Posts tagged Origami Debates
A Male Millennial’s Perspective on Having Children

This is Part Two of a two part series where Jennie and I debate the pros and cons of having children. For a measured and mature response to this issue from a woman’s perspective, please read Jennie’s post here. You’ve been warned. 


Ivan here. 

Life is a dubious proposition. Consciousness - I think we can all agree - was not a great idea. And yet when I think about the prospect of bringing another life into this world, I can’t help but wonder:

Maybe some mistakes are worth making. 


To be, Or Not to Be


We all know what life is: a rollercoaster ride. Everything is uphill from ages 0 to puberty before we make the swift descent into adulthood. Then we’re just a few loops and pirouettes away before the ride comes to an abrupt halt. Hear that whooshing noise? That's time carrying you past a lifetime of loss and disappointment. 

I know I’m skipping a few steps, but who would put another human being through all of that? Think of the children. Growing up can be the ultimate tragedy.

This is just an opinion, but having a child may be the most selfish decision two human beings could make. Not only is there the implicit assumption that your genes are worth replicating, there’s the hubris of thinking that your offspring has a rightful claim over the world’s scarce and diminishing resources.  

There’s the love argument, I suppose. But what is love if not a pair of eyes to watch you die and someone's hand to hold as you're doing it? And why do I even need a kid for that when I’ve got Jennie? The actuarial tables say she’s going to outlive me. 


4 Reasons Why Having a Child Might Be A Good Idea


1. At least it won’t be boring

I can show it all the wonderfully sad and sadly wonderful things about life before I peace out. There’s also the added benefit of living vicariously through them and seeing the world through their eyes. Can a few precious memories compensate for a lifetime of loss and suffering?

2. It’s not coming out of my body

The only point I’m making here is that the physical toll taken on my body will be minimal. I don’t agree with people who say that fathers are just as important as mothers. No matter how hands-on I end up being as a parent, the fact is nothing’s going to be coming out of my body and nobody’s going to be pumping me for milk.  As such, I have the luxury of thinking about this as a win all around. And that’s why Jennie has ultimate veto power on the kid decision.

3. To balance things out

Not going to mention names, but some people shouldn't have children. In fact, it seems like the less qualified you are to be a parent, the more you end up procreating. Now I’m not saying these kids are doomed necessarily, I’m just pointing out that they’re up against house odds. 

One way to make the world suck less is if more responsible parents started having kids to offset the irresponsible ones. We don’t need to match them one for one. Who can keep up? 

4. To add beauty and surprise to our lives

This may sound hokey, but if life really is a box of chocolates, you can rest assured that I will be trying every single one. As hesitant as Jennie and I are about having children, it could turn out to be the best thing we ever do. The trick, I think, is to have low expectations and we’ll always be pleasantly surprised!  


Life is a question of nerves, and fibres, and slowly built-up cells in which thought hides itself and passion has its dreams. You may fancy yourself safe and think yourself strong. But a chance tone of colour in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play... I tell you, that it is on things like these that our lives depend.
— Oscar Wilde

My Verdict in 2017


In all seriousness, having children at this point is a binary decision for me; I see myself having either no kids or exactly one kid. Both scenarios provide Jennie and I with sufficient wiggle room to continue crafting our “Origami Life” without making too many compromises. 

Besides, if I’m thinking about my time as currency, I’d rather be really good and focused on one thing than mediocre at a whole bunch of things. Timing is also an issue. I can’t foresee us doing as much traveling in the first 3-4 years of a child's life (it won’t remember anyhow), so we would have to hunker down somewhere for longer than usual. 

Anyway, that’s where I stand at 28. Jennie and I will check back in a year to see if anything’s changed.

How about you? How would you break down this life-defining, terrifying, do-or-die decision? 



A Female Millennial’s Perspective On Having Children

This is Part One of a two part series where Ivan and I debate the pros and cons of having children. For a response to this serious issue from a millennial guy’s perspective, please read Ivan’s post here. 


