We really do exist here. You don’t see us much though. Often the ‘childfree’ people in Altus fall into the following categories:
1. We don’t ever want to have kids.
2. We don’t want to have kids just yet.
3. We recently lost a pregnancy, and may feel uncomfortable around other people’s kids.
4. We can’t have kids. Period.
When my husband and I moved to Altus last year, the joke was about how “if you don’t PCS to Altus AFB with children, then you’ll certainly leave with at least one.” Something about the water…
Turns out it’s only funny if it’s true. There are so many different scenarios in which people don’t have kids. We really must stop assuming that everyone can and should have them. As someone currently living in the third dimension, it just feels more isolating. With our time here ending next year, it’s likely I may have a child one day, but not while I’m living in Altus. That ship has sailed.
It’s unfortunate that in Altus there aren’t more entertainment options available for people without kids, or those who simply prefer not to be around a lot of children. During the summer, the base pool does host a fun adults-only pool party, but to be fair it’s not quite targeted to married couples in their thirties. It’s sort of like a flashback to being 22 years old, only now you’re in Altus. Which is awesome, but also not awesome, because I’m not single, 22 years old, and ready to mingle. I’m 34, I get tired at 9 pm, and I’m ready to go home, hang out with my dogs, and watch 20/20 on ID.
Meanwhile, the rest of the year I read the descriptions on event flyers and it all sounds terrifying from my perspective. Breastfeeding support, kids in pirate costumes, kids trick-or-treating, kids with Santa, kids at a cattle drive, kids at a buffet meal. Great big sigh!
For women who have suffered a miscarriage, it’s a bit disheartening how the community has so many systems in place to help those with kids or who have just had babies, yet all we can really offer people who lost their baby is 800 mg of Motrin and some anti-depressants. I had to look outside of Altus for support, so I’ve shared some valuable resources in case you’re in a similar situation. You’re not alone.
No Kids, No Problems?
Fact is, the ‘kid free’ Altus experience is quite similar to life with kids. You just don’t have the tantrums, the poop, the puke, or, well, the kid.
Life in Altus Without Kids! You Can…
• Go hiking up at Quartz Mountain or explore the trails in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.
• Sit on ‘the beach’ at Lake Altus-Lugert.
• Take pictures of said ‘beach’ and share with friends who make comments like “That doesn’t look like Oklahoma.” All so you can grin knowingly and say, “Oh, but it is!”
• Cook some good food at home. I make a #winning fettuccine alfredo with my own fresh pasta and my own fresh sauce. I’m sorry Roma’s.
• Become addicted to Live PD, Designated Survivor, and The Man in the High Castle.
• Gaze off into the great Oklahoma sky and see all the airliners legitimately flying over this state.
• Wonder what the hell that really loud boom was.
• Plant a bunch of vegetable seeds and accidentally mislabel everything. Mystery plants for everyone!
• Get paid 40% less than what you earned previously, in a role that’s mostly unrelated to your skills, education, and work experience.
• Travel far away at every available opportunity. Since we moved here: London, Brussels, Lille, Calais, San Francisco, Napa, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Tampa, Zurich, Gimmelwald, Interlaken, Freiburg im Breisgau, Athens, and Amsterdam.
• Buy a cheerful holiday themed outdoor llama.
• Apply to jobs in other areas of the country that you could move in the next iteration of your life.
• Wonder where your wine collection disappeared to.
But Where Are The Others?
At previous bases, there were more people our own age without children. We were able to more easily find groups to associate with, where the main topic of conversation wasn’t how or where our kids were born, or what our kids were doing right before we left them with Dad, Grandma, or the teenage babysitter. “And he pooped right there on the floor! Do you want to see a picture?”
Let’s get some fun kid free events planned for 2018!
Kid Free Events in 2018
Kid Free Coffee Meetup
Feb. 10th, 10am, at White Buffalo Coffee Bar.
Meet me over at the big table. Parents are welcome, but the rule is that for every time someone mentions their kid, the guilty party puts $1 into the coffee fund for the next meetup. Same goes for mentioning pets. Donations shall not exceed $5 per person, per meetup. All cash collected is sealed into an envelope at the end of the meetup, and will be used at the next kid-free coffee event. This event is just for fun! Participation in the kid/pet game is not required. Come on out and meet some new awesome people!