ChatGPT Says You Should Feel Good About Being a Dead End

Have you noticed the rise of articles talking about the world’s population crisis recently? In the 70s and 80s we were shamed by the environmentalists if we had more than two kids. Now the alarm bells are being sounded because women are not having enough kids! Personally, my daughter told me she doubts she’ll ever have children. That’s when I realized: I’m at a dead end.

I’m trying not to panic. She is young yet and there is still plenty of time to make this decision. But it has thrown a curve ball at me. When I write in my journal, I have my great-great-grandchildren in mind. I figure those are the only people who will find my life interesting. Now it looks as though I may not have any grandchildren. I can sense a very large bonfire in my future….

And why is it that so many twenty-somethings are feeling this way?


The BBC recently had a feature about the “new” social media stars promoting a child-free lifestyle and how they’re challenging the stigma of being childless. Like a population explosion, sites extolling the virtues of remaining childless are everywhere. Not only have the sites grown exponentially but so has the media’s coverage of them. I am glad that people can be comfortable with any decision they make but at the same time, why now?

Lady of the Eighties

My daughter points out that the women of my generation were geared to be Mothers. You could still be a stay-at-home Mom then. It was fiscally possible. Tight, but possible.

There is another cost to it, though, that I didn’t pay enough attention to: the cost to your own life.

While I was knee deep in cloth diapers and attachment theory, I didn’t consider what my life would look like when the kids were grown. I homeschooled, volunteered, and learned to do the books for our company. No one explained to me that I was making myself vulnerable by choosing to focus on my family. I was setting myself up for financial disaster when I got older.

Young women are not as naïve as we were. They are not willing to go on a wish and a prayer. Nor rely on some guy to look after them and their children. Especially having watched their Mothers struggling.

Stop Having Children!

There is still a weak environmental argument for ceasing to have kids that drives me nuts. This is left over from the 1970s when the problem was OVER population. “…concerns were voiced in the parliaments, government offices, the United Nations headquarters, and in boardrooms, radio shows, and lecture halls and on the front pages of newspapers and magazines. The message reverberated the population theory of Thomas Malthus that in the long-run population, if unchecked, inevitably grows faster than the supply of food.” – Roger Pielkejr, Myth of the Population Bomb

 “In the 1970s and ’80s, India, led by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay, embraced policies that in many states required sterilization for men and women to obtain water, electricity, ration cards, medical care and pay raises. Teachers could expel students from school if their parents weren’t sterilized. More than eight million men and women were sterilized in 1975 alone… For its part, China adopted a “one-child” policy that led to huge numbers—possibly 100 million—of coerced abortions, often in poor conditions contributing to infection, sterility and even death. Millions of forced sterilizations occurred.” – From The Book That Incited a Worldwide Fear of Overpopulation by Charles C. Mann

Shame on Who?

Right into the 80s we were shamed for having more than one or two children. Logically, I thought that those of us who had the luxury of worrying about sustainability and the environment should have as many children as we could. This would counterbalance those that didn’t – or couldn’t – care at all. Kids raised with these concerns embedded into their psyches and who have every advantage, including a university education. These kids have the potential and will to do something about climate change when they grow up.

But the damage from all the propaganda is done. Do me a favour and smack anyone who mentions the environment and children in the same sentence. The governments turned out to be wrong…as usual.

Start Having Children!

So now the media is wailing away about the coming population “collapse.” According to the UN, “the abrupt decline in the global total fertility rate, from 5.3 in 1963 to 2.4 in 2019” is an alarming trend (Fertility Rate: The total number of births in a year per 1,000 women of reproductive age in a population).

Reuters reports that the US birth rate was 1.64 in 2020 and that South Korea’s birth rate has dropped to a dismal .59, meaning its population is shrinking fast. Canada’s rate in 2022 was 1.5.

You need a birth rate of 2.1 just to replace the population. (Birth Rate: The total number of births in a year per 1,000 individuals.)

Alarmists are talking about how there will not be enough new wage earners to pay for all the pensions and health care the aging Boomers will require. This puts enormous financial strain on the fewer younger people left to pay for these programs through their taxes, giving them even more reason to have less children.


In China, the situation is even worse as their 30 year “one child” policy bears its fruit – or fails to, more accurately: “The state-run Chinese Academy of Sciences sees the pension system running out of money by 2035.”

