Hmmmm, I never did that. I skipped it somehow.
I had some chances. I lived with some beautiful women in my twenties, thirties and forties. I dated quite a few. I had sexual intercourse - the thing you do to make babies - with even more.
But no babies appeared.
Relationships came out of nowhere and dissolved just as mysteriously. Some only weeks, others for years. I did get married once. In my twenties, but I knew that one was not right for me. I wanted out even before I tied the knot. (It's a long story.) I am glad that I got to experience being married, but ultimately, I am glad that I did not make kids that time.
If I had had some with some of the others - you know - if it had happened that way, well, I think I would've been cool with it. Embraced it. Some of my girlfriends were very lovely, special women. And they went on to have children with subsequent partners.
Some of them, I don't know what happened. They are from other countries and I haven't seen or heard from them in decades. They are from Sweden, the US, New Zealand, Italy and Japan. I broke up with some of them but with some we were separated by continents and just drifted apart. To be honest, I can't even remember the family name of some of them. But I will never forget their beautiful personalities, their spirits, our times together. Sitting here now, in some ways I lament our separation. There are probably three or four women that if they appeared here, right now, in front of me, and they wanted to be together again - right now - I imagine I would. But life doesn't work like that. Have you noticed?
So, I see families and I ask myself. Would you rather be in that situation? A father, a husband? I think about it. Mostly, the answer is no.
No, I am happy here. Happy to be single. To be free. To be unattached. If it was the other way round, I would be happy, too. But this is the way it is. I'm fifty six. It's unlikely that I will be making a family henceforth. And I'm cool with it. I really don't like being hemmed in. I like as little responsibility as possible. I don't respond well to demand made upon my time or my person. I don't like drama, uneasy compromise. I can handle it for a while but eventually it wears me down.
I've got a way of living and it suits me. I've become accustomed to being alone. I like not having attachments. I can do as I wish. Once in a while, very rarely, I will feel a little lonely but it's not for long and it's not with regrets. Emotionally, I am self sufficient. I know myself through introspection and deep reflection, through blood and guts, down in the dirt interaction with life. The link between me and my creativity is sinewy and powerful. I am at home in an immense imagination, a unique and multi flavoured relationship with the metaphysical and it's quirky and mesmerizing relationship with the actual.
I've been in relationships and I know how it is. It can be great but the price you pay for the upside is quite high, too high for me. Too much has to be given up, too much of the stuff that I savour - independence, spontaneity, irregular hours, long periods of focused pursuit of my art forms - have to be foresaken. I don't think it would be fair to deny a partner or children my attention to the degree I would have to in order to be as devoted and productive as I currently am with my creative endeavors with which I am fully engaged. Every day. And night. For many hours. Time undefined, uninterrupted.
Nah. Things are as they should be.
Don't get me wrong. I love children. Really, really love them and know how absolutely delightful, how wonderful they are. The best thing in the world. But I have my godsons and I have been lucky enough to be closely involved with their journeys so far - from birth to young men. It is one of the most important and vital aspects of my life. I feel lucky to have our connections. So, I guess, that is enough for me. It's a step removed, a big step, but it suffices. They are a true blessing in my life.
Not having a family of one's own is a big thing in many ways. But thinking about it now, it feels like destiny made my choices for me. Things just went this way. Having a spouse and a family and a house and a job... it's not how it has turned out for me. My path is off the beaten track. I chose not be contained, the stories are still being written, the form is still being found. Not being defined in the conventional way, my future is open ended.
In some ways I am the same as I was when I was at ten, at sixteen, at twenty nine, at forty; a loner, a dreamer, a wanderer. Making it up as I go. And I guess I like it that way. No point in looking at what I don't have and lamenting. No doubt, I would have loved to have raised a family, risen to the occasion. But I couldn't have done what I have, become who I am. You can't have it all.
Yeah. Things are as they should be.
Yeah, nah. Yeah, nah.