Last week, I got some seriously great responses to my post The Female Breadwinner and today I loved Erin’s post stating that she doesn’t want kids right now and her uterus is not up for negotiation. All of this got me thinking; sometimes you really just need to walk to the beat of your own drum.

Stop caring what others think about you and your life choices.

I mentioned in my article that I do not want a house, I don’t want to get married or have kids. I know I am seriously in the minority here, but I’ve felt strongly about these things my whole life.

For my whole life, people have also told me it’s a phase. I need to find the right guy, I need to wait for the right time, etc.

Newsflash: It’s never the right time.

Life is a series of decisions and choices that you need to own, for better or worse. You better believe I have disappointed my own mother and de facto mother-in-law by stating I don’t want to have kids. Their dreams of becoming grandmothers that spoil have been dashed and now they have to adjust.  Add to this the fact that both my partner and I are  only children and we are affectively ending the line here. That’s a lot to process. I’ve felt guilty for it at times, but in the end it’s my life and my choice.

Mind you, I don’t have to adjust to my decisions, but others do. Why? Because it’s expected that women want children.  No one has ever congratulated me and said, “You are making such a great financial decision. Good for you for not bringing a child into this crazy world!”

I hope I’m not sounding angry, because I’m not. I have absolutely no problem with houses, the idea of marriage, and I actually like kids – I just don’t want those things for myself. I think it’s important to really understand yourself and what you want out of your life, aside from what your family, friends and culture tells you.

Just because things have been done a certain way for a long period of time, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best or right way. We have a saying at work that we are always learning and if we think we have all the answers, we’re closing up shop.

I like that. I want to always have the capacity to learn, grow, and expand and not become a total curmudgeon, set in my ways.

A lot of this stuff can also relate to personal finance. There are so many “experts” out there deciding what’s best for you and your life; it can be hard to filter through all the voices. Let’s be frank; most of them are shouting (inside joke: Shhhh, You’re shouting!).

Don’t buy lattes! Save 10% of your income! Don’t travel if you’re in debt!

A lot of these voices can make you feel like crap if you behave outside of their edicts. But you know what? It’s your life! No apologies. You can use these as guidelines—what do you like about it, what would you change? Find what works for you. There is no one-size-fits-all scenario.

Maybe we are as unique as a snowflake (yay!)

On that note, I encourage you to find your inner rhythm. Stop apologizing for who you are or the choices you make. Own it or change it (if it could really be that simple). Find your people. Love fully. Be grateful. Do what makes you you, what feels good, and what feels right.

Melanie

Melanie is a freelance writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances. She writes about breaking up with debt, freelancing, and side hustle adventures at DearDebt.com.

Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog.

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30 responses to “Sometimes you have to walk to the beat of your own drum”

  1. I hear you! I’m not ruling anything out, but for me, having a solid, strong relationship is valuable enough – I don’t necessarily need to get married, or have kids. People do look at you quizzically when you tell them just that.
    I don’t have clocks ticking in my body or my mind, and for that, I’m grateful.
    Little Miss Money recently posted…Day 43 – Black Friday (And Why I’ll be At Home if You Need Me)My Profile

    • deardebt says:

      Cheers, my friend! Sometimes I do feel weird, like why don’t I have a clock, lol? But it’s not for me. I think it’s great for people who know they want marriage, kids, houses, etc, but it’s also great for us that know that we don’t want those things either.

  2. Isabella says:

    Very good thoughts! I have four children myself and they are choosing their own paths. (Some choices resemble mine. Others do not.) What I have come to realize is that what made me happy in life is not necessarily the choice that makes others happy, including my own children. Each has the right to choose his/her own path.

    And speaking of the “experts,” I could not agree more. There are some of these “experts” who deliver all kinds of advice (like Suzy Orman) on the conflicts of saving for your retirement and your child’s education, and they don’t even have kids! Thus, I never listen to anything she says.

    • deardebt says:

      You are so very wise! That’s great that you realize that what makes you happy isn’t necessarily what will make your children happy. I think by that thought, you have given them the freedom to roam and find their path, which is huge.

      Ha, I was sort of thinking of Suze. She can be a little overboard for me. I definitely would not want to call in to her show, because if I did, she’d tell me to never leave the house!

  3. It’s funny I was thinking about the “shouting” when I was reading a post this morning about how this guy retired early and made 70k. All you have to do is this, this and that. It’s not that it’s not possible, but I seriously doubt he lives in southern california. Sure if I lived in Kansas City I could put more towards retirement but I don’t. The point is, everyone’s circumstance is totally unique. There are SO many factors in life that can trip people up: divorce, illness, job loss, expensive city, etc. There is no one size fits all.
    Budget and the Beach recently posted…Shopping Deals for the Rest of the YearMy Profile

  4. I love this post. I recently had a bit of a run-in with a fellow personal finance blogger who essentially told me I didn’t have my sh*t together because I was only 23 and that I needed to be better educated if I was going to write about personal finance. I took just enough time to respond in a measured, reasonable, and calm way and then forgot about it because one person’s thoughts on how I choose to operate my life is just not worth the hassle – but of course it’s hard to remember that in the moment.

    I choose to do a lot of things differently than what someone else would say is normal or okay – I don’t want kids, period, for one – so reading posts like this gives me more confidence to hold my head up high and keep going my own way. Thanks for a great read!
    Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial recently posted…Expressing Gratitude and Giving ThanksMy Profile

    • deardebt says:

      Wow, that is so sad. I hope I don’t run into that person! They should be applauding you for even giving a sh!t about personal finance at 23. Seriously. People want to think they are doing things the right way, and some people feel like everyone else is an idiot for doing it differently. It might be right for THEM, but not YOU! Also, I get less comments now about not wanting kids at 29, but at 23 it was really bad, so stay strong and true to yourself. You rock.

