Take a look below at five typical gifts of childfree people. Which ones resonate? How can you make the most of them so your life will be as satisfying as possible?
Whether you have been childfree for a few years, have recently made the childfree choice, or are leaning toward childfree but undecided, here is your chance to take stock, play with possibilities and start something new.
Courage. It took courage to decide to be childfree in the face of social pressure, or if childfree by circumstance, you found the courage to embrace a life you had not chosen.
Can you draw on that courage to do something else that scares you? Would you like to learn horseback riding, venture to another continent, start a novel or a business? Ask a partner, friend, or life coach to help you plan the logistics, boost your courage, and quell your fears. You might take a yoga class or listen to a visualization recording to create more calm and confidence.
Being a Maverick. When you chose to be childfree, or wound up childfree, you had to think outside the box. You probably take pride in other ways you think or live differently, such as playing devil’s advocate with friends or challenging the status quo at work. Is there a new way to use this skill? You might mentor people who have only recently decided to be childfree and would welcome you as a role model. Do you want to challenge current thinking about childfree living, the environment or human rights? Share your original thinking by writing opinion pieces. Or maybe you would enjoy encouraging people in your profession to think creatively or take more risks.
Making your love relationship a high priority. You and your partner may have decided to be childfree because your relationship was so close that you chose not to disrupt it by having a child. Are you still as close, loving, and attentive to each other now as you were then? Or, like so many couples in these fast-paced times, do you find yourselves in separate parts of the house, doing separate activities? Is sex less frequent as you work longer hours, and fight exhaustion or other obligations?
How about going away for a weekend, with no goals other than having fun? Or plan a longer getaway in the near future.
While going away can be great for your relationship, paying attention to life at home is crucial, too. During a cozy dinner at home, or relaxing by the fireplace, brainstorm ways to spend more time together. If your sleep schedules don’t match due to your biological clocks and work schedules, brainstorm ways of hanging out occasionally for cuddling, sex, and sleep. If you seem stuck in old patterns or you are not comfortable with closeness, consider a few sessions of couples’ therapy or a couple enrichment workshop.
Fierce commitment to volunteer work or social activism. Maybe when you made your childfree decision, you were doing volunteer work that excited you. You took pride in making a difference. But a tougher work schedule may have resulted in your pulling back. Or if you’ve been doing the exact same volunteer work for the same organization for a number of years, you may not be as enthusiastic about it as you used to be.
Is there an issue that excites you that you would like to do something about? You can start researching organizations without making a commitment. If you’re worried about being overcommitted, remember you can try out a commitment, limiting hours per week and number of weeks until you have a sense of whether you’ve found a good match for your talents. You can also try more than one organization, or more than one job in the same organization. Talk to current volunteers and volunteer coordinators to learn what it’s like to work there.
Interest in creative ways of having kids or younger people in your life while enjoying the rewards of being childfree. Maybe your nieces who used to give you your child fix have grown up, or moved away. Perhaps those fresh-eyed interns you used to mentor at work are now mentoring even younger newbies.
Some childfree people feel no need to interact with young people, and that’s fine. But if such involvement felt great in the past, consider making new connections through social contacts, child-family organizations, or mentoring programs.
Which of the five factors resonated with you, stirred your energy? Choose one to focus on and figure out your next steps, brainstorming, researching, getting feedback from friends, family, a life coach. Give yourself the freedom to experiment without committing, and to make mistakes along the way.
Let’s keep talking. How are you using these five factors to re-energize?
NOTE: This post is adapted from a post by Merle Bombardieri that appeared on the Not-Mom blog as a post called, “Five Strengths of Childfree Adults Can Make 2017 A Joyous New Year.”