We live in a society where life follows a certain pattern that has us chasing after success defined by fame and fortune and all the “perks” that come with it. We are made to believe that this is the key to happiness and feeling fulfilled. But if that is really the case, why are there so many successful people who are still unhappy, get depressed, or worse, end up taking their own lives? Doesn’t this make you wonder, “Is that really the kind of life that we’re meant to live?”
My whole life, I tried very hard to follow the template that society made for many of us—get a degree, get a job, build a career, get married, start a family. I tried to stay on the mainstream—color within the lines—but “failed” in some cases. These “failures” are the areas in my life that get the sometimes-quizzical- sometimes-pitying-but-most-of-the-time-judgmental look from others.
I sat in a taxi once where the driver spent the whole ride lecturing me when my reply to his question, “Do you have kids?” was “No.” For almost an hour, he made it clear to me why deciding not to have kids is wrong. “You have to have kids. It’s the right thing to do.” The truth—which I was not about to share with this middle-aged man driving me home—is that I did choose to have a child once in my life. But life didn’t turn out the way I planned. Her father and I split up and went on our separate ways thousands of miles from each other. I made the painful decision that she will have a better life with him than me. For that, I got criticized, judged, and condemned. People threw stones at me until I was bloody and almost lifeless. And the meanest, cruelest of them all was me. And yet there I was at the back of a cab with a total stranger telling me why I should have kids. Preach.