 “Furthermore, the global ratio of non-working adults to workers was around 0.8 in 2017, but is projected to increase to 1.16 in 2100 if labour force participation by age and sex does not change,” from World population likely to shrink after mid-century, forecasting major shifts in global population and economic power. Elon Musk, among others, thinks this will be the greatest single threat to civilization. Of course, there’ll be a lot less people to buy his cars.

Less people of child-bearing age will be around to even have the next generation. And then the next, and then the next. This becomes catastrophic in only a few short generations. Yet the Guardian is already putting the environmental spin on the demographic collapse by talking about how great it will be for the planet. Never mind that it will be an economic disaster. It will mean a reduced living standard for most countries that can’t get immigrants to fill the gap in working age adults. Certainly the Guardian will be extinct as it’s demographic dies out but oh, well!

Future Uncertain

The point is moot now, anyway, since most the kids coming up are not willing to blindly follow what their parents did. (I wrote about the differences in generational thinking in Get Out of The Box or Die Tryin’.)

It’s been thirty years in the making but women are also not going to be fooled into giving up their freedom or independence. “Improvements in access to modern contraception and the education of girls and women,” lead to a decrease in birth rate, according to ScienceDaily.

You’d have to be nuts to add a child to the stressful life society has set up for us all. We were sold a boatload of crap with the slogan, “Have it all.” In reality, for women, it was, “Do it all.”

Doing It All

Who in their right mind would get up early, get ready for work and then a wake a baby, too? Fighting with all that outer wear in the winter… The car seats which are needed for so many years now. All that rushing to get the child into the daycare and say “goodbye” for the day, hoping all goes well.

Then switch gears to focus on work, even if you left a cranky baby that you suspect may be coming down with something. After work you can’t kibbutz with coworkers because you need to leave early and fight traffic to be on time to pick up your child…

Then someone has to make a “healthy” dinner (or feel guilty), get everyone fed, cleaned up, and all the household chores done. Are you feeling resentment toward your partner yet? Especially since he went golfing and out for appies with coworkers…again.

At least back when I was at home I had a few friends to talk to. If the kids are young and you live in an affluent neighbourhood you’ll see nannies pushing the kids in a stroller to the local park to meet up with the other nannies. Mothers are not included in these gatherings, of course. Nannies and Mothers do not talk about the same things. Now, even if you could afford to stay home, you are on your own in an empty neighbourhood.

Great Expectations & Generative AI

Add to this, the expectations created by our materialistic society. Kids expect to have everything their parents did without waiting to earn it. Having kids would mean sacrificing much of their lifestyles. Not just things like new furniture, TV’s, cars, and computers but also vacations every year to sunny destinations.

They are also being constantly bombarded by governments and media over the terrible state of the world. No one looks at our wonderful standard of living (Sanitation! Running water, heated houses, lighting, power! Netflix!) or thinks about ways that we can avoid disasters by coming up with new inventions.

Like the brilliant Dutch kid, Boyan Slat, cleaning up the oceans or the fact that we’re on the cusp of a new age: an Artificial Intelligence Revolution destined to be a game changer on par with the Industrial Revolution. Literally, according to the wizards at DeepMind: “One of our programs learned to play 49 different Atari games from scratch, just from seeing the pixels and score on the screen.” I had trouble with Pong!

And coming soon everywhere, including this Blog: “Generative systems are a form of artificial intelligence that can create new content by itself,” the AI Summit in London.

You don’t need to worry about the environment. Believe me, the nerds are all over this shit.

Consulting the Guru

Secretly, I used to think that I wouldn’t change a thing I’d done in my life. After all, my Grandmothers and Great Grandmothers made sacrifices and I loved to think of the continuity of my own sacrifice in the long chain of our family. But without grandchildren? Now I am not so sure at all.

Maybe AI has the answers. I asked ChatGPT how to get over disappointment. They had a lot to say – here’s a snippet:

“Focus on what you can control: Instead of dwelling on what you can’t change, focus on what you can do to improve your situation. Reframe your perspective: Try to see disappointment as an opportunity for growth and learning. Ask yourself what you can learn from the experience, and how you can use it to improve yourself or your situation.

It’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to living a good life, and it’s okay to pursue a path that feels right for you, even if it’s different from what society or others expect of you.”

Dead Ends

If I had done things differently, I could be on a beach in Maui, sipping a cocktail right now. Or lying on a chaise at my estate in the Hamptons ordering up lunch from my staff and arranging a game of tennis with my pool boy.

So are we all just dead ends?

Rather than listen to the AI, I’ll take comfort in what the Beatles said:

“And in the end

The love you take

Is equal to the love

you make”


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