Today is my parent’s forty-third wedding anniversary. (Yes, if you look that up, my parents were married on Friday the 13th. And yes, this is five months before I was born.) And in considering this, I realised a number of things.
Mainly that I’m never going to have one of those.
There’s all kinds of stuff that, at this point in my life, is almost certainly never going to happen. I’m never going to get married again, because honestly there’s just no point to it – from my perspective, marriage is for family and children, but I’m rapidly approaching “too old for more kids” at which point marriage becomes completely irrelevant.
The “too old for more kids” isn’t because of capability. Hell, guys in their seventies are capable. But I do not want to be raising teenagers when I’m over 65, which means I have to have had all my children before I’m 46. Which, in turn, means they all need to be conceived by February of 2015.
This is where my personal morals and beliefs come into play. I don’t believe in having children out of wedlock, and I don’t believe in getting married without at least a year of engagement, and I don’t believe in getting engaged less than a year into the relationship. Which is a simple matter of mathematics: I would need to be married by the end of 2015, which in turn means being engaged by the end of 2013, which means I need to be in a serious relationship by the end of this year.
Which means I have six months to meet the mother of my last child.
And if she wants more than one, I have to have already met her. That’s basically Heather Bierlink – she’s the only woman on the planet with whom I could conceivably (no pun intended) have two children. If we get married within the next six months, which is simply not happening.
So I will have at most one more child. And I currently know a grand total of three women who might conceivably be in the running to have that child. No, I’m not saying who they are, except that one of them is Heather. And two of those three want more than one child, which leaves exactly one serious possibility… and anyone new I might happen to meet in the next six months.
But after that, I’m just plain done having kids. And if I’m done having kids, it’s pointless to get married.
It also means I’ll never have a daughter. Well, unless one of my existing kids goes M-F transgender, but that’s an extremely personal decision that should certainly never be made because your dad always wanted a daughter. It’s not the same thing, anyway; I don’t want to “have a daughter” so much as to “raise a little girl,” which leaves fostering and adoption and single mothers in the running, but only for a three-year window – following which that door closes forever and the ship has sailed.
In addition, this means it’s pointless to get civilly divorced, but at some point in my life I’ll probably meet someone who doesn’t want to be in a serious relationship with a married man for one reason or another. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it; for the moment, it’s convenient in a legal sense to remain married until Logan and Conor are in their teens… just in case, God forbid, something drastic should happen. Drastic things do happen, after all, and they’re difficult enough for all concerned without also involving a massive battle over custody and guardianship. So long as their mother and I remain married, there’s no battle to be had if a situation arises – the kids go to dad, end of story.
There’s also the very real perception in the tech industry that an engineer looking for a job in his forties is probably incompetent or obsolete, if not both. So my twenty-year career in software development is basically worth jack shit.
More or less the same way my fourteen years of building a family to the exclusion of everything else is worth fuck all at this point.
This isn’t some weepy whinging post about how awful things are. They are what they are. And if you’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, sitting there in your early twenties with the world at your feet… look, reality is what it is. You think you’ve got time. You think what you’re doing now will last forever. But at my age, when you’re rapidly coming up on the part where more of your life is behind you than there is ahead of you, that present-focus lifestyle where you think what you have is what you’ll always have… well, you start to realise just what a crock of shit that was.
Understand your past, present, and future. Everything I am and everything I do needs to change now, because my life is not what I imagined it was going to be. Understand your past, so you grasp what has changed and why. Understand your present, so you grasp what needs to be changed in response. And understand your future, so you grasp how it needs to change.
The first forty years of my life was primarily about fitting in. Fitting into an industry, a career path, a family, a lifestyle. And in the end, what I fit into did not serve me well or get me where I was headed. I compromised my plans and my desires for the good of others, and when it came time for those others to return the favour, they effectively told me to piss off because it was inconvenient to keep their promises and honour their commitments.
That was a bad investment. I won’t make one like it again.