Do you ever wonder what Childfree Life really looks and feels like?
Sure, there are the party days of your 20s & 30s (which we both crushed by the way!) but what happens when things start to "slow down" at 50?
Is fun still a priority? Does the worry about the elder years increase or decrease? Does regret set in or fade into oblivion? Is building community with new childfree friends possible?
We share answers and insights to all of this PLUS, wecover topics that matter to all of us- health and wellness, relationships, investments, career, travel and lots more!
We dive deep into a childfree man's (Rick) personal childfree journey. Discover how his upbringing shaped his views on parenthood, hear about his past relationships, and the close call with the 'I'll have a baby if you want one' dilemma. We'd love to hear what topics you'd like us to explore in future childfree podcast episodes!
Rick: Hey, babe.
Veronica: Hello. Good morning.
Rick: Is it? Maybe not. It's 25 in the afternoon. I'm realizing that before we start these, I need to like stretch. I know
Veronica: there's a whole prep thing going on. And I am particularly feeling I was in a cleanse for five days. I know you just came out of it. I just came out of it. I had a piece of toast and egg this morning and I'm feeling good.
I'm feeling good. I was struggling last night. I was very much
Veronica: Very much. Okay. I got a really bad headache, but I get headaches a lot, but yeah, so I'm happy to be back in the eating world. Good. But it's my transition day, so I'm going to take it really slow.
Rick: And we celebrated by going out to get some breakfast. And I got to say, well, not really breakfast, but coffee, we got coffee to the farmer's market.
And then we went and got coffee [00:01:00] and I'm starting to, you know, how, so I have an addictive personality. We can get into that sometime. But like, you know, that going out and exploring all these new coffee shops. I'm taking my addiction to a whole new level because, you know, it's used to, we're used to going downstairs, grabbing coffee or in the building.
And now I'm like, Ooh, there's all these new spots. Turn me on today when we went to that place. Yeah, it was
Veronica: great. And what's good about this place is that they have really healthy coffee options and they add up. All these crazy adaptogens to it. So not only does it taste delicious, but it's all these goodies added to it.
So that was fun. It was delicious. It really was. Exactly. So we're back on track. I am back in our kitchen.
Rick: Yeah. We're back in our kitchen. That's why I did stretching. Cause we have no, um, we have no, uh, Backs to these stools. Yes, exactly. The funny story, when we first met, I had this long hair and [00:02:00] Veronica never said anything about my hair.
You know, I was just kind of going, going with this long hair look. And at one point I'd say with a couple of weeks,
Veronica: yeah, at the most. Two weeks. I think I was pretty vocal about it, right? Two
Rick: weeks. Yeah, it took. And then she looked at me and she kind of looked up at my hair and she goes, what's the hair plan?
And I thought that was a really nice way of saying, I'm not into your hair. Not vibing on that at all. And I'm starting to get worried because I'm growing my hair out along. By the way, we're on YouTube. If you want to listen to us there, you can watch us on there too. But my hair is growing out long and I'm starting to get like worried you're going to ask that question again.
No, I mean, I have
Veronica: nothing. I think that. When we first started dating, there was like just, it was really confusing to me what was trying to happen because you were trying to get this like really long flowy Brad Pitt hair that you had seen. Was it Brad Pitt or David Beckham?
Rick: Let me just, let me just give a quick story about this.
Okay. So when I was a kid, I was obsessed with the show. 21 Jump Street. Yeah, they've made movies about that. So I think a lot of people that [00:03:00] listen, they're listening to this can relate to it. So Johnny Depp played the main character in 21 Jump Street and he had this like flowy hair that dangled in front of his eye.
And he was like this mysterious guy. It was
Veronica: like this bad boy. Mysterious boy.
Rick: Yeah. I didn't understand. The way I looked and how my hair was styled and the texture of my hair and my personality, frankly, I'll never achieve that, but I was convinced like I'm going to be this mysterious guy in high school and everyone's going to love, like all the girls are going to come after you're going to wear a leather jacket, leather jacket and be so cool.
And then it was like, it almost took me until like a couple of years ago to realize that I'm just a big nerd and there's no way I'm ever going to be that bad boy. Right? I'm never going to have that hair. I'm never going to have that mystique. Right. But I need to just shut it
Veronica: down. You do. But also we've had conversations that that's not who you are.
And that's not who I thought you were at any point.
Rick: So no one did except [00:04:00] me. If I like dream like state, you know, it's a good lesson for those who are listening. Just be who you are. And most people are, I think, genuinely. And I just struggled with that as a young person
Veronica: and very dorky. And that's just so endearing.
And that's a big part of why I love you so much. So yeah, you got to just ride with that. Yeah, I'm
Rick: just, I'm really embracing everything who I am and that the good and the bad. Yeah,
Veronica: yeah. But the hair looks good. So no worries
Rick: on that. And bad is subjective because, you know, bad for me is dorkiness, but I guess I'm, I'm starting to like it a lot more.
I should say. For sure. Of
Veronica: course. So I'm excited about today because we are going to focus on you.