Jennie here.

Ivan and I are hitting that inevitable point in our marriage where we start talking about whether or not we want to have children. We’re both 28 this year, going on 29. We're on the same page for the most part, and feel like we can swing in either direction. Naturally, no actual family planning will be taking place until after we get back from our round-the-world trip in 2018/2019.

Even though we're at least 2-3 years away from making a serious commitment, I still find myself weighing the pros and cons:


6 Reasons Why Having a Child Could Ruin My Life


 
 

1. Lost [career] opportunities and guilt.

According to PayScale.com, a woman’s pay peaks at age 39. Based on the same data, men’s salaries continue to grow until age 48, and top out at a median of $95,000. That's fucking bullshit. Not only do I have to juggle being a parent by my early to mid 30's, this also coincides with my highest potential earning years of my career. I worry that having a child would be settling, and that it might come at the cost of my career growth.

2. Children may not fit in with our desired lifestyle.

Sure, I understand children are resilient, but what if after our round-the-world trip we decide to just keep going and not come back? Is it feasible or reasonable to continue on our nomadic and location-independent way of life and have a child? I worry our kid might grow up to resent us for an unstable childhood.

3. My life won't be my own. 

When you raise a child, your interests become mixed up with theirs. Doesn’t having children mean your life and choices are altered forever? That’s a scary thought; because I know myself --  I can already foresee the frustrations that comes with that.

4. Rising cost of childcare.

The average middle class income household spends more than $230,000 on one child from birth to the age of 17. That’s ridiculous. How do families manage to save for themselves and their child? Realistically, it will cost more with the skyrocketing costs of childcare and education. Prices for child care range between $3,582 to $18,773 a year (or $300 to $1,564 monthly).

5. The physical cost of pregnancy and postpartum.

Sure, let’s go there. Whenever I think of childbirth I think of the movie Alien. I am terrified of the pain I will have to endure during pregnancy and post-labor. FYI, I’m extremely petite and just shy of 5 feet (152.4 cm). Just imagining this makes me want to walk across the room and punch Ivan in the face. It’s not fair. Not only will I be responsible for nurturing a child, I will also endure hormonally tough days with no sleep. I’ve seen friends go through it and I don't know if I'll have the patience or the stamina for such a trying experience.

6. Fear of reliving my childhood.

My parents love me, but they struggled in a lot of ways and it really gave my siblings and me a lot of grief. I can remember moments I still resent or feel anxious over and I worry I could impart the same stress onto my own child. While Ivan and I are taking the right financial precautions, nothing is ever guaranteed. Life comes at you fast.


2 Reasons Why Having Children Might Not be a Total Trainwreck


 
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1. A way to continue our story and legacy.

I grew up in tough family conditions but my parents lived through the Vietnam war and were refugees in America -- they built the initial foundations of success for my life and future generations of my family. Frankly, there’s nowhere to go but up now. Sometimes, I imagine that one day Ivan and I will have a child and he or she will be able to continue our life’s journey through our values and stories; he or she will eventually become an independent human being that can make a positive contribution to society.

2. I’ll learn a lot more about myself.

I’ve always prided myself on being able to learn more and try new things, and I think that becoming a mother is no different. I honestly think becoming a mother could teach me more about patience, letting things go, and coping with emotional issues a lot better. After you become a mom, everything else (even the big decisions) become insignificant because you can handle anything.


My Verdict in 2017


Based on how I’m feeling at 28, I’m leaning more towards not having children. However, I am a little suspicious of the assumptions I’m making.  Perhaps I’m being too naive, but I think there’s a huge misconception that once you have children, you MUST lock yourself down and put your entire life on hold for 18 years until they head off to college. There has got to be some sort of work-around. If we can plan our whole life around a twelve month round the world trip, why can’t I learn to adapt to one little squirt?