The Childfree Life

When having it all, means not having kids
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 12:43 pm 
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Hahaha I think your wife and I would be great friends! If we're going to a country where English isn't the first language, I'll even teach myself the basics of their native language so that I'm respectful, but mostly prepared (I've been learning Icelandic on and off for about 4 years now, even have teaching apps lol)! And I'm the same way with spreadsheets, I even built one just for camping trips so we're never forgetting the basics. It just makes everything so much easier when the time comes to actually pack!

Though the only thing that comes on equal terms to travel for me is my house, just because I grew up never really having much and having my own, custom-built house was always the largest dream I ever had for myself. I like to try and balance those out in my head though, "we can get the new couch, but let's get this one so that we have X amount left over for a trip!" :lol: This is a literal statement taken from our lives in the last week; we bought our couches when we moved into our home 4 years ago but we went kind of cheaper since you know the whole buying your first house thing isn't cheap lol, and I had to buy a whole new appliance package too since she's an old girl. So now we have these horribly run down, supportless, literally falling-to-pieces couches that are so bad, I can't even sit with my husband on the same couch (I have some lower back/hip issues) and after sitting/laying on them for even 5 minutes you walk away with several pieces of couch stuck to your skin. At the same time, I can't justify spending $5k on a new couch set, but I know if we are more conservative with the pricing we'll be right back here in another 4-5 years lol.

I think my goal in life is just to be able to comfortable afford both :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 7:23 am 
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Benjis- I wrote a post that was quite similar to yours on the "old" TCFL site almost 5 years ago now. I'd had a kitty, Zoot, pass away. He was a really, really special kitty - I got him as a kitten when I was 14, and I had to euthanize him when I was 31. He'd been there for me for so many life milestones - all through high school, all through university (I lived at home while I went to uni so I was still close to him), graduating, getting married, moving out of my parents house and buying my own place (of course, I took him with me when I moved out) - he'd been there for me through so many life events. I had a very, very special and strong bond with him. I was devastated when I had to put him down. It was the only time I've ever really seen my husband break down and cry (and we've been together for 15 years).

The grief process was very difficult. I cried every day for literally months. I cried at work, I cried at home, I cried while lying in bed, I cried while driving the car, I cried while riding my bike, I cried at the grocery store. I got used to always having a pair of sunglasses on hand so I could hide my eyes. It was pretty crushing - this little creature who had always been there for me, who I'd taken care of, who had been my constant companion for so long - just wasn't there any more.

After about 3 months, I wrote a post on the old site asking if anyone had the experience of getting a new pet after losing one. I was thinking about getting another kitty, but I didn't want to compare them to my old kitty or resent the new one for not being him. Tempest - she's on here too - told me "Love isn't finite. Time is, though."

Those words really struck a chord in me, and made me realize a few things. One, that there's no rules for how long you "have to" or are "supposed to" wait to get a new pet. And two - while I did and still do miss my old kitty terribly, I also just really missed having a kitty around. We went to the shelter that weekend and came home with our tabby girl. I got a text from a friend a couple days after making the decision to get a new cat asking if I knew anyone who was interested in a tortoiseshell kitty who had wandered up to the barn where she boards her horses - and while I'm a staunch atheist, I do believe that when you need a cat, the universe sends you a cat. That little tortoiseshell is curled up next to me now.

We've had our kitties for almost 5 years now. They are not and will never be my old kitty, but that's OK - they are so funny, and cute, and they bring me so much joy. I love watching their antics, patting them after I've had a bad day, or just snuggling up with them (they're both pretty affectionate which I love).

I don't think I could ever be without a kitty for too long. They just add so much to my life.

Best of luck with making the decision that's right for you.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 11:17 am 
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Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to let me know that! I feel your words so deeply in my heart! And most of all, even 5 years on, I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet Zoot and I so wish we were given more time with our fur babes. I'm so glad you've had your two kitties for the last five years to help honor his memory!