Rick: And what a great way to open because we're talking about me and my hair problems. Your favorite topic. So now we get to talk about me. Yeah. Today, today we're going to focus on me. I remember you telling me that.
Veronica: I think it's really important to get a child free man's perspective, especially because you're 51, especially because you've experienced a lot. We only started [00:05:00] dating seven years ago. So there's a whole history of dating prior to me. And there's just a lot that went on. And I think that you've come a really long way from when we first first started talking about this topic to really understanding the foundation of it to really understanding what it's all about.
So I just, I think I want to start in the beginning and then just work our way forward to see how you landed where you are today. All right. So let's start with, um, telling our listeners where you grew up, where you're
Rick: from. So I grew up in the D. C. Virginia area. I only say that because we're about right across the river, the Potomac River.
So Fairfax County, Virginia. Um, and yeah, I pretty much lived there my whole life. I mean, we bounced around. We were in Pittsburgh for a little while and when I was really young and but mostly mostly in D. C. Okay,
Veronica: so what was your [00:06:00] home life like? And what I mean by that is, was it a traditional home? Um, you can share with the listeners how many siblings you had and just in general what it was like for you growing up.
Rick: consider it traditional. I had two stepbrothers, two half brothers. Um, so my, I had a stepfather. And of course, my biological mother and, um, yeah, so they had two kids and then my stepfather had two kids who brought into the family. So that was really the dynamic is our family structure. I would say it was traditional.
It was in my mind, very religious, but not so much anymore. Now that I look back, I mean, I felt like religion was there, but I felt like it was just, let's do this for the family. So you know what I mean? Like, it's good to have this in the family, less like strict, you need to believe this. And this is. Part of your life and this is going to carry you through and keep you going.
You know, I didn't have that feeling from the religion standpoint, but yeah, I would say mostly traditional. Yeah. And
Veronica: they'll also traditional as far as your parents roles in [00:07:00] the
Rick: household. My dad was a, he was an intern, it was an attorney. My mom was a stay at home mom, you know, she took care of the five of us.
Um, you know, so it was in that sense, very traditional. and.
Veronica: Taking to school and doing all those sorts
Rick: of mom was doing, you know, the day to day errands. My dad traveled a lot. You know, I call him. He's my stepfather. I call him my dad. I didn't really I've never met my real father. So he raised me. Um, so my dad traveled a lot too.
He was a international contract lawyer. So he was constantly on the road. So, yeah, my mom was really taking raising us all.
Veronica: So when your dad was home, and I know that things have changed over the years, but I'm just wondering when your dad was home back when you were growing up, did he step into the, any of the role that your mom was in charge of?
Like, was he helping with lunches or activities or drop offs or anything or anything like that? Or was it [00:08:00] very much like he works, he's making the money and he doesn't want to really be bothered while he's home with all these responsibilities surrounding the children? Because there was five of you.
Rick: Yeah, rarely he did all that.
He did any of that. Um, but, you know. I think it was like, like I said earlier, he traveled a lot. So he wasn't around, um, he was more of the traditional disciplinarian, you know, he came in, he, you know, he ruled with the iron fist, you know, we got, we got the spankings from this, he actually had a paddle called his fraternity paddle was called the board of education.
So when we did something wrong, we had to like line up and get there. I laugh at it now. I know it's not funny anymore, but like back then that was normal, you know, I'm 51, so that was like a normal thing. I don't fault him, but you know what? My dad taught me to work really hard. Like he definitely made some good money back then and we could have easily skated through life, but you know, we were out there doing, he never hired anyone to do our [00:09:00] yard work or do anything.
We were out there doing the yard work. We were. getting jobs. The minute we could get our worker's permit, we were, you know, he taught us hard work. And I tell him that all the time to this day. He's a very good person. He just, you know, was really a traditional type of dad. So
Veronica: what do you, why do you think he was like that?
Do you, do you know? I mean, was your grandfather the
Rick: same? I think it was a childhood thing. I'm sure he, the way he was raised was very similar. I mean, I would say a lot of us are in sense. I mean, we've had moments that I've talked and you're like, wow, I hear your dad, just the tone of his dad. My dad was very militant.
Sometimes I can act like that. I'm not even blood related to him. I've picked up on some of that stuff. I mean, it's environmental. You know, I, I'm not making an excuse, but I do think we inherit these things.
Veronica: Yeah, no, of course. Absolutely. So here you are, you're living in, uh, suburban Virginia. And when do you think you started to think about the future, right?
Like, I'm going [00:10:00] to get married, buy a house, like all those thoughts, were those thoughts something that you looked forward to in high school? When did you start college? When did you start having those thoughts? If I didn't, if you did,
Rick: yeah, I didn't. I think for me, there was just a lot of confusion of figuring out who I was.
So I wasn't thinking about my future. I wasn't thinking about my career. I was focusing on, you know, getting through life. I mean, it was very hard for me, you know, kind of this disjointed family. I have dyslexia. So. School was very tough for me, and they didn't even discover that till later. So I was
Veronica: struggling with ADHD.
