to the higher plans of the Universe. While I know that there is still a possibility that I could have my own children, and certainly that I can adopt, I am no longer concerned with either. I know that the Universe has a plan for me, and whether that plan includes children or not, no longer matters. Whatever the plan will be, I am filled with nothing but excitement and anticipation to watch it unfold.

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