I’m in My 40s, Child-Free and Happy. Why Won’t Anyone Believe Me? By Glynnis MacNicol
As to this editorial below – I for one never cared much if I had children or not. I just wanted to be married.
So I am more than a little puzzled or annoyed by societal attitudes that assume I am pitiable because I don’t have children, or that I must not know my own preferences or my own mind.
Since I turned 40 I’ve encountered disbelief that I could possibly be enjoying my own life. But then there’s the other unexpected gift of this age: just how little concern I have for others’ opinions.
By Glynnis MacNicol
July 5, 2018
A few months before my 42nd birthday, I was out to dinner with friends and found myself seated next to a well-known older male writer.
I happened to be in the final stages of finishing a proposal for a memoir about being a single woman over 40 without children, and was inwardly marveling at the timing of our encounter. I was a fan of his. Perhaps he might offer some wisdom? Words of encouragement?
As drinks were delivered I sketched the outline of the story: No one had prepared me for how exhilarating life could be on my own. I was traveling all the time, doing what I wanted, when I wanted, released from the fear of the clock that had dogged me through my 30s.
Conversely, no one had warned me of the ways in which it would actually be difficult; my mother had been very ill, for instance, and part of the book was about caring for her.
No sooner had I finished than the famous writer placed his glass firmly on the white tablecloth, leaned back and declared: “Glynnis MacNicol, you have a terrible life!”
….I again faced a dilemma I’d been struggling with since turning 40: how to counter other people’s disbelief that I, single and child-free, could possibly be enjoying my own life.