Rick: Yeah, you know, that was never even diagnosed back then. So until recently, but so, you know, school was tough. I, you know, I was, I didn't, wasn't in the. Popular quote unquote crowd, you know, I, I, I just kind of was in the middle of the ground. Average students, C level struggling with who I was not quite sure how I fit into [00:11:00] this family.
So that's what that was my focus because that's like what's front facing every day, you
Veronica: know, And that's why you were so obsessed with like the cool people on TV, right? Because you It was inside exactly the opposite. Right. We're always trying to reach this level of a human being that you could just didn't feel and couldn't, like you were aspiring to something that you just weren't.
Rick: Yeah. Well, I didn't know who I was, so I figured if I see somebody else. Doing something that looks cool or looks make sense. Another, uh, for anyone remembers, uh, I don't know if anyone remembers this, but there's a show called Family Ties and Michael P. Keaton was Michael J. Fox. Michael J. Fox. I think our listeners are going to have to Google these things.
Yeah, Family Ties is a very popular sitcom and Michael J. Fox played, um, Michael P. Keaton. I think his name was and he was really smart. And I remember thinking, Oh, I want to be like, I want to be really smart. So I,
Veronica: but I [00:12:00] wasn't, I was, so
Rick: I was finding all these different characters on TV. And that's why I do what I do.
Cause I was obsessed with television and I was finding all these different characters on TV and I was trying to emulate their personalities. And that's really why I wasn't able to find myself sooner than later. It wasn't even until recently. I mean, I was doing that. Into my adulthood, even into my, you know, till recently, like I
Veronica: said, yeah, no, of course.
So you go to college, you start working. Um, and at this point, obviously you're dating and you've dated for a while. Who do you remember when you started dating? Probably someone that you thought was serious, right? And we take that Yeah. With a grain of salt, because I mean, I thought I was serious with my freshman year in high school boyfriend, right?
Like we all see serious as you know, we're going to be together forever. And we're going to live together. But I'm saying as an adult, right? Maybe like late 20s, early 30s, you're starting to date [00:13:00] women and potentially the conversation of, um, Let's have a baby or we're definitely going to have a baby.
Maybe not now, but that's in the future. When did these conversations for you start to happen? So
Rick: they were late. So obviously, you know, you have that puppy dog love in high school and then you have college and that's like a whole different party love, you know, for me, I won't say for everyone. Um, and then it really wasn't until later.
When I got engaged and I really was, I really, I guess it was relationship adulting to my, in my mind, even though I, on a mature level, I was not ready, but I was, I thought I was, of course, right?
Veronica: Not ready for what?
Rick: For not ready for marriage to take on this potential responsibility to having kids because she was very vocal that she wanted kids.
But and you know, and I just thought that's what you do. And I know we'll talk a little bit about that because that's come up a lot. But yeah. I would it was late for me. I would say that in the 2000s for me and you know, I was born in 71. [00:14:00] So that took that's a that's a big gap before I started realizing what relationships are all about and and what, you know, learning that was a very, that was a very good learning relationship for me.
Veronica: So, what was your feeling about kids prior to that, prior to even getting to the point where you're discussing, like, potentially having them? What was your relationship with surrounding yourself with children, babysitting, changing diapers? What, what was your
Rick: experience? My brothers were young, I have two younger brothers, so all of that was just pegged as completely annoying, and I did not want anything to do with it.
So that was and that's the truth as far as having kids and that feeling of like, okay, how do kids fit into my life into the future? Right? Wait, wait, wait,
Veronica: wait. I want to go back. So you thought your little brothers were annoying and you saw what I guess your mom was taking care of. And so did your mom ever say like, Oh, can you change so and so cyber for [00:15:00] me?
Or can you change? And then You had to do it? Or did you just
Rick: pass? I tried and I would mess it up on purpose because I didn't like it. And, you know, and she would be like, you can't do it. And eventually I just stopped doing it. Okay. But my mom again did a lot of that. But yeah, I tried a couple of times.
That was awful. I mean, I remember changing diapers, but they weren't they weren't anything. Yeah, I'm about as far as yeah.
Veronica: Did you ever babysit? I don't think I've ever asked
Rick: you that babysat my brothers, but I never did any like other neighborhood babysitting or anything like that.
Veronica: And then what about when you were in your 20s?
Did you have kids around at all? Did you have? Not really.
Rick: Okay. Not really. I, I wasn't surrounded by outside of my family. I, I wasn't really surrounded by a lot of children. I mean, it's weird cause we grew up in the suburbs where there's typical
Veronica: family imagining neighbors with toddlers and you
Rick: know, yeah, I mean, I think if [00:16:00] they were there, like I said, I just wasn't paying any attention to them, but it wasn't consciously not paying attention to them.
It was just like. Okay, they're not my age,
Veronica: right, right. And I think I remember talking to you about this when we started dating because I don't believe that you spent a lot of time with kids, which is fine. A lot of people don't get to do it because they're just not around. Like you said. But at any point, I don't think you've spent a significant amount of time with children as far as playing with them, as far as spending time with them.
