8/28/2017

Why I’ll be spending my golden years with my golden girls


Kiran Aldridge and her friends are in their 40s and none of them have children. They have decided to buy a house together, where they can pool resources, skills and a yoga teacher – and never be lonely

I have a group of female friends and we are all in our early 40s. None of us have children. We have known each other for what seems to be an eternity; we went to college together, and then visited each other at different universities and remained good friends. I clearly see a timeline of our conversations throughout the years: how we stayed up all night studying for exams fuelled by copious amounts of Red Bull and Hula Hoops; how we compared notes of the first time we dabbled with drugs at university; we talked of the hedonistic parties we attended and the hearts crushed by an array of unsuitable partners. These days, as well as discussing the healing powers of yoga and green tea, a new topic of conversation has entered our midst like a brick through the now-opaque window of our youth: who will look after us in our old age?

I feel we have reached an age where this question can no longer be swatted like an annoying fly. It needs to be answered, or at least wrapped up and packaged like an unwanted gift. It is assumed that, if you have children, getting help in your older years is easy. But what if you don’t have children to help you chug along when life becomes tough? Who will look after you then?

There are myriad reasons why none of us had children; some made conscious decisions not to, others did not. Regardless of reasons, we are all in the same position of facing what will certainly be the most challenging times of our lives, in terms of physical capabilities, without children. This makes me feel a little disconcerted. I told a friend who has three children. I got an unexpected response: “You don’t have kids so they could help you in your old age!” To do so would be a selfish motivation, she added. I asked her why she had children. “I wanted to have my own family,” she said. I asked her why, and she said: “I wanted to be surrounded by love.” I questioned whether her own motivation to have children was an altruistic one....more