  5. Absolutely, M! The thing about other people trying to make our decisions for us is this — they don’t have to live with consequences of those decisions! Like having kids, of course my mom wants me to have them because she only has to see them when they are being adorable, not when they are screaming all night long.

    I say do your own thing and people who truly want you to be happy will understand 🙂
    Erin @ My Alternate Life recently posted…My Minimalist Christmas in 2013My Profile

  6. I LOVE THIS POST M! and yes, that’s me shouting my enthusiasm 😉 I think it’s awesome that you are marching to the beat of your own drum. I do that as well and I often get flack for it from the personal finance community (i.e not having an emergency fund while agrgressively paying down debt) but I’m en route to paying off $17,000 in one year so I’ll let the results speak for themselves. 😉
    Girl Meets Debt recently posted…Debt Confessions: Hayley’s StoryMy Profile

  7. You are making such a great financial decision. Good for you for not bringing a child into this crazy world!

    Just thought someone should do it.
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted…Five Dolla’ Make You Holla’ Holiday Series: Zero Budget Christmas ReviewMy Profile

  8. anna says:

    I *loved* this post, Melanie!!! I do want more trad things, but I do feel really bad at times at the costs or my choices because it goes against the grain (especially in the PF world). I commend you for your bravery and honesty to stand up for what you want, and not letting others’ projections dissuade you or make you apologize for your choices. I need to learn that!
    anna recently posted…Getting My Glutton On! Oh, and Giving ThanksMy Profile

    • deardebt says:

      You definitely shouldn’t feel bad about living the life you want! You are an awesome, responsible adult and are entitled to your dreams. You’re making it happen and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.

  9. I am loving your posts lately, with this and the Female Breadwinner one. I hear ya about marching to your own drum. I am reasonably “normal” but there are a few quirks that make me different, and sometimes I get a puzzled face from people.

    Case in point. I was talking to my parents last weekend about how I really hate the idea and work associated with owning a home, and that I would be happy to rent my entire life should renting stay a financially viable option. My parents come from the generation where you owned houses. There wasn’t anything else you did. They just didn’t get it.
    Alicia @ Financial Diffraction recently posted…change your procrastinating habit.My Profile

  10. It’s great when people make their own choices and really stick with them. There would be so few wonderful products in our world, and a lot less knowledge if someone always followed the advice those older or more learned gave to them. I’ve always been one to hear people out, but I’ve been trying to make sure that everyone does not make an impression on me. There are too many nay-sayers and it can definitely send you down the wrong path!
    Amanda @ Passionately Simple Life recently posted…The Student Loan StoryMy Profile

  11. Michelle says:

    I hate it when people have kids they don’t really want. It never works out well! Do what is best for you and trust yourself. You’ll be happier in the long run. Am proud of you!
    Michelle recently posted…What are you grateful for?My Profile

  12. LOVE this!!! We’ve had the same criticisms, only on the other end of the spectrum (having SO MANY kids – 4, homeschooling them, etc.) Good for you for sticking with what’s in your heart. I’ve never met a person who’s happy always doing what somebody else wants them to do and never considering their own desires, and I think it’s awesome that you are sticking to your guns, so to speak, regardless of whether or not people think you’re making the right decision. Kudos!
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…What Are You Thankful For?My Profile

    • deardebt says:

      I am so glad you commented with the other side of the spectrum. Good for you for homeschooling and doing what you feel is right. In the end, sticking with what you want makes for a better life!

  13. Coral says:

    I share views with you on this 100%. I’ve never wanted the whole marriage and babies thing, and thankfully my partner feels the same way. I’m 26 now and people keep saying to me ‘you will change your mind soon’ bla bla bla, which I HATE because I know my own mind, you know? I don’t want children, full stop.
    Thank you for this post – it’s nice to read about people who are in the same boat.

  14. Melanie says:

    Finally a very meaningful article that seems to me quite educative for reading. To find someone inner soul or rhythm whatever encouragement provided above are truly great. I’m often feeling these days I lost my path and always seeking my true identity through someone else expression or their judgement. I know this type of ways are not going to help me find my true self, so I’ve encouraged to follow up here suggested ways to seek out my real personality. Thanks.
    Melanie recently posted…Which is better neon or LED?My Profile

  15. Theres no obligation to have kids, and people should respect your decision. Nothing worse than well meaning friends and relative dropping comments about when are you going to start a family etc
    I mean – if everyone has kids, the worlds supply of crazy cat ladies will dry up.
    We need crazy cat ladies!
    GetRichWithMe recently posted…Breaking The ChainsMy Profile

  16. I couldn’t agree more about not caring what others say of one’s decisions and choices. While I understand that pieces of advice are given with good intention, what I do with my life and whether I learn the lessons or not are up to me. What one will go through in life will help shape the person he or she becomes.
    Jen @ Frugal Rules recently posted…Shout Out Saturday #44My Profile

  17. Good for you for following your own path – I never understand why there is that unwritten suggestion that having kids and doing the whole house and marriage thing is a path everyone should take. Do what makes you happy, that’s the most important thing!
    Hayley @ A Disease Called Debt recently posted…Save money at Christmas: Christmas necessitiesMy Profile

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