Maybe it's more of when, when your brothers started to have kids that you would see them once in a blue for a holiday or something like that. But other than that, you didn't really get to have a relationship with any children and also. What I noticed the first time that we went to visit your family and you have so many nieces and nephews was that you Feel a little bit [00:17:00] uncomfortable around them, which I think a lot of people in our community feel as well Tell me about that.
Rick: Yeah, I just I don't know how to act You know, it's not just about how you hold a baby and all that stuff. I get there's mechanics to that. And, you know, listen to me, mechanics. I'm so like, I'm so, I've so like no parenting in there. It's just doesn't exist, but like, you know, I. My mom would show me how you hold baby and stuff, but I didn't feel like there was, I didn't know how to connect.
I didn't, you know, I felt a little ridiculous going like, you know, that whole like baby
Veronica: talk thing. But even older, right? Like, I feel like it's not uncommon for people to feel this way, to feel...
Rick: In general or the child free
Veronica: community? For the child free community. Okay. And, um, maybe men more so. I'm not going to make that assumption because I don't know, but it's a possible.
that, but also we've had plenty of women tell us that they feel this way too. So that it's, it's uncomfortable being around children and you don't [00:18:00] know how to interact with them. Like the common question is like, so what are you doing in school? You know, and if you think back to when we were kids, I hated those questions and I hate it when there was like, Adults that I didn't really spend a lot of time with around and would like I have to answer these like ridiculous It's always like how is school going, right?
So I I do notice that you it's it's a little harder for you to find your ground with children But I do find that once you get comfortable, like if it's a few days, then when we visited your family, you find that you're like, you know, cause you remember, like, they're just people that are,
Rick: I certainly find my lane eventually, you know, and, and then I really get into it.
Like I do love kids. It's just that, that, that first part is really rough for me.
Veronica: So we can say that it's definitely not your jam, but it's also something that you can find yourself working into. Although like I think maybe not with [00:19:00] just random kids. I think that with your nieces and nephews because you love them so much like you end up finding it.
Yeah. Okay. So we know that your history as far as like Being surrounded by kids was minimal. Your experience with kids is really minimal as far as what to do or how to talk to them. So now you're in this relationship. We're going to go back to that. You're, um, you're engaged or getting engaged and your partner at the time is set on having children.
And what was your How did that conversation go? Was it even a conversation? How did that happen? Do you
Rick: remember? Yeah, so, I mean, it was pretty much, this is what I want, and... From her. From her. Yeah,
Veronica: sorry. And what was your reaction? Okay. So, at the time... Sorry, go ahead. I
Rick: was going to say, but inside, fear. Okay, complete fear.
Veronica: tell me more about that fear
Rick: of fear of at the looking back. [00:20:00] I didn't want Children, but I didn't know it because I assume that's what you do. Right? And I think that subconsciously, whatever you want to call it. Deep down I knew because I had this feeling of like fear like I didn't I wasn't looking forward to it I was like, oh, this is what I have to do.
This is gonna change my life I don't want to do this, but I have to do it for her or else I'm gonna lose her So it was like it was very powerful feeling that I was pushing down Yeah,
Veronica: and, um, and you know, when you tell me that it's really interesting because I don't think you're the only one that has done that or maybe is doing that right now and well, you just said I was fear that maybe she would leave you.
Did she say that if we don't have kids, this isn't going to work out or was it just an assumption that you were
Rick: making? She... Never said that, but I don't think she never got pushback from me. So why would she ask me? Oh,
Veronica: right. Because you were just like, yeah, let's have one. Of
Rick: course. I was like, [00:21:00] we're going to do this.
You know, if this is what you want, we'll have kids. But I knew, not just the kids part. I knew we were not a good match. But I was, you know, it was square peg, round hole thing. I was trying to make it work and that folded into this as well. So it was the future of what that looks like. But I was so in love, you know, I was just like, I'll do anything.
We'll have kids. We'll. I'll, I'll sacrifice everything that I'm feeling from a fear standpoint and concern, and, and I will do it just because I don't want to lose you. Right. And that was just a, it's a horrible place to be, and no one should be in that position when they're making a big decision about
Veronica: having a partner for life.
time, it sounds like you weren't really think about it. You weren't really thinking about it as a choice that you needed to make, whether you needed to have Children, whether Children would be the right step for you. It was as if your personal choice and opinion was really not [00:22:00] on the table. Is that right?
Rick: Right. And remember, this all stems from what we were talking about earlier. I was coming into this relationship with all these insecurities. I still didn't know who I was. I was still trying to be somebody that I wasn't, and it wasn't fair to her. I don't blame her at all. It was really, you know, mostly my fault.
I look at looking back, she knew who she was, um, who she was. Yeah. And it was just, it was, so I was unbalanced and out of place and, you know, when I was making this big decision and. I assumed I could make it because other things in my life were going well, like I had the career, I was living in New York City, I was doing my thing, so I felt grown up, but I wasn't, you know, and that's really what was happening at that time for me.
