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The One Thing I Don't Regret

For perfectionistic souls like myself, there are past events that I regret. One is high school and the amount of studying I did. A waste, tiresome, boring and something that I was psychologically programmed to do. I could not NOT work hard. It was like an axe was hanging over my head, and I had to do whatever it took to hand in an A-plus job. It was a cross that I had to bear or to use another metaphor, I had been given lemons. So I made super duper gallons of lemonade all through college and graduate school. I graduated with a high GPA, but I always wondered if I could have achieved the same honor with less work. I remember enjoying very little of the grind. I hated memorizing facts for exams and felt more comfortable writing papers, researching stuff and churning out original lesson plans, self-evaluations and other useless crap. Little time for the dating dance. It wasn't just the lack of guys in my life that I regret. It was also the lack of FUN. For amusement and diversion I depended on weekends down the Jersey shore, rap sessions with girls (that sometimes included getting in the car and getting lost just so we could face a challenge), college mixers, and evenings at local bars where the music impaired your hearing and the guys tried everything possible to get into your pants. All that so-called fun and frolic took place only on weekends because during the week I was the prim and proper third grade teacher and I mostly hated every minute of it. Which brings us to Big Regret #2.Or perhaps #3. My career as a teacher. I didn't like anything about teaching. I didn't like the prep work, I didn't like the monotony of repeating the learning process involved in writing, math and reading. And I hate to admit it, but I didn't like the kids. More to the point, I didn't like maintaining the discipline necessary for kids to learn, for teachers to teach, and for principals to pat themselves on the backs. A few of the kids were delightful--interested in learning, easily controlled, and fun to talk to. The others were either discipline problems or class clowns. I didn't mind the class clowns who jabbered away and interrupted my boring schedule, but the discipline problems got on my nerves--to the point that I felt ready to scream, cry, or quit. Well I did quit teaching after screaming and crying a lot in the privacy of my home for about five years. If I had it to do all over again, I would have been bold and not gotten a master's degree in library science and spent another five years in various libraries, but pushed myself into the world of newspaper writing. I could have started by begging for assignments at the Newark Star Ledger and going on from there to other newspapers and magazines. But I wasn't bold enough to do that and the absence of journalism in my life when I was very young still bothers me. But I can't get into a time machine and go back to those days. But this blog was supposed to be about the one thing I don't regret. And here it is: I don't regret not having children. I like babies, probably because as a child I enjoyed dressing and undressing dolls, but as soon as kids enter the toddler stage I lose interest. They have too many wants, needs and desires that require attention. And parenting is not just time consuming; it's emotionally draining. Plus I've known for a long time now that my emotional stability is nonexistent. Without meds I am depressed, angry, obsessive, and just about able to care for my own needs. I'm much improved now with meds, but my psychological being is quite damaged. I'm missing key requirements for parenthood, such as the desire to impart my accumulated knowledge of life onto the tabula rasa of an innocent child. In other words just as I was not a good fit for teaching, I'm likewise not a good fit for parenting. Luckily I don't regret this. Fortunately I never spent my younger days day dreaming about the opportunity to raise children. I've always felt there were too many people already in the world and this planet did not need another two or three of mine. Of course I'll never know for sure. I might have had a genius or two--a Bill Gates, a Barak Obama, a Gloria Steinem, etc. But that thought doesn't keep me up at night. I am at peace with my decision not to have children. No regrets there!
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