More and more women these days are choosing to live life on their own terms and couldn't care less about what society expects of them.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on February 17, 2022. It has since been updated.
Throughout their lives, women are burdened with societal expectations that take a lot of liberty with their personal rights. From expecting girls to only show interest in stereotypical "girly" things, "preserving their virginity" for their lawfully wedded husband and shaming young women for exploring their sexuality to attempting to strip them of their reproductive rights and judging those who choose to deviate from the marriage-then-kids life plan shoved into their hands, most communities are built on the foundation of controlling how women live their lives. However, these days, more and more women are choosing to take the choices of their lives into their own hands and couldn't care less about what others expect of them.
This refreshing and promising change of attitude became abundantly clear through the responses to a query shared with the r/AskWomen Reddit community. "Women who didn't follow the social norm of getting married & having kids - what are you doing instead?" asked u/-Penguin_Anxiety- who clarified that they are also a woman who is "just looking for some hope as the social norm is not on the cards for" them.
Here are 25 of the most powerful responses that came in:
"Halfway to a paid-off house, living with my animals, successful in my career, dating someone that may or may not develop into something long term. There are more pros than cons for me to not being married with kids (and possibly divorced) in my 40s." — maybenotrelevantbut
"It just so happens that not doing those things gives me the freedom and disposable income to do a lot of other things that I do want to do.
I can sleep till whenever, go out on a whim, travel, run my business, play computer games, afford to buy a flat in the most beautiful city in the world (highly biased, but I guess it's my opinion that counts on that one haha). It's bliss for me, but I have friends who went the other direction and absolutely thrive with their lifestyles too!" — lumpytuna
"I'm 46. I enjoy playing video games with my husband of almost 20 years, reading, sewing, trying to learn crochet... In spring, summer and autumn my husband and I enjoy going for walks, looking at nature and such. It probably doesn't sound like much, but to us, this is the best stuff ever. Low stress, low worries, low impact on most other people." — Incogneatovert
"I don't understand this mindset of 'instead.' Deciding not to be partnered or procreate doesn't mean that there's some gaping void that needs to be filled by something else. I'm just out here living my life." — mistypee
"Being a full person who isn't defined by what she provides for other people?" — HonestThoreauAway
"Getting two degrees, working my ass off at a job I genuinely love even though it's intense and stressful! I'm also helping my parents as they get older, building a bunch of furniture, writing silly sh*t to unwind, and chilling with my cats. I did have a very brief period of being married (which I didn't tolerate for long)." — scared_nursling
"I'm 60, never got married, never had kids. What have I done instead? Lived my best life. It's been fantastic, so far.
Had a successful career. Launched a successful second career in my 40s. Retired early (which I never could have done with a spouse and children). Traveled all over the world when I was younger. Indulged all my hobbies (reading, quilting, cooking, gaming). As someone else so aptly put it: Whatever the f*ck I want." — mosselyn
"Everything disallowed by nap schedules, diaper genies, bed/bath routines, potty training, paying for childcare, school pickups/drop-offs, homework, attitude, Driver’s Ed, endless sporting or performance practices/games/events, or the never-ending/omnipresent fucking CONSTANT NOISE... and that’s not to touch on the insane financial drain, psychotic exhaustion, resentment of a spouse who I likely only married because of the kids, reminders of a so-called 'biological clock,' and ruining your life and bending to the ever-present entitlement for a little person who you will definitely love but may or may not even like very much. PASS.
I'm well-rested and my Roth IRA is well-fed." — BetaNatalis
"Living my best life? I always wanted kids, but I have been unlucky in love and having children is not something I want to do on a solo salary with me as the only caretaker. Unfortunately, the older I get the less patience I have with men. I have stopped dating during the pandemic and I don't know if I will ever start up again! I have so many hetero friends in unhappy marriages where the women work full time, run the household, and are basically the only children caregiver. There are so many memes about married men acting like giant children so I feel I may have dodged a bullet. I'm sad I won't get to be a mom, but I think it's for the best. I don't want to 'raise' an adult or be disrespected by a man who is perfectly capable in the workplace but decides to tune me out in the running of our home.
So I do what I want and I'm really freaking happy. I own my own home, I have two degrees, I take lots of trips with my friends, have hobbies, love my job and coworkers, and dote on my nieces. It’s a great life!" — adjur