Veronica: Yeah, and I think that also gets confusing because of your Financially grown up, right? If you're able to, if adding a child isn't really going to stress you out financially because the finances are [00:23:00] there, then some people may think, okay, I can support them. That's not going to be an issue. And we'll just take it from there.
When you said, yeah, let's do this thing. And you were planning on on having kids. Did at any point, and I think this is important because we have people asking us this, did at any point were you thinking about the day to day responsibilities of having a child, of what that looks like, what that feels like, what that entails, or were you thinking about Well, that's on her.
So I'm not going to stress about that. Yeah,
Rick: I would the latter I mean I was thinking because that's how I grew up my dad traveling and doing his thing So again, here we are repeating the cycle, right? So I just assumed that she would take care of the kids and I'd go out and make the money and I would pay for The nannies if we needed or the whatever, you know which is also so old school and like, you know, [00:24:00] so Yeah, so I guess it was tolerable to make this decision to move forward with this.
It seemed like it would be a light lift from my end and that I'd be able to get through. Yeah.
Veronica: And that's so thank you for being so honest about that because that's what
Rick: we promise on this podcast. We've said it over and over, we are letting you come, there is nothing you can't
Veronica: I know, because it's, it's really interesting because it happens so often, right?
Like the, and I never even heard of like a light lift, but it happens a lot, right? When men say, yeah, let's do this thing if you really want it, it's up to you. And then when the complications arise, right, especially if you don't know if your kid is going to be healthy or not, have mental health issues, have physical health issues, there's so many things that could arise.
That both parents really need to be in the game in order for this to work out. I always wondered and I've heard it from women in our community, but I wonder [00:25:00] if the men feel like, well, this is your thing because you really wanted to do this in the first place. So is that we were saying like the responsibility, their responsibility.
Is much more than yours. So if something arises that was unexpected, this is still more on you because you decided that you wanted to do
Rick: this. Yeah, I would say that I didn't take into consideration all the factors, the bad factors that could Potentially arise.
Veronica: Potential. Potential. It just happens. Yeah,
So, no, I was looking at things through rose colored glasses, as they say. So, like, I wasn't expecting any of that. Certainly wasn't expecting it to really screw up our relationship even more, you know, because we were having a tough time due to everything we've talked about. So I, I actually thought the opposite.
I thought, you know, the kids going to bring us together.
Veronica: I was just going to ask you that because that mindset is still so popular. The
Rick: kid's going to solve the problem. Of [00:26:00] course, looking back now, we know most of the time, I would say, I don't know, maybe all the time. Yeah, it's just adds more challenges to your life.
It doesn't make things easier. Obviously. So, so. Again, you know, I hate that expression dodged a bullet because I do feel like you learn from your experiences, but I am grateful that there was something inside me and I don't think it had to do with having kids, but there was something inside me in that relationship said this is off.
This is off for me. This is off for you. for her. This is not going to end well, right? And there was a lot of self sabotaging going back and forth and we ended up ending it. So there was something in
Veronica: me. It was just an overarching, like this is not, I
Rick: was able to pull together that much maturity to say this is not going to work.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it really felt that way. You know, it felt like this is going to be a light lift. This is going to be an easy thing. I'm not going to have to worry about it. Right. Everything's
Veronica: going to be great.
Rick: Our [00:27:00] baby's going to be healthy. It's going to make us, it's going to. It's going to make us closer.
All of our problems will start to melt away because we have this beautiful soul in front of us, this new baby and, and, and happiness ensues, you know, but that's just, man, that would have really been bad. Yeah,
Veronica: yeah, yeah. No, I was so
Rick: ignorant back
Veronica: then, you know, and, and I think it's also the ignorance is just a lack of, um, education too, right?
Because people don't realize like how. Serious, this huge life altering decision can be, and it's not something, it's not a box that you just check. So it's really important to think this through, but okay. So you got through that relationship and now I'm guessing, what are you in like your mid thirties or?
Yeah, like mid thirties. Okay. So I know you got into another serious relationship, but I'm wondering at this point, I'm thinking that your friends are had kids or are having kids. Correct? Yeah.
Rick: At this point. They started having, they started having
Veronica: kids. [00:28:00] Okay. So what was that like for you when your friends all started having kids at that time?
Rick: three stages. The first stage was I ignored it. I didn't think it would be a big deal. And it wasn't because they were. There were, there were babies and they were, our friendships still remain pretty, you know, consistent to what it used to be prior to them having kids. As far as what? Like,
Veronica: as far as you were able to them?
Rick: out, meeting up at bars, you know, going golfing, you know, reunions, parties, work stuff, you know, all that kind of. Crap. So I ignored it. And then then it was really about it was uncomfortable. I didn't know what the confusion I would say is the word to describe stage two, which is what's happening.
How? Why am I hanging out with my friends that have kids but not having a good time? Now? I love my friends kids, but I wasn't my jam. As you said, that's Yeah, exactly. Um, and so I was like struggling with Connecting those dots,
Veronica: [00:29:00] right? And it's really interesting to me also, because when your friends started having kids and they're just babies, like they're still able to go to the bar and hang out and do all these fun things.