I feel like a common misconception for CL people is that because we don't want kids we are lacking in the love or attachment department, and I feel that is not the case whatsoever. We still have all that love, we just put it into our furry babies instead (better ROI in my opinion ;) ). It's actually one of the leading reasons we chose to be CF - and this was absolutely validated when we lost Bo - the all-consuming, soul-crushing pain of losing a loved pet is enough, I couldn't imagine having to suffer through the loss of a child. My husband has an aunt and uncle whose daughter disappeared while sailing over 10 years ago now. They never found her or any evidence of their boat. It crushed his aunt and uncle for so many years and only now are they even close to trying to have a life without her, but they will obviously never be the same. And that's WITH other surviving children. I have a friend of a friend whose 10 month old baby just suddenly stopped breathing last year and passed away. The friend that I knew was his grandma, he was her first grandchild, and just watching her via social media you could feel that utter devastation. As I mentioned in my original post, I'm not good with loss, I'm a very emotionally reserved person, so if losing my fur babies crushes me the way it does, I don't think I'd ever be able to recover from losing a child. September will be a year since we lost our boy and I still cry; I cried while writing the original post and reliving it, I cried recently reaching out to someone on social media who just went through something very similar and lost her kitty, I cry sometimes just sitting in my hammock in the yard knowing that he should be laying there right beside me. I think I've accepted at this point it's something that I may never 'get over' or heal from and am just grateful that each day gets a bit easier to manage that pain.

And I am the same way; I guess I would identify more as an agnostic more because I've always been absolutely obsessed with the ancient gods ie Egyptian, Roman, Norse mythology etc. I've always been far more inclined to believe that IF there were a high power it wouldn't be just one power, that it would be many, and they wouldn't embody this "perfect" creature, they would be flawed and a mix of good and bad, just like us. But I believe that everything happens for a reason and that things come into our life (and leave) when we need it most and are most prepared to handle it, even if we don't see that ourselves. I believe when the time is right, the opportunity for us to get a new fur babe will present itself and we'll know it was meant to be, just like we did when we got Bo. Tempest is a wise woman and that is an amazing sentiment! I know when the time comes the new fur baby is going to help me heal a lot as well, even if it's intermingled with some guilt at first. And now that so long has passed since we lost Bo, it really is a stark reminder every day that we need pets around. They're such a pure source of love and vitality and happiness.

For now, I am at least blessed enough to still have my cat Tom. Sure, he's the world's biggest asshole and he has some SERIOUS behavioral problems due to his schizophrenia, but I think it would have A) been a lot harder to handle Bo's passing if we had to come home to a TOTALLY empty house every day and B) probably been the nail in my coffin if I had lost him with his bladder stone scare the month after. Even if Tom is only a sweetheart 2% of the time, he's still MY sweetheart and that 2% is enough to override the dickish 98% (most of the time anyway lol). He's not overly loving or affectionate, but I can relate to that and by respecting his boundaries he is a lot closer to me than he is anyone else, even Mr. Benjis. At the end of the day, I know that he would have been surrendered back to the shelter multiple times and probably put down if it wasn't for us; raising him was one of the hardest things I've ever experienced due to his problems but I wouldn't trade him for the world. I feel if nothing else, loss makes you more grateful for what you do have, and for each and every day we have with our loved ones, furry or not.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:50 am 
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I feel like a common misconception for CL people is that because we don't want kids we are lacking in the love or attachment department, and I feel that is not the case whatsoever. We still have all that love, we just put it into our furry babies instead

...and I think this is a common misconception within the CF community that we all have pets and want pets, I don't. I see them as a liability and I loathe the whole 'furry baby' 'pet mummy' nomenclature that so many people want to adopt. Is it any wonder that we have problems trying to make ourselves heard when so much breeder language is used.

I have refrained (up until this point) on commenting on this thread, because I don't feel the same way, in fact to me a cage is still a cage even if it's gilded. The days when animals aren't bred is pets will be one of rejoicing in the La T household.

I get pig sick of seeing the same comments made by CF pet owners as I do from breeders e.g. that a life 'is diminished' if you don't have pets , or 'you've never known true love' etc etc. (I'm not saying that's happen on this thread and to be honest I haven't read most if it, so I wouldn't know) but just to make the point 'we' do not put our love into our pets.

I applaud the people who take in rescues and give them a home, however people who buy pets that have been bred for the purpose though...I feel something quite different.

I'm just trying to make the point that you can't tar all CF people with the same brush, in the same way as not all women are mothers, so please less of the 'we'.

