The Seasonless Comforts of the Childfree Life
It’s mid-February, folks, and this was the starting point for yesterday’s jog:
Pretty ridiculous, eh? And at the risk of sounding like Adam Carolla, I’m going to go ahead and complain about it. The weather out here in California is about as close to perfect as a person could ask for. But every now and then, I find myself craving a Midwest winter morning so stark and white and quiet you can actually see your thoughts in the snow. A rainy day that makes curling up with a good book the obvious choice instead of the lazy one. An autumn afternoon of stomping on crunchy leaves that you’re obviously too old to be stomping on. A hot-as-hell night that allows you to wear inappropriately small tank tops to the bar without lugging a jacket or cardigan to protect against the 24/7/365 ocean breeze.
Adam Duritz, lead singer for the Counting Crows and fellow Californian, put it best in “Amy Hit the Atmosphere” when he said:
If I could make it rain today,
And wash away this sunny day,
Down to the gutter,
Just to get a change of pace
My life, in general, seems a little like California to me. I’m madly in love with my husband and my cats (in no particular order…). We have a nice condo. We throw parties. We go on ski trips with our friends. We have our hobbies (his: golfing and playing Careless Whisper on the piano until our upstairs neighbors bang on the floor; mine: writing and bacon-egg-and-cheese-biscuit connoisseuring). We visit family. We travel. We eat nice dinners out at places where the waiters make fun of our pronounciation. It’s all great, all the time.
But it’s all sort of…the same. From week to week. Year to year. And if we don’t wind up having kids, it’s sort of going to be the same for the rest of our lives. There’ll no doubt be big changes at some point – new jobs, a new house, tragic haircuts – but these are things that hopefully only happen once a decade, or less. The little changes – picking up a new hobby, new friend, new restaurant, new travel destination – will be more frequent, but will any of those really make life feel all that different?
Probably not. But why should that matter? Why would I want to shake things up? To mess with a good thing? To be unable to leave well enough alone? To wish for the first snowstorm in LA since 1962?
I’m afraid I’m romanticizing my time in the Midwest. I’ve forgotten all the days I scraped ice from my windshield with an old CD, days when pathetic tears of misery froze to my cheeks in a sub-zero windchill walk across campus. Days where I would’ve given anything for the idyllic monotony of a year of California sunshine.
Would I be saying the same thing about my blissfully stable Childfree years if I traded them in for the wild ups and downs of parenthood?