Any childfree person should know about sociologist Jean Veevers. She was a pioneer in the study of the childfree, or “voluntary childlessness” as it was called back then. Even in the 70s, she was writing about how the voluntary childless was a “neglected area of study.” Check out some of what she did find in her research.
Childfree readers out there, does this describe you?
She found that the childfree have more of a value on:
-having new experiences,
-seeing new places,
-feeling new sensations,
-meeting new people,
-traveling to new places,
-accomplishing goals, and
-taking on new personal challenges
In their book, The Parent Test, (an excellent work from 1978 that needs to be resurrected!) authors Ellen Peck and William Granzig, speak to Veevers’ findings, and describe the childfree as having a kind of flexibility that is based on a “certain restlessness,” “taste for freedom” and “continual novelty.”
They say that the “determined childfree, according to all evidence, have a distinct wanderlust. Peck and Granzig sum up the idea by writing, “Almost everybody gives some lip service to wanting an adventurous life. Almost everybody talks at one time or another of sailing off around the world. But when a childfree couple talks like that they seem to mean it—in fact, they are apt to be looking at boats!”
To the childfree reading this, do you resonate with the concept of wanderlust when you think of yourself?
Me—I have to say yes. I’d put a check beside all of the items above. In fact, the wanderluster in me is hitting the road later this year to Brazil and Argentina!
In talking to hundreds of childfree over the years, though, I would not say most would likely describe themselves as having “distinct wanderlust.” Most however, do speak to valuing their personal development and wanting the opportunity to follow life goals that are important to them. And those goals span a very wide range.
The idea of wanderlust can dovetail into the stereotype that the childfree don’t want to “grow up” or take on the responsibilities of adulthood. The childfree know that this is a myth; we have adult responsibilities like anyone else. We are just as apt to take charge of our lives as those who decide to raise children as part of their lives.
Veevers identified these characteristics of the childfree around 40 years ago….what do you think? Are they true for you? Of the childfree today, in general, your opinion?