ETA: I've just see another of the 100s of moggies around here go trotting past the window with yet another bird in it's gob, it seems not a day goes by that another small animal in my garden doesn't get slaughtered by a local pet. I would much rather those small rodents are left for the owls and other wildlife, not providing entertainment for someones 'fur baby'...........Don't even get me started on the barking and yappy dogs destroying my peace and quiet.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:11 pm 
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I don't disagree, and when I refer to 'we' I am referring to the CF that fits into this category (specifically this forum of 'Our Non-Children' where I created the thread), not the CF as a whole. I think - at least speaking for myself - it's in some way defensive that they get referred to as our babies, as we get made to feel like we're not allowed to have or share anything that the parents of the world do, by parents. Even I have mixed feelings about it myself sometimes as I see them as a liability and a big responsibility and expenditure... it's just one that I'm personally prepared to take because for myself it's worth it, especially in comparison to having a human kid instead.

We also don't 'shop' for our pets. My cat is a rescue, our last pup was someone in the neighborhood with an accidental litter, and my husband's first dog was through a friend of a friend who couldn't keep the litter. I'd rather take those animals that may end up getting dumped due to lack of resources, or even given to the wrong 'types' of people. We don't do purebreds and our only purpose in having an animal is the hopes of giving them a better life than they may have had without our intervention. I don't do zoos and aquariums or anything where an animal is caged or contained; I watch wildlife documentaries instead where I get to see what that animal is truly like, not what it's become as it's adapted to its human-induced life.

And I 100% don't believe, nor did I or would I ever say, that a CF life without pets or dependents of any kind, means it's a diminished life. That would make me no better than the parents who say that deciding to be child free means we'll be selfish and lonely for the rest of our lives. Life, at the end of the day, is what the individual makes of it, which is why the only thing I DO believe in is that someone's own priority should simply be their own happiness. If that's with kids, cool. If it's with animals, cool. If it's alone or with a SO, whatever makes someone truly happy is all that should matter. But for this reason, I also try not to refer to parents as breeders or kids as crotch goblins, regardless of how they treat me and often the CF lifestyle as a whole. Do I get fed up with their convoluted, self-involved, holier than though attitude due to the fact that they did what all species on this earth do millions of times a day? Sure. I just focus on my own happiness instead as it's the only thing I truly have control over.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 4:36 pm 
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I got a text from a friend a couple days after making the decision to get a new cat asking if I knew anyone who was interested in a tortoiseshell kitty who had wandered up to the barn where she boards her horses - and while I'm a staunch atheist, I do believe that when you need a cat, the universe sends you a cat.
How often has that happened? I'm a firm believer in the universe sending you animals. They need a home, you have a space ... it's a karmic match up.

I felt so sad reading about your puppy, Benjis. I had my 10 year old Aussie cross pass away while I was on holiday three years ago. He'd had episodes on and off over the summer, but that summer had been especially hot, he never did well in the heat, and lots of dogs had been sick with algal bloom and heat issues. So I just passed it off as him getting older. So I sent him off to kennels and went away, not realizing that my new work phone didn't have a roaming plan, and I wasn't getting the increasingly panicked messages from the kennel owner until I drove back into province. So I high tailed it home (an 8 hour drive) to find him in the vets, pretty much unable to walk, obviously doing badly. I dashed him back to the emergency vets at home, by which time it was 10pm at night, but there was nothing they could do for the pancreatic failure. I had to let him go the next morning, and I still feel absolutely awful every time I think about it.

I had my four - Caelan and Jazz the dogs, and Pika and Sam the cats - for the entire time I was in my house, almost 17 years. I lost all four of them within a two year stretch. It's really hard, but all you can do is give them a good life, and cherish the memories.

