Because I Don’t Have Kids

Sydney Mint

Sydney Mint

I suspect it’s because I don’t have kids that I can lead the lifestyle that I do. Sometimes I’m incredibly busy; other times I’m incredibly lazy. I suspect that if I had kids I would need to lead a more regular, more ordered lifestyle which may or may not be a good thing.

This thought occurred to me earlier tonight at Grumpy Old Women at the Capitol Theatre, the stage show based on the BBC television series of the same name. In their midst of their very funny “schtich” about getting older, menopause, having sex and so on, their were a couple of genuinely tender moments, as they reflected on their fears of death and the joy that came from children. “I worry about dying and leaving my children behind”, Linda Robson said, “Because no one will ever genuinely love them as much as I do”.

Of course, you may recall that I met Linda Robson last Friday night at the Crystal Palace Hotel. On a whim, a colleague and I went to the pub on Friday night, only to have Linda sit down next to us. I instantly recognised Linda because she played Tracey on the BBC series, Birds Of A Feather, and after a polite enough interlude I asked her for a photograph. She was sitting there with her daughter, I suspect, and her grand-kids, and, as granny, she was for a moment anxious to make sure the grandkids could happily and legally sit outside the bar, asking me if it was okay. “Sure” I said, totally unaware if it was or not.

Of course, that wasn’t an issue for Martin and I. We just sat down and did it. We didn’t have to think about it. We didn’t have to plan. We just did. It’s been pretty much the same over the last week.

Last Thursday night, for example, I left work at a time that suited (I have a healthy work ethic and do more than my my fair share of hours) to head off to the Sydney Mint, for the launch of this year’s Writer’s Festival. Having arrived right on time, maybe a little early, I found myself a little “Nigel No-friends” for a while. There was a speedy resolution as two older women (no, not Grumpy Old Women), both with an interest in writing and history, brefriended me. We chatted about history, politics, the media, and numerous other topics ahead of the official launch. The only thing they were grumpy about, by the way, was the Howard Government, and “we voted for him” (they told me).

But yes, like much in my life, it was something I could do without having to think too much about others.

The same was true on Saturday night when I caught up with Mark who has just moved back to Sydney. “Feel like a beer?”, he said. No consultation, no one else to tell, no baby-sitters to organise. It will be the same catching up with some other bloggers next week at The Sydney Weblogger April Meetup. Just make a commitment to myself to go and do it.

Even tonight, on the way out of work, on a whim I asked Miss Andrea if she’d like to join me for a meal in Chinatown, ahead of going to see “Grumpy Old Women”. Although she’d already made plans, they were quickly modified and we had an enjoyable meal at BBQ King.

Tonight’s show, by the way, was great fun. With many memorable moments of “observational comedy” (which I normally don’t like). Most memorable was the Jenny Eclair monologue, when she related the embarrassment of farting during a massage, and then wanting to giggle so much she was afraid she’d wet herself as well. Also memorable was the monologue about how life for “women of a certain age” is full of various bags.

And then afterwards, I came home to surf the net and watch television and so on. And it occurred to me, ahead of writing this blog, this freedom comes from not having children. Of course, when I was in a relationship a few years ago I had to think about someone else. No, I didn’t HAVE to think about someone else, I WANTED to think about someone else.

But now I can be as spontaneous as I want to be. For example, I can spend Good Friday doing absolutely nothing except watching television. I can make those decisions to go out to dinner on a whim.

And does it make me happy or unhappy? Well, I suspect you’re thinking I’m gonna say no, and how I really want kids, and I really want a family and a relationship… and my life is empty without those things. But I don’t actually think it is. I mean, I wouldn’t mind a relationship.

But it’s also quite okay to live alone, to be spontaneous, to do things on a whim etc. Maybe when I’m 10 years older I’ll regret this feeling, that I haven’t made those “relationship plans” for the future, and I suppose if that occurs I’ll be able to look back on the folly of my forties with regret. But at the moment, it’s okay that I don’t have kids.

P.S. On Monday I had amusing moment when I received a work-related phone call from blogger, Harley. “Oh hello”, I said, recognising his name, “I know you, I read your blog”. Hehheheheh, he laughed in recognition. “I don’t know why I came through to you”. “Because I’m the boss”, I joked. “You haven’t been blogging much lately”, I told him. It was rather amusing to hear a real live voice on the phone from someone who I was partially convinced did not actually exist in “real life”. But yes, he does exist, dear reader, but his voice wasn’t as I imagined it might be.

  1. What was his voice like then? Please don’t leave us wondering like this… I’ve missed reading him.

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  2. I couldn’t possibly say…

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  3. Perhaps you’ll think I’m just a grumpy old man, but actually James I have lots of friends…!

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  4. Hehehehe Nigel. Nice to meet you.

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  5. June Margaret Love June 24, 2008 at 22:34

    Hi James

    “On Having Kids” – and this is a ‘dinner-party story’ told over and over, and it goes like this.

    When Mia Farrow had twins to Andre Previn, a reporter asked her:-

    “And Miss Farrow, how many children would you like to have”?

    To which she replied:

    “I’d like to have 40 beautiful children to 40 beautiful men”

    From me: O-o-o-h-h-h Why didn’t someone tell me that when I was 14 years old!

    Think about it James – Everyone contributes, and largely, no-one carries too much responsibility!

    Oh – and yes, an inciteful piece of writing, James – More please.

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