Monthly Archives: June 2011

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Oh, you’ll change your mind

Funny how this article by Clem Bastow got published on The Age website right when I’ve finally managed to achieve what I thought was the unachievable and have found myself in a relationship. A conversation with a work colleague meandered around to the topic of children. That’s when I got the Oh, you’ll change your mind response to my adamant position that I’m never going to have kids.

When I read Ms Bastow’s article, it was like she was reading my mind. Women who chose not to have children are either treated as if there’s something wrong with them which makes me decidedly grumpy or told that they’ll change their minds.

Uh… how about no?

Like Ms Bastow, I have zero maternal desire. I’m aunt to three nieces and one nephew and I love those kids to bits. But this doesn’t mean I have any desire at all to have a rug rat of my own. I’ve never had the desire. The only reason I ever said I would have children when I was younger was because it was expected of me to say just that. I’ve often been known to say that I must’ve been away the day maternal instinct was handed out because mine is so absent. Allegedly there’s a ticking biological clock that I’m supposed be hearing as my prime fertility years slip away but my response is what ticking biological clock? I simply don’t have it.

Of course, Ms Bastow’s article got plenty of comments (402 by the time they closed them) and it seemed to go three ways. Women saying “Hallelujah! Someone saying exactly what I’m thinking”, men telling her to essentially suck it up and deal with the busybodies and women telling her she’s making a horrendous mistake by not having children and that she’ll regret it when she’s older. The Age even got in on the act by publishing not one but two opinion pieces from the “you’ll regret it when you’re older” faction: one by Lyn Bender and another by Emma McDonald.

Both them espoused that same opinions that I’ve been exposed to before. Oh, you won’t know love until you’ve had a child. It’s what women are born to do. It’s not easy but it’s the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do… blah, blah, blah. Make me barf! Why is so hard for society to accept that there’s nothing wrong with a woman who simply doesn’t want to have children? I refuse to believe that my only purpose in life should be to push out a sprog or two. I refuse to believe that I’m somehow a failure in life because I haven’t and won’t procreate.

Maybe I am missing out on something profound. Maybe I am missing out on some overwhelming experience of love. And I’m okay with that. I’m too selfish to have children and I have no qualms admitting that. I like the freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want. It’s a luxury I’m not willing to give up. I like my life the way it is and I don’t believe I’m really missing out on anything by not having a kid. To be honest, the idea that I’d be 100% responsible for someone scares the crap out of me. I’ve only just worked out how to properly take care of myself.

Let me be really clear – this is my personal position (and opinion). I don’t deny that having children is a rewarding and enriching experience for those who do. I see my siblings with their children and it makes me happy to see them happy. I love my three nieces and one nephew. I’m sure my life is and will be better because they’re part of my family. I just happen to love and cherish the ability of being able to hand them to someone else when they’re being little monsters and I like not having to wash bits of food out of my hair.

Dirty Deeds

Went to my first ever cyclocross race on the weekend. Loved it. We got a spot right near a very muddy part of the course and had a great time urging the riders to go through the rather large puddle in front of us. CX is kinda like what we’d do as kids – get on our bikes and go down to the park to mess about. Except now it’s a race and there’s way more mud.

Can’t say it’s something I’ll actually do but it was certainly fun to watch.

There’s a few pics on FaceBook.

As for me personally, been doing hardly any riding at all. I’m still commuting to work but the weather has been decidedly unkind. Last night’s commute home was interesting. I had considerable trouble keeping the bike going in a straight line as I was getting hammered by a crosswind that threatened to push me into traffic. Maybe I’ll get out on Thursday morning. Maybe.

I didn’t plan to take a break. In fact, I had planned to do the 150km version of Scotty’s Ride in two week but other things have intervened – like dislocated shoulders (not mine I should add!). Still considering traveling up to Shepp to watch the race though (which would make my parents happy as they’d get a visit from me).

I suppose I should chose a ride to focus on next. I’m thinking the Genovese Kinglake Ride because last year I could only do the 70km version when I really wanted to conquer the full ride, which is 120km. We shall see.

