Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Old Girls and New Tricks October 25, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

I trained for and completed my first triathlon when I was 43. A good friend earned her black belt at 47. A gal I know picked up a paintbrush for the first time after retiring from a decades-long career and became a successful landscape artist in her 70s. Recently, another brave friend and her classmates showed a gathering of a few hundred guests how real women (with curves) dance traditional hula.*

I think our youth-obsessed society is under the misconception that courage is the domain of people under 30. They party, they experiment, they go on reality TV shows. But I disagree. I think real daring rears its beautiful head around the age of 39. I see it in so many of my friends, as they finally pursue long-held dreams or take new risks, whether it be diving out of a plane or going back to school and changing careers. I think it’s a combination of finally letting go of caring what other people think about us, along with renewed desire to try new things and a dash of fatalism—life is too short, let’s do this now!

I also believe we childfree women have a huge advantage. We don’t have to worry about what will happen to the kids if we end up in a cast and pretty much useless for 6 weeks. We don’t worry about embarrassing our teenagers. We have time on our hands and money not earmarked for someone else’s college education. We can’t use sleep deprivation and PTA commitments as excuses for not chasing our dreams.

If you’re looking for inspiration, read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love or Julia Child’s My Life in France, both memoirs of childfree women who took big chances and dramatically reinvented their lives while their peers were shopping for strollers. Or watch Under the Tuscan Sun, Julie & Julia (based in part on Child’s book), or Last Holiday starring Queen Latifah for more stories about childfree women who dedicate their free time and passion to creating beautiful homes, beautiful foods, and beautiful lives.

Get creative, follow your bliss, explore what makes you curious, discover the blessings of a childfree life. This week, I have three words for you: Go For It!

*I want to note that these women took classes three times a week for two years to prepare for their debut. Their performance was beautiful, and I am in awe of these women and their devotion to the artistry of hula.

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’s signing up for gardening and French classes.

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7 Responses to “It Got Me Thinking…About Old Girls and New Tricks”

  1. Red Nelly Says:

    I’m only 30 but getting used to the fact I might be childless when I grow up. So I’m always on the look out for alternative role models and will definitely check out your recommendations. Thanks very much!

  2. Ficelle Says:

    Another year & I’m facing the big 4-0 & that is exactly where I am now. A little paralyzed to start something new, I still need to find my inspiration, a project & go for it (it’s always harder to find what it is to go for)! Sometimes it is also as difficult to be a prisoner of freedom. Happy for those who find & chase their dreams!

  3. CiCi Says:

    Currently taking Spanish classes. Next up, I’m going to learn to sew. I’ve got a whole list of things that I’m going to do … just for fun … just for me 🙂

  4. Rerah Says:

    Julia Child’s “My Life in France” is therapy for me–a reminder to focus on the blessings I have and to be fearless in the pursuit of my goals. I reread it when I need a pick me up!

  5. Jenn Says:

    Great article. Like Ficelle, I am approaching 40, child-free, and newly-separated. Feeling a bit paralyzed as well, I am trying to determine what my inspiration will be. Thanks for confirming that things can only get better.


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