Monday, June 7, 2010

Should You Have Children

The other day someone wrote to ask if they should have children. I appreciated this. I wish more people would write to ask if they should do things. I like having a vote in things that don’t really concern me that I’m not qualified to talk about. It makes me feel like an elected official. Anyway, this is what I told them:

Having children is like deciding to move to a foreign country. Everything is strange and noisy, you don’t speak the language, there’re a million rules you don’t understand, and the minute you cross the border you realize you can never go back. Things are different than they were back home. You can’t get that thing you used to love or go to that place you always went. For a long time those differences will drive you crazy.

And then slowly you’ll look around your new country and see it for what it is, not for how it compares to where you moved from. You’ll start to see it has an awesomeness all its own. Some pointy mountains over here, a nice lake over there, and that bird looking thing down there, all of this will become appealing to you. It will never be like where you were, it will always be someplace new, but eventually it will feel like home and to your surprise you will find yourself writing to friends in the old country telling them to move here both because it is awesome and so you will feel less alone.

You will show them pictures of the mountains and lakes you’ve discovered and their eyes will glaze over and you will say, ‘but it’s such a CUTE mountain! And you should see it at bedtime!’. And they will likely smile at your little mountain and then go out drinking at some bar in the country you used to love with people you used to drink in bars with. And maybe you will wonder – do I really belong here? And you will look at the mountains and know they are yours and you will think OF COURSE I belong here. And then the mountains will vomit on you and you will want to go home. This will continue for twenty years.

In the end, moving is a huge decision, and there’s no right answer. You can live right where you are forever and always find something new and cool to see. And if you want to stay, stay – the world has plenty of mountains. But if some spirit of adventure or broken piece of contraception spurs you to move, my guess is you’ll eventually be quite happy in your new land. If nothing else, you’ll get to name everything after yourself.


a2 said...

I enjoyed my recent visit to your country, and found your mountain to be quite wonderful!

AmyK said...

Nicely said, Kyle.

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