We’re never the same people at the end of a day that we were at the beginning.
That’s simply just a fact of life — regardless of how uneventful your day-to-day life may seem, the little lessons and social interactions we have on a daily basis continue to fundamentally change us as people.
Given this, it’s no surprise that our opinions and views are constantly changing. The discovery of new information and experiences can cause major shifts in how we feel about things, and this is very much a natural part of life.
However, there are certain views and opinions we hold that, even if they are subject to change, deserve to be respected and not dismissed as the fleeting thoughts of a young adult.
I’m 23 years old, and I don’t ever want children.
I’m in pursuit of a dream that’ll take a long time and isn’t conducive to a traditional “family life,” and a genetic history fraught with disease and mental illness leaves me far from wanting to bud more flowers on that family tree.
I don’t want children, and every elder who discovers this feels compelled to tell me how wrong I am about my own feelings.
I’m fully aware of how this sounds, and trust me when I say that this isn’t one of those “parents just don’t understand” situations. I’m fully aware of the fact that my elders have experienced and survived more than I have.
But I don’t think that applies here, especially when it’s used as an opportunity to be dismissive of someone’s opinions based on their age.
Yes, you’ve lived through a lot, but concerning matters of family and relationships, you have to think about those experiences in the context of when you lived through them.
The nuclear family isn’t the same as it used to be. We don’t live by the same strangely restricting and vaguely sexist guidelines through which we used to define a “life fully lived.”
I’m capable of living a meaningful and valuable life, even if I never decide to create some kind of hellspawn that’ll inherit my partner’s blue eyes and my severe mental health problems.
More important than my specific lack of a desire to help make tiny people who are legally under my protection (terrible idea, by the way) is the persistence of something I call the “Yeah, for Now” Effect.
The “Yeah, for Now” Effect is a term that I’ve coined to describe the specific feeling when an elder or figure of authority invalidates your opinions on a personal matter under the assumption that the opinion will eventually change.
Here’s an example:
“Dad, I really don’t think I ever want to get married.”
“Yeah, for now.”
“Well, Dad, I mean, marriage seems like kind of an archaic institution that was originally based on exchanging property, and I’m not a particularly religious person, so that really holds no power for me. Plus, while I know the tax and legal benefits are a good incentive, the idea of a romantic commitment that’s legally binding in the same way a contract is makes me very uncomfortable.”