October 30, 2013

Kids. NaNoWriMo.

I'm on the cusp of spending the next 30 days feverishly writing. I'll also be turning 30 in those 30 days. I plan to do my best to not care about the quality of writing and just write to see what comes next. I feel pretty good that I've set aside enough time to write and as long as I keep up a good pace, everything should be fine.

The view outside of my work window looks out at the top of one of the trees. Its leaves are slowly turning more and more yellow with each passing day. It reminds me of the constant march of time, which we battle against throughout our lives. An obviously losing battle, but occasionally we have little snippets, moments where our desires and the flow of time are in sync.

Whether or not to have kids is probably the single biggest decision you can make in your life that is irreversible and will impact almost every part of your life and the lives of those around you. And yet, I get the feeling that even the people who consciously decide that they want to have kids have little to no idea of the day to day mechanics, what they're giving up, or how much work it's going to demand from them. For having done this for thousands of years, I still feel like the average adult is poorly equipped to handle the rigors of raising another human. But at the same time, completely incapable people raise children all the time.

I didn't realize this when I started this post, but in all actuality, raising kids and writing a novel have some similarities. Both are pretty enormous tasks that are incredibly daunting when looking up at them from ground level. Some people just have to get over their fear of failure and jump into it, putting their trust into the fact that they're competent enough individuals to resolve any issues that will come up. Majority of the time, you have no idea what you're getting yourself into on day 1.

It's difficult enough planning my own life without having to plan every minute detail of someone else's. But I guess when you don't have a choice, you do it.

The other thing that I realized while walking past a co-worker's monitor that was displaying a picture of her baby, was how much having a kid would remind me of the fact that I'm Asian. Sure, I look at myself in the mirror all the time, but my race and background aren't usually the first things that I think of. Honestly, I don't think about it at all but that's not to say that it's not important to me.

Mainly, the one thing that I cannot get over right now is how much commitment a child takes. I'm more than likely suffering from some adverseness to commitment at the moment, which makes the idea that I'd be tied to the child for the rest of my life (and likely also to the father and all the other family members that have a vested interest in the child), an incredibly claustrophobic and frightening burden that I have no intention of putting on.

Could I see a future where I'm raising a child? For sure. And I'm sure I'd be pretty good at it, both because I'm a competent, smart individual, and also out of necessity. But I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be a Type A Mom, who hand sews Halloween costumes, always has something fun and educational planned for outings, cooks balanced, delicious meals that no one complains about, and has the time and energy to answer ALL the questions.

The real question is, how do I feel about the needs and wants of other people dictating how I live my life? Other people are important to me. I know I don't live in a vacuum, and nor would I want to. Connecting with people and building memories are huge motivators in how I choose to spend my time. And when dealing with other people, I know that compromises have to be made. No one is going to want exactly the same things that I want.

So how will I know if I'm compromising too much?

I don't know if I have the luxury of saying, I'll just wait a bit, see how I feel in a few years. I've already done that. I'm really no closer to a concrete answer. Time marches on, and with it, the choices or non-choices we make. I guess the best that I can do is to make sure that I'm at least aware.