Earlier this week, I had to attend a few all day offsites for work. This meant, among other things, having to spend gobs of quality time with my coworkers.
I mostly enjoy my coworkers. I am fortunate enough to work with incredibly smart, passionate people. These are my two favorite qualities, so this mostly works out.
Mostly. Did you notice how many times I used that word? Because there are exceptions.
After a morning brainstorming session, my team had lunch together. I was sitting at a table with a colleague who is getting married soon, and Myna. (Some of you may remember her from an earlier post.) For the purposes of this post, let’s call said colleague Grebe.
Myna: So do you and your fiance want children?
Grebe: No, not really.
Myna: You’ll feel differently once you’re married.
Grebe: I don’t think so. Neither of us want kids.
Myna: But I’m sure if you found yourself pregnant, you’d want to have children.
Grebe: I’m 36 years old. I’ve managed not to get pregnant so far, and I don’t think there is a big chance I’ll “find myself pregnant” anytime soon.
OH. MY. GOD.
This woman is legit nuts. What was Myna hoping to accomplish? I mean, how was Grebe supposed to answer that last question? “If I found myself pregnant, I’d probably give it up for adoption. Or abort it. Yes, I think my reproductive choices are perfectly acceptable things to talk about over lunch with colleagues.”
“If you just happen to find yourself pregnant, you’d want them.” Um, no. Not necessarily. There could be any number of reasons that Grebe and her manfriend don’t want kids. Maybe she can’t have them. Maybe he can’t have them. Maybe one of them is a carrier for some crazy genetic disorder that they don’t want to pass on.
Or maybe they just don’t want to have kids.
This is not an affront to humanity. And most of all, it is none of her business.
I am offended by this, even though I do want children. Myna was so intent on making Grebe agree with her that she couldn’t fathom that her questions might be hurtful to Grebe (or the innocent bystanders at the table. Ahem.)
It is amazing to me how hard it is for some people to accept that not everyone wants their life. Myna has two kids, and they are the center of her life. She is flatout in love with her children, which is lovely. But this doesn’t mean that everyone wants what she has– or can even attain it.
I know this. You know this. But what is it with people who need their lives validated by EVERYONE ELSE? And if you happen to choose differently, you’re obviously wrong. Or you don’t know any better. Because if you just happened to find yourself living their lives, you’d realize what you’ve been missing all along.
Luckily, I’ve come to realize that I have a choice when these conversations spring up.
I got up and left the table. By the time I came back, the plates and the intrusive assumptions had been cleared.