Exit 137. Maybe this is my legacy.

I am at a wedding right now as I am writing this. It’s that boring part where everyone is waiting for the family and wedding party to take pictures. I probably won’t finish this whole post now; that seems too antisocial, so I’ll probably finish it at home.

But that’s not the point. I’ve been to somewhere upward of 40 weddings in my life, and this is the second time I’ve been to a wedding of a former student, and the first time I have ever been to a wedding of two former students marrying each other.

As I have gotten older, and stayed in touch with some former students, I often feel like I’m stuck in a weird time warp. My former students grow up, graduate, get adult jobs, get married, and have families of their own… and I don’t really change at all. Last week, I was Facebooking with another former student from a different school. I asked her how her daughter was doing; she said she was crawling already and made a remark about how they grow up so fast. I replied, “I know! I don’t know firsthand, since I don’t have children myself, but I’m sitting here talking to you, I’ve known you since you were 12, and now I’m asking you about your kid. In fact, you are the same age now as I was when I was your teacher.”

I often feel sad about the fact that I don’t have a family or children of my own. It feels like I’m missing out on a beautiful and wonderful stage of growing up. But maybe this is my legacy. Maybe I just wasn’t meant to have a family of my own. Maybe staying in touch with some of my former students and watching them grow up is going to take the place of having a family of my own. It will never be the same, but this is a beautiful experience in its own right. And I don’t have to change diapers. I can still be an important figure in others’ lives without being biologically related to them.

And it’s entirely possible I may still have children someday. Life isn’t over, and I’ve been wrong about things before. For example, I was wrong that I wouldn’t finish this blog post before the wedding pafty finishes taking pictures. Hurry up, already. I’m hungry.

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4 comments

  1. I don’t think your legacy has to be single and childless. One of my high school teachers got married in his mid-40s and later had children. While that is on the later side in life (at least for a first marriage), it is still within the realm of possibility.

    The real question is: what are you doing to make this happen? “I often feel sad about the fact that I don’t have a family or children of my own.” Is this sadness enough motivation for you to make a change in your lifestyle? Are you making yourself available physically and emotionally to new people? Are you taking risks and trying new things? If you want a change your legacy, you need to put yourself out there and take action.

    By the time you read this, the wedding you attended should be over. I hope you were able to meet some new people and maybe even shake it on the dance floor!

    1. What am I doing… therein lies the problem, finding a plausible solution that is realistic and doesn’t feel like selling out my values.

      I didn’t meet anyone new at the wedding… the weddings I get invited to aren’t the kind where people go to meet new people. The family stays in their cliques, and the friends stay in their cliques with friends from the same time period in the couple’s lives.

      1. “finding a plausible solution that is realistic and doesn’t feel like selling out my values.” I’m not really sure what that means. I understand that you don’t want to completely deny your core beliefs. But there may be room for your to adjust your tactics and not sacrifice your ethics.

        Remember, none of us are as young as we used to be. What was a viable strategy in our 20s may probably not work for us 40s somethings today. I met my wife when at a Christian camp when we were in college. If I were single today, it would be much harder for me to meet someone single with similar values and goals at my current job. I would have to surround myself with those type of people, either in person or virtually.

        I can see that the wedding you attended recently probably doesn’t have people with which you will be compatible. But there are spaces in which you can attempt to meet those people, without having to make changes to your values. While the methods may seem foreign to you, some of them may be “realistic.”

        I know it may be difficult to ponder these notions in vague terms. If you want to discuss this in more detail privately, you know where to find me!

  2. I pray you will meet the right woman and have children. You must have touched hundreds, if not thousands, of children with your teaching, which is wonderful. I know it isn’t the same though. Perhaps you could become a Big Brother to a boy. I know my grandsons could have used a Big Brother. When their father left them, it left a giant hole in their lives they tried to fill with drinking and drugs.

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