Sylvia D. Lucas is a freelance writer and a believer in following bliss, as long as it's not at the expense of others.
Any writing she posts to her website, and most of what she writes for money, is an effort to offer guidance when she can confidently give it, and an attempt to generate understanding, eliminate stereotypes, and discourage blind judgment (not just in others, but in herself, as well).
Tell us a bit of your earlier years
In my earlier years (and because I'm only in my late-thirties, I think of “early” as “teens” and “formative years”), I was in love with love.
For as long as I can remember, I thought there was what you'd call a “soul mate” out there, and as young as 12 or 13 years old, I even pictured what he looked like. He had dark hair, blue eyes, and for some reason, he wore one of those thick, cable-knit sweaters you see men wearing in ski lodges. In commercials, anyway.
I was never interested in being married, necessarily, and didn't particularly like the word “wife” (throughout my teenage years, I'd heard too many men use it as an epithet – “the wife” this and “the wife” that, and rarely was “the wife” something good), but I really did feel like there was a certain person out there who was right.
Love and fantasy aside, my earlier years were filled with a lot of solitary walks (because I enjoyed them), writing, and moseying through life without a plan and feeling fairly indestructible.
Please share any rude awakenings or revelations around your midpoint of life?
I haven't quite reached my midpoint, yet, but I've had two interesting revelations between my earlier years and now: one is that mortality realization we all have at one time or another, that passage from the teen-minded “I'll live forever! Nothing can kill me!” to “We're all going to die! Almost ANYTHING could kill me!” I still don't like that one and wish I could go back to being ignorant, to being carefree in the kind of way I can't seem to recapture.
The other realization, and this one was fun, is that there's no such thing as adulthood.
Watching politicians behave like schoolyard children, seeing the bickering regular “grown ups” do on a daily basis, witnessing the playful behavior of “adults,” and being of adult age, myself, I realized that whatever it is we think adults are when we're kids is a mirage.
That adult person doesn't exist.
We're all pretty much the same – it's just that adults have been doing it longer.
Part of this “adults are just older children” awareness also became evident to me when I witnessed men and women, in different environments, talking about each other.
We've been sharing the planet and our social circles for so long, and yet there's still this insistence (that's how I see it) on misunderstanding each other, and worse, stereotyping each other.
How are we supposed to get along and have harmonious relationships if we treat each other not just like strangers, but like the enemy?
When you're younger, you think there are certain things adults will have figured out.
What did you change in your life around this ‘midpoint of life’
I learned not to have such unrealistic expectations of adults – including myself – and I did my best, when it was appropriate, to try to help people get past their stereotypes when I witnessed unfair characterizations being made of either sex.
Any lessons learnt during this time?
If anything, it was that I still have a lot to learn. But I also learned that I've experienced things in my own life that I can use to teach others who also still have things to learn.
That was the motivation behind What Every Woman Wishes Modern Men Knew About Women.
I was raised to see men and women as people rather than as sexes (even if there are, of course, certain differences between them), but I know a lot of people weren't, and the perspective I have of men and women can, I hope, help others navigate a relationship that might be struggling as a result of the couple's inability to see past the roles they're playing.
I've also been married, divorced, and married again, so I have some insight into several different aspects of relationships.
As a woman who's never wanted children, I'm also able to offer the benefit of my years of being looked at funny, or questioned about it, to help others feel more comfortable about their decision, or even about the fact that they find themselves pondering their options (many women feel “unnatural” for thinking about whether to have kids, because they've been made to believe it's a foregone conclusion).
No Children, No Guilt strives to reassure men and women that they're absolutely right to think about what they want before doing it, and that there is no reason they should feel a moment of guilt as a result.
What sort of repeating challenges do other people seem to come up against that you’d love to talk to them about?
I see, primarily, judgments and worry over judgments.
Romantically speaking, men and women are so judgmental of each other, so comfortable assigning each other stereotypes, that they're unable to really see each other.
I also see men and women who are taking seriously the monumental life choice of whether to create offspring feeling criticized, isolated, and pressured, and the danger in this is that people who might not otherwise have children will sometimes have them purely as a result of that pressure.
The better we understand each other and ourselves, the more clearly we see each other and ourselves, the happier we'll be as couples and as individuals making big decisions about our own lives.
How is your personal life different now than to what it was on your 20s?
It's more patient.
In my 20s, I was married to my first husband, who wasn't right for me, and as a separate issue, I was gradually realizing I would rather be with man I'm married to now (who, incidentally, has dark hair and sometimes wears a thick, cable-knit sweater). I was also inherently restless – not as it pertained to men, but as a person – and that made me an easily frustrated partner.
I wanted to do do do do do, and if my partner didn't also want to do do do do, I felt held back.
Now I realize that if I want to do, I just do. My partner doesn't have to want to do it with me. Knowing this has had the curious effect of making me feel less restless.
Not related to love or partners, the restlessness also faded once I figured out that it was borne of the belief that there was always something more exciting or fulfilling “out there,” whether “out there” was a different neighborhood, a different country, or the life I imagined someone was living behind their curtained windows. The “grass is greener” dilemma.
Knowing now that anticipation and imagination are always going to be more exciting than reality has allowed me to settle down and recognize that what I have and what I'm doing are perfectly wonderful.
I should clarify that this doesn't mean I've resigned myself to something, or that I've settled for “my lot in life.” What I mean is that it's easy to forget that our own lives are probably, to some degree, less interesting or less fascinating to us because we're the ones living them. When we imagine a different experience, we imagine it in bits and pieces, in flashes of sunlight and smiles.
When we imagine how exciting a different life might be, we don't take into account that the person living that life also has his or her moments of flopping on the couch to watch a bad movie or playing Words with Friends on the toilet.
What are you most active in now
Writing as a way to generate or facilitate greater understanding, which is what I've always been most active in.
At my website, I write primarily about the things that might interest people who don't want children, relationships between men and women, sexism, and – now and then – social and political issues, such as the personhood bills and the transvaginal