But meanwhile, the mom is home taking care of the baby, right? So in some cases, yeah, maybe, yeah, it's, I mean, if the baby's not with the dad, no, I mean,
Rick: I think, I think they had a, they had a.
Veronica: Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So yeah, so either there's a nanny home or the mom's taking care of the baby, but it's not often that you hear during this baby phase, at least not from my experience that, well, that was all good because they're still coming out and I'm still seeing them, right?
For me, it was the opposite, which I'll talk about another time, but it definitely wasn't, well, they're just babies, so we could still keep. the, the momentum of our friendship going. It's a different experience for sure. Um, so
Rick: after confusion went into acceptance, let's
Veronica: talk about confusion more. What were you confused
Rick: [00:30:00] about?
I didn't understand how to keep our friendships alive. And moreover, I didn't understand how to make new friendships. Okay. So I was already, you know, I had my crew, I had my circle, and it just wasn't, I didn't know how to expand because of all the insecurities, because I'm just used to kind of what I do and the friends I have.
Veronica: you mean that you're noticing the shift as far as they're not calling us much, they can't hang out anymore, is that what you mean? Yeah. Is it something that you didn't expect?
Rick: It's something I didn't expect. I didn't expect that. Interesting. I think it was just confusion, a little anger, you know. I would have a couple drinks, and I would call them up, and I'd be like, meet me out.
And they'd be like, what are you talking about? I'm literally holding my child right now. And I'm like, well, can't she take care of it and just meet me? Again, I sound like an asshole. And maybe I was. You were mean when it sounds like. I was. I was an asshole. I'm sorry. And you know, it was very rough. [00:31:00] That that part.
Veronica: Yeah, no,
Rick: it sounds like it. And I was lonely. I mean, I think I was just lashing out because I was lonely,
Veronica: right? So did you feel at the time that your friends because friendships, which we'll get into in another conversation? Um, there's a lot to talk about there. But just one question is, did you feel that your friends should have Made more of an effort to talk to you, to spend time with you, to see you, to make plans with you.
Back then, yes.
Veronica: Now, no. Okay. Okay. So, so now you're feeling isolated. You're starting to feel isolated. And so what is your solution? Because you're saying you didn't know how to make new friends or build new community. So what did you do?
Rick: So I took that immature approach again, and, um, I went into acceptance mode.
I'll never forget this. So I had a friend, it was, it was like one in the morning. Okay. It was raining outside. [00:32:00] It was in New York. You know, I was on the 50th floor overlooking the city feeling good about my day. Had a great, great day. You know, I'm a live, I was a live television producer. I produced a great show and I was sitting there and I was drinking vodka.
And, and I was like I was, this was my turning point and I called up one of my friends and I did the same thing and I said, Hey, let's talk. I don't even know if I asked him to go out. I think it was like one in the two in the morning. So I was like, just, Hey, I want to talk or let's jump on and play a video game together or something, online video game.
And I just remember this long pause. This person just said, Rick, it's over. I'm worried about you. You need to stop drinking till two in the morning and move on because this is, it's over. And it just hit me. And I know this is more about like the dynamic between me and their family and children and stuff like [00:33:00] that.
But that part. Of my personal addiction and things that we can get into it another time, not on this one, but it was a big wake up call for me and was the beginning of my process of realizing like, okay, not only is the party ended, but you know, the lights are out, everyone's gone home and I'm sitting on the stool outside trying to keep it alive and I just will never forget that moment, right?
And I'm thankful that that person said that and they hung up the phone and you know, I would just sat there alone, right? You know, just, yeah, you know, really Kind of reveling in what that meant.
Veronica: So did that feeling of, okay, everyone's doing the family thing, no one is partying out late, you know, making phone calls at 2, 3 o'clock in the morning, or hitting bars at that time, or whatever the situation was, did it start to make you feel like, I guess I do need to do this thing because I'm just being completely isolated, or still no?
Rick: No, you [00:34:00] mean through this thing,
Veronica: meaning find a kid. Yeah, get married, have kids, move to the
Rick: suburbs. No, it was more of like, I need to take a pause here and really figure out what I'm going to do because I have no social life now. You know, I, I mean, listen, my friends were there, I still saw them, but it was just different.
So, you know, what, you know, so I, I had that, I was able to really compartmentalize what that was, those relationships. Those relationships were going to be like moving forward. It was really about what's next. And I didn't have the answers and I didn't have them for a long time. So I just, just really dove headfirst into work, you know, and I ended up really seeking out other partners that didn't want kids because not because I was like, I don't want kids with them, but it was more of like, they don't want kids right now.
You know, so
Veronica: it was like,
Rick: you can push it back and I could ride this out. And if it works out, maybe I'll probably repeat that same mentality again. I'll have a kid, you know, it was more of like, don't surround yourself by [00:35:00] responsibility because you got to figure yourself out and you're not prepared to be responsible yet.
I did have that feeling like I have to start over and I'm really scared to do that.
