On Being Childless: What should life be like?

by Brandi Lytle
Photo of three light bulbs with question marks on them on "On Being Childless: What should life be like?" on Not So Mommy..., an infertility & childless blog
Possible Triggers:  Discussion of marriage, anniversaries, and more…

As childless, we often say that life didn’t turn out like we expected.  In other words, this isn’t how life should be.  Well, that got me to thinking…  What should life be like?

On Anniversaries…

In December 2020, Dane and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.  So, what should an anniversary be like?  Should it include flowers?  Gifts?  A fancy dinner?  Fancy clothes?  Dancing?  Movies?  Dessert?


Over the past 20 years, here’s what our anniversary has looked like…

  • We’ve exchanged small gifts, big gifts, and no gifts at all.
  • We’ve gone out to the fanciest of restaurants and stayed in to cook a special meal at home.
  • Some years, we got all dressed up.  And other years, we wore comfy clothes.
  • One year, we were in the hospital, as Dane recovered from surgery.
  • Another year, I was sick.  And Dane was studying for finals.
  • Last year, we barely had time to celebrate because of our remodel.
  • And three years ago, we weren’t even in the same state.

But you know what?  ALL of these were anniversaries.  Whether we were together or apart, having a fancy meal or pizza, opening gifts or just spending time together, we acknowledged that we made it another year.  And we made sure that we knew we loved each other.

Our 20th…

For our 20th anniversary, Dane brought home a little box.  To be honest, I was not expecting a gift.  So, the little, blue box was a lovely surprise.  Inside was a tulip ring.  Those of you who are my age or older might remember these rings.  They were quite popular when I was in my teens.  In fact, I owned several.  But I hadn’t seen one in years…

Despite the fact that tulip rings are no longer at the height of fashion, I adore this piece of jewelry that Dane picked out especially for me.  A piece of jewelry that he chose because it has pink stones.

Dane didn’t know which finger I’d want to wear my new ring on, so he didn’t get it sized.  It was small, fitting only on myPhoto of my non-traditional wedding set on Not So Mommy..., an infertility & childless blog pinky finger.  As I looked at it next to my wedding band, I made a decision.  I wanted to get my tulip ring sized to fit my ring finger and wear it alongside my wedding ring.

Now, some might think this is a bit odd.  I mean, a tulip ring certainly isn’t a traditional engagement or wedding ring.  But our life is non-traditional.  So, why shouldn’t my wedding set be non-traditional, as well?

What should life be like?

One of my absolute favorite quotes…

What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be…

I can’t give credit because I’m not sure who said this.  But aren’t these words profound?!

At the beginning of this post, I asked the question, “What should life be like?”  Should we all be married with kids?  Celebrating anniversaries with a fancy dinner in fancy clothes?  Wearing wedding rings made of only gold and diamonds?

Well, if that’s what life should be like, then there are a lot of people who don’t fit the mold!

My Thoughts…

My thoughts about what should life be like…

Well, as my fabulous flamingo friend Nicci Fletcher says…  Let’s live a CANBACE life–Creating A New, Beautiful And Courageous Existence!

Let’s throw out the “should be,” fabulous ones, and scribble outside the lines!

*In the first post of 2021, I embraced a fabulous one’s assertion that we should “scribble outside the lines.”  You can read that post here.

If anything I said resonates with you, fabulous one, please tell us about it in the comments.  (You can simply use an initial rather than your name, if you wish to remain anonymous.)
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Featured Photo:  Created by me, using Canva

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Faith Barton January 26, 2021 - 10:02 am

Hi there
I really like your blog and would like to feel we have things in common, I too am married 20 years in November 2020.
I enjoy writing to process emotion and circumstances.
How would I identify to our tribe? Childless not by choice? / childfree by circumstances? Both of the above, one after the other. “Finding joy despite”, most definately and i love that phrase.
Myself and husband are both Christians, I chose to stay in my marriage rather than leaving him to have children. It’s along those lines!
I’m 47 this March and a dog mum for 7 years!
Blessed and accepting and moving forward seeing all the positives of which there are so many.

Love, Faith x x x

Brandi Lytle January 26, 2021 - 10:08 am

Faith, it does sound like we have much in common. 🙂

I love that you are willing to use many words/phrases to describe yourself. I believe words have power, and we must each find the ones that help us accept, embrace, redefine, move forward… Next week, I’m going to talk more about my perspective on childless vs childfree. Perhaps that post will resonate with you, as well…

Hugs, fellow warrior! Despite the circumstances that brought you here, I am so grateful you are a part of this community!

Mali January 12, 2021 - 7:39 pm

Congratulations on your 20th Anniversary! That is indeed worth celebrating. And I absolutely agree that you should wear whatever you want with a wedding band. I have no time for traditions that don’t allow us to adapt.

Brandi Lytle January 13, 2021 - 2:28 pm

Thank you for your kind words and validation, Mali! I truly appreciate your support! 🙂

Nicci Fletcher January 12, 2021 - 12:34 pm

What a lovely blog Brandi containing so many wonderful thoughts. Life is what we make out of it and it is up to us to choose to make the most of what we have got/been given rather than focus on what we don’t have. My CANBACE life now includes moving to Mexico during a global pandemic. I recently shared an update on some of the challenges we had faced over the last few weeks. A friend I have know since we were both 4 years old responded with: ” When life gives you lemons, my friend, you seem to turn them to lemonade or maybe even limoncello! ” Love it!

As for unconventional engagement rings …. Andrew bought my ring when he was in Afghanistan. It contains a large purple stone, he was told was a local Amethyst and set in a rustic gold mount. When the “gold” started to discolour my finger we took it to our jeweler to be reset. I am now the proud owner of the most expensive piece of purple glass you could imagine. However, the ring is more precious to me than other pieces that are “real”.

So here’s to turning more lemons into lemonchello!

Brandi Lytle January 12, 2021 - 2:12 pm

Thank you for sharing about your engagement ring! Your story made me smile! I love the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make grape juice. Then, sit back and watch as the world wonders how you did it…” Pretty fitting with your purple ring! 🙂

Sherry January 11, 2021 - 5:06 pm

Life is very rarely exactly as we planned, but that only makes the journey more interesting. Your ring is lovely and looks perfect with your diamond band. It is extra, extra special because the two most important men in your life chose them. Doesn’t get more meaningful than that!❤💚💜

Brandi Lytle January 12, 2021 - 2:06 pm

Exactly! I may have to write another blog explaining that both my wedding bands were yours originally… Talk about redefining!


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