I wasn't going to get another cat after I lost Sam, but a few months before that, a skinny little grey Burmese with six kittens had bunked down under a workmate's neighbours house, and she'd borne such a striking resemblance to my grandmother's old cat that I couldn't let her go off to an uncertain future at the SPCA. So that's how I ended up with Aja, and it's been the best happy accident. She's smart, funny, weird and antisocial and I love her to bits. I'm trying to train her to travel in the converted Transit van right now, and it looks like she might actually take to the adventure cat lifestyle, so fingers crossed.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:48 am 
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How often has that happened? I'm a firm believer in the universe sending you animals. They need a home, you have a space ... it's a karmic match up.
It's funny, I don't believe much in fate or destiny or meant-to-be, but if you choose to look for that, it was certainly there with Kate:

1. Molly dies suddenly
2. Rescue says 2-3 year wait for the dog we want
3. A couple of days later, a dog matching every single point we listed is found
4. It's an emergency "we need a decision right now" situation
5. Dog is free/as-is
6. Got her, she weight 19lbs (normal weight 45lbs)
7. She was nearly critically dehydrated
8. We tentatively decided on Kate; foster mom named her Kate
9. Foster mom couldn't get anywhere near her, yet she jumped right in our car

MrsCO always says, "Molly knew we needed Kate, and she new Kate needed us, so she put us together."

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:53 am 
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I don't do zoos and aquariums or anything where an animal is caged or contained; I watch wildlife documentaries instead where I get to see what that animal is truly like, not what it's become as it's adapted to its human-induced life.
I can't with zoos and the like. I just feel so, so sorry and sad for all the animals cooped up in there, bored out of their skulls.

I moved my cat into a condo a couple of months back. She's been a stray, and when I got her I was in a house and she had a dog door to go in and out. Then I moved, and she had the roomies cats for company, and went in and out while I was working at home. Now she's stuck in a second floor condo for hours on end while I'm at work (although she can go onto the deck for fresh air and people watching), and gives me accusing looks when I leave in the morning ... I feel so bad for her. She gets outside time at night when I come home, but it's not the same as being wild and free all day.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:18 am 
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@TheAlicorn

For me personally, I've never gone through anguish as strong as losing my pets but I'm a very solitary person who isn't super fond of human company, so I put my whole heart and soul into my relationship with animals. The last bout was the worst I'd ever experience losing 2 dogs within 1 year and almost losing my cat a month later, I just don't think anything really prepares you for that, especially when they're young and healthy, you just assume you'll have more time. One of my best friends had 6 dogs for 8-10 years and she lost all 6 within a year of each other, to this day I still don't know how she got through it. My only saving grace through it all was we always had at least one pet left, I think it would have been so much worse if we had lost them all.

I'm so happy you found Aja! She will probably love adventure-kitty life, I know our grumpy little dude does! And it will probably help a lot if she's feeling a little couped up with condo life! I'm definitely not very religious or spiritual but just from the way things have worked out in my own life, I really do believe everything happens for a reason, to some extent. Even with Bo, I like to believe we were supposed to have him for our brief 7 months together because we gave him the best life we could possible offer every single day of those 7 months. Camping, hikes, big yard to constantly play fetch in, puppy brother friend, lots of animal-loving humans around, etc.

My love of animals extends far beyond domestic animals too so I have a really hard time with any animals in captivity. Even just certain practices with wild animals I think are having a really bad long term effects. My favourite animals are sharks, I'm a wee bit obsessed :lol: I have seen a looooot of documentaries on sharks and you really start to recognize how even something like cage diving with them can possibly condition them to act outside their regular behaviours. I don't know how people can be confused about why the number of attacks is increasing when you look at the facts like the oceans warming up (big deep-sea predators are likely coming out and forcing the smaller sharks to the shores), seal populations exploding due to bans on culling in certain areas (and we look pretty seal-ly on our surfboards and bodyboards, etc), the amount of toxic waste that some nations pumps into the sea (a tiger shark's dream buffet), the practice of finning sharks and then dumping their bodies back in the ocean (there have been studies proving that the cells of dead sharks are a massive deterrent to living sharks), etc. It's pretty much our own fault in my opinion, shark attacks weren't even common until the early 1900s. As a born and raised Aussie, my people get into the ocean with the notion that you probably have a 50% chance of seeing a shark, if not meeting one up close and personal. The number may not be realistic, but it sure keeps them at the top of mind. I'm a far-off admirer and don't really go in the ocean because of this; after I'd left Australia for Canada a woman was attacked and killed by 2 bull sharks at a place called Stradbroke Island, which was right by where I was living, first attack in the area since the early 70s. Most Canadians think the waters up here are too cold for sharks and I've always laughed and laughed and laughed, but now they're filming massive great whites off the coast of Nova Scotia and Labrador, etc. It's like a lot of people say; we like to play in the ocean, but that's their home.


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