Veronica: Well, you did enter into a really, uh, long term relationship. I think it was nine years or ten years with someone who I believe also wanted to have kids. Correct? Not at first. Okay. Not at first. And then it turned. It
Rick: turned into later, towards the tail end of our relationship, I want kids.
And I actually started moving forward with that
Veronica: thought. And this part, you're saying yes as well, but your mindset is different, right, than the first one, it sounds like, because now you're thinking like, yeah, I'm in, let's do this thing, more
Rick: so. More so, like, have kids. Yeah, my mindset was, my mindset was, I'm older, this is what my friends are doing.
Yes. This is all that's left as an option.
Veronica: Right. So you're not thinking about, is this still right for me? Is this [00:36:00] still something I want to do on the day to day? So are we still writing the, well, she's going to be mostly responsible for it. I'm going to be the financier of this family. And okay. So at this point, you're still having that perspective.
Rick: The perspective was there and, uh, that same perspective was there. It was just like, okay, now I'm going to, I'm going to, um, I'm going to join the group. Right. , you know, I, I, if you can't beat 'em, join them. And I was fighting them all. And now it was time to Yeah. To buck up, have the kid and Right. Join the, join the group.
Yeah. And that really did not see any other options beside that.
Veronica: Right. And it wasn't in your head either at the time, maybe I should try to be in a relationship with someone who's, doesn't want kids. Like that thought didn't even cross your
Rick: mind. I didn't think that there was, I didn't know how to find those people.
Right. Right. Everyone I had met maybe didn't want kids at the beginning, but later did and I never, I never met anyone until I [00:37:00] met you. And we talked about that on our last episode about how I wasn't, I thought you also didn't, you wanted kids, but you were just telling me you didn't want kids. But anyway, I did.
I never came across a partner that our girlfriend that said to me, Hey, Hey, Just so you know, I do not want children, and meant it. Did you,
Veronica: you know, I don't think I've ever asked you this, did you know any child free people? Like that were, that were intentionally child free, that had made the decision? No, no.
No one? No one. Interesting. Yeah. Interesting. Yeah, that makes
Rick: sense. I mean, I knew people that didn't have kids, but no one was outspoken about not having them.
Veronica: So you need people, they didn't have them, but you didn't know why they didn't have or
Rick: you never asked. I mean, I just assumed they didn't find the right person.
You know, uh, someone was single. There were, you know, there were other people that just didn't have kids. And I also really, my mind went to, Oh, they can't have them. Yeah. Right. They can't have them. So I'm not going to ask them about that uncomfortableness. Right.
Veronica: [00:38:00] So you were, so you never had. Let's call it a role model or something like that of someone that had opted in to the child free life and was super happy and content with their choice.
Not until I met you. Interesting. Okay. I don't know if I've ever asked you that before. So, um, yeah, as you said, when we met, you were very Under the assumption when I, when I made it clear, um, and now, you know, how I am about my stance on not having kids and being child free. It was a decision that I was, I had a lot of clarity around by the time we met.
I was almost turning 40 and, but you still assumed that I would change my mind because I guess that was just a hard Concept for you to grasp, like you mentioned, it was the pattern.
Rick: Yeah, it was my pattern. So I just why would you know, why would that change? Right? It was in my head,
Veronica: right? Because you've told me quite a few times that things you look at things so [00:39:00] differently now.
So give me an example of as we've gone through this process as we we've had these conversations as we started the chopper connection, like what shifted for you that Like, what moments did you have? What shifted for you as far as, Oh, okay. This is a choice that people make, or it's a space they land. Maybe not by choice, but it's viable.
It's fulfilling. It's happy. Like how, tell me about your thought process.
Rick: Really understanding the gravity of that responsibility is what shifted for me. I mean, I never really understood it. So, once we met, and even then I really didn't understand it when you said you didn't want kids, and then I found out you really did mean you didn't want kids.
It wasn't until, like I said, I've done a lot of self growth over the past three years. So, all this is recent stuff for me. The responsibility. The unpredictability, the [00:40:00] maturity that, and the strength that you need to have going into having a child and a, and, and really putting that person first. And, you know, well, I didn't understand the gravity of that.
Veronica: you don't have to put that person first. Um, I mean, obviously you're putting, you know, you have to take care of your child. But, but I mean,
Rick: that's again, the traditional way I was raised
Veronica: is, you know, like the sacrificial lamb, right? Like you're gonna sacrifice. Your life ends and now I was
Rick: told, you know, I was always told like once you don't matter anymore.
I heard that so many times. You do not matter anymore. Once you have a child, and I just remember thinking that sounds awful,
Veronica: right? And I think that's why we get that selfish stigma too, because it's like, You know, that idea of just putting yourself way in the back burner and forgetting everything that you could possibly need or want, and especially your mental health, your sense of [00:41:00] identity, everything else is just shoved back there.
And now you're just focusing on one thing and that's your responsibility and it's over and it's confusing, right? It's confusing because of course. We would, um, want to take care of something, like, to the fullest, right? How we take care of Eddie, our dog. Like, we're just, you know, I, we, we love him and take care of him so much.