There’s a plan…

A plan forming in my head for next year’s overseas jaunt that will turn the trip from memorable (because all my trips so far have been pretty memorable) into something of epic proportions.

It goes something like this…

Melbourne > Los Angeles > Seattle > New York > whatever European city fits with travel dates > Paris > Roubaix Velodrome.

I attempted to stay awake during this year’s Paris-Roubaix but repeatedly dozed off. However, during one of my awake periods, I decided that I had to be in the velodrome on the day of the race at least once in my lifetime.

The dates for Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle next year are March 30 – April 1 and Paris-Roubaix is traditionally run in early April so why not put the two together for what would be an awesome holiday? It’s amazing that I hadn’t even thought to check dates until it was suggested to me. And when it was, it just seemed so… obvious. So now the research will begin on how to actually make it happen.

I like this plan, I like it plenty.

Tree project

Week thirty seven

Well, there you have it. No more leaves on the fig tree. I was going to say that this was end of it but I have plans of doing a time lapse thing with the photos at some point.

Something good, something bad

I’ve noticed a pattern. Something good is always either preceded or followed by something bad. It’s like I can’t have one without the other.

Things at work have gotten… umm… stressful. For the first time ever, I’m caught in the middle of a restructure. Plenty have happened around me (it’s a university, we restructure all the time) but this is the first one that has directly affected me. From where I stand, the process hasn’t been handled particularly well. There’s a lot of misunderstanding and defensiveness on both sides now and right now I can’t see how it’s all going to be resolved in a way that makes everyone happy. How we’re all supposed to work together, I have no clue.

I know that I should be worrying only about myself but I can’t help but be really angry at what’s being done to some of my workmates. I’ve worked with these people for over five years now. I see them every day. How can I not be concerned about what’s going to happen to them? Unlike them, I have the (dubious) fortune having a position to move to. I know I should be happy to have this certainty. However, I can’t help but have some doubts about what it’ll be like to work in the new group. The position description for the job I’ll be slotted into is vague at best and I’m not sure I want to be a “Content Analyst”.

Still, the daily work stuff continues as it always has and there’s a strong sense of solidarity in the team now. That’s one good thing to come out of the whole sorry situation.

All I can do is wait and see. The situation is out of my hands, I can’t change it.

It’s funny… I had a terrible week at work and spent a lot of time wanting to punch someone in the face but get me out on my bike and it just doesn’t matter. The stress just falls away. The weather on Saturday was – in a word – crappy. But it didn’t matter. I was with people I like, who make me laugh and I was doing something I love. Work is just work, it’s a means to end so I can do the things I actually want to do – like get totally filthy and saturated. Then sit around in damp bike kit, drinking cider at Little Creatures Dining Hall while my companions had a pint.

Sunday was another go-round of the Emerald Bakery Loop. The something bad of this was the stretch between Emerald and Kallista. I have no idea what happened but I was really suffering. I dropped further and further behind, I was gasping for breath and my legs felt like they were about to fall off. It was so incredibly hard and I still don’t know how I managed to get up the really tough section (3kms at about 7 – 9%). I felt sick and exhausted but somehow I did it. I wonder if the climbing is ever going to get easier or if it’ll always be this hard for me. Something good was that I had someone drop behind to stay with me for most of it so I had a wheel to follow.

Still, I had a ball flying down The Wall. When I hit 70km/h I figured I should probably slow down a bit as I was overtaking quite a few people, riders who had been 3 – 5 minutes ahead of me. Got to one corner and all I could smell was burning brake pads from the person who had gone through previously. Every time I get to the bottom of a descent like this I always have the biggest smile on my face. It’s an awesome feeling.

The descent down to Montrose was amazing as always. I don’t think I braked once and I managed to pick and stay on some excellent lines through the corners. I love it, just love it. Thinking about it now is making me smile. There’s nothing like the sensation of speed and the world flying past in a green blur. All those tiny movements you make on the bike which make it lean and shift with you. The bike feels like it’s a part of you, that it’s alive. It’s joy, pure and simple.

Something bad (work) countered by something good (bike and an unexpected development in my private life). The universe likes balance so I suppose this is the way it’ll always be.