Maybe Baby

Featured imageWhen I was little, I never spent much time thinking about whether or not I would get married and have children. I assumed it was one of those things that happened in life, a fated event, a given. I was well in to my 20s before it really dawned on me that I had a choice. I thought I had choices in other areas of my life – what school to go to, what to study, what work to pursue. But a spouse and a couple kids would be part of the package regardless. Perhaps they would even be doled out at graduation – cap, gown, diploma – oh, and by the way, please pick up your husband and two infants on your way out of the auditorium.

Turns out I might have been a bit naive…

In fact, I did get married shortly after college graduation. Not to someone I picked up in the auditorium, mind you, but rather to my high school sweetheart. We had been together for years. I thought our marriage was a fait accompli, so if any doubts took up residence in my mind, I swiftly moved them aside and kept moving forward in what I believed to be the expected and necessary direction.

About two years in to the marriage, he started talking about children. Of course, we’d had the conversation many times before, but it had always been simple ideation. Wouldn’t it be great if…Imagine what it’ll be like when…These new conversations had intent and used a whole different language. We should start thinking about…when do you want to…

It was only then I realized that I didn’t want to. It didn’t come to me quite that clearly at first, but it was the first inkling I had that I definitely wasn’t ready right then to have children, and perhaps I never would be. I danced around the topic for a while, delaying the real discussion while I tried to sort through my feelings. My feelings. This was part of the problem. I’d been entwined with the same person for so long, it was difficult to discern which thoughts belonged to me versus those born out of ‘we’.

It took me a while to untangle the two, but I got there in the end. My husband was a good man, and part of me didn’t want to let that go, but we were moving in different directions.  Sometimes knowing what you want starts with knowing what you don’t want. It seemed I might finally be on my way.

Death to the Single Supplement

SPOILER ALERT: I’m single. I’ve been single for quite some time – happily so, I might add. But there are occasions when being single is a real drag. Case in point is the single supplement, an innocuous term for a rather painful levy for those traveling solo. This has never made sense to me since standard rates for most hotel rooms is for up to two people. Oddly, however, if you join a tour group or attend a conference, and accommodation is at that same hotel, you’ll find a hidden little checkbox somewhere that notifies you’ll need to pay extra if you want a single room.

If the single supplement is minimal, I’m inclined to pay it without much consideration. After all, the last thing I want is to spend a lot of money on a holiday I’m excited about only to have it (potentially) ruined because I get paired with someone who’s incompatible. Sometimes, however, the supplement is egregious. I recently signed up for a four-day workshop that runs around $1650. The single supplement was – wait for it – an additional $900!! Raise your hand if you think that might be a bit out of bounds? Go ahead. Let me get a good head count. Aah, yes, you see the absurdity too. So, an event that already costs a little over $400 per day, becomes over $600 per day just because I want to fly solo.

Somehow I’ve morphed into a person and a half. That’s a little hard to make sense of. I’m not going to eat for one and a half people, although it must be said that I’ve been known to do this on occasion…I’m not going to take up more space in the workshop, nor am I guaranteed of walking away with one and a half person’s worth of knowledge. It seems it has to come down to the accommodations, in which case I can only surmise that a butler is included or that singles are paying for all those extra high-end toiletries. Payback for all those times I’ve pilfered the shampoo and soaps.

You can see this same kind of foolishness with certain memberships. Gyms are famous for it. Join a gym by yourself, and perhaps it costs $50/month. But find a partner and maybe you’ll pay $75 or $80. Add on some kids for even less. The next thing you know, a family of five is paying the equivalent of $25 or $30 per person.

Many, many years ago, a male friend and I pretended to be part of a loving couple just to get a reasonable rate at our local gym. There was no requirement for couples to be married, but the illusion of togetherness was imperative. We were being penalized for being uncoupled, so we decided to game the system. Things worked well for about three years, and then, even that relationship, died on the vine when my friend moved to another town and joined a new gym with a new fake partner.

The single supplement isn’t going to stop me from traveling solo or from joining the gym, but have a heart, people. Perhaps your time would be better spent finding me a suitable mate instead of creating new ways to gouge both my wallet and my heart.

Don’t even get me started on taxes…