I'm not comparing children to dogs at all. I'm just saying as far as, like, our actions are concerned and our intention for him. But yeah, it's really interesting. Thing how it was like, okay, you're gonna give up your life entirely and you're gonna focus on this child. Which is, which is, I don't know what the way is.
We don't have kids, so I don't know. You know, a lot of people get very upset, like the parent often loses their identity or it can't, you know, and all this. But I'm not gonna say I can't really judge on that because I don't have a kid. So I don't know what that's like to have [00:42:00] that. You know, feeling so, but yeah, so you kind of felt like
Rick: what was a pivotal moment for me.
You know, it was, it was, wow, this is a big responsibility. There are no guarantees on how this is going to turn out. It's unpredictable when I thought it would be predictable. And to me, the part two of that is okay. Well, if I don't do this thing that has been ingrained in my head. You know, since I was young, what am I going to do with my life?
So that was like the part two. And that was also a revelation when we were, when we started the child free connection and we realized there is this, um, not only alternate path that you can take, that's good, but it's actually great in so many ways. Right. And to me, that was where it all came together. And I felt truly.
Secure in my decision. I felt there was hope moving forward. Hope for what? Hope for a happy life for like I [00:43:00] can have this fulfilling life without having Children. Yes. Hope that I'm not going to be bored. Hope that, you know, all that stuff. So things have
Veronica: been conditioned
Rick: into worrying about who's going to take care of me when I'm older because I realized that there are ways to do that.
So, you know, it was all these little things that I was fearful about. You know, and I was being, I was forcing myself to make this wrong decision for you, for me, um, it all, those holes filled in, yeah, and I felt better,
Veronica: you know, yeah, and you're right. I think that we talk intensively about. The day to day of having kids because some people, uh, and you know, I did it when I was younger.
You did it too. We have people in my program that really struggle with this is when you think about the idea of having a child, you're thinking about all these glorious magical moments. We really bring it back to what is this like day to day? How [00:44:00] does it affect us as people? Do we have, you know, how would we handle it?
What will it look like? What would it feel like? And we dissect it and, and continuously, I mean, now we're so set in our decision, but continuously it comes up as like, no, that's not something that we want to do because. We're so content and happy and joyful and at peace with
Rick: this path. Yeah, and I think you need all that information and that perspective to be happy.
And I think once you can overcome that, you know, and you can fill in all those blanks that are in your head, you really can experience what this lifestyle and what this path not just looks like, but all the fulfillment that comes with
Veronica: it. Right. Absolutely. And there's so many and we, we, you know, we've talked about it, um, that we just have so much gratitude every day about it.
We do. But let me ask you this. If you could, um, this would be my last question. If you could give advice [00:45:00] to men that are younger than you and that have this Um, if she wants that sure attitude about having a child together with their partners, what advice would you
Rick: give at this point? What comes to mind right away is just don't rush into it.
You know, I think first do some deep soul searching. And determine whether or not you truly want to be a father. If there are parts of you that think like, Yeah, I definitely want that. You know, you don't have to have this like overwhelming feeling, but then explore that for sure. But if there is a pushback and if you, if your gut is telling you that children isn't for me and it scares me and I don't want that type of life, then you need to start asking yourself those questions and start Heading down that area, digging into that more, um, number two is really realize that once you find a partner that you feel that you want to have a [00:46:00] life with and you decide to have it, if you're going to have a kid.
You have to know that you're going to have to take 50 percent of that responsibility. It's so important to know, cause it's not going to fall on them. Some people may feel that way. Some people know that that's not the case, but that's a big one. That mistake that I can, and I can only give advice based off mistakes.
Veronica: was just wondering if there was some things that like. Yeah. And
Rick: lastly, you know, I think that understand the gravity of what you're doing. This is not buying a car or a house. This isn't something that is temporary. This is going to be part of your life forever. And. That's great if that's what you choose, but understand that if you don't choose that there is an entirely different path that is just as fulfilling and amazing and I'm living proof of that because I have never been happier in my life.
I [00:47:00] wake up so happy that I never made that decision to just have kids for somebody else and you can take it from me. I, it is the best gift I ever gave to myself. Well, yeah,
Veronica: I really appreciate that advice. I think that it would really, it could possibly really resonate with people. And I appreciate that you talked about the 50 percent responsibility and all the other advice that you gave.
So thank you so much. Yeah, of
Veronica: This was fun. And, uh, I hope that the listeners got some of your insights, some of your history, what you thought, and again, the honesty is really important. I know you said that you were committed to that, but it's sometimes when we act a certain way in our past, and we don't do things that we would ever do now, or we don't behave in a way that we would ever do now, people tend to block that part out and not want to talk about it.
But you and I are very much the [00:48:00] type of people that are more than willing to discuss those times because they're important and it's real and we wouldn't be where we are today without opening up the past and digging through that as well. So thank you so much.
Rick: Yes. Yes. Thank you for such amazing questions.
Veronica: All right, we'll see everyone next time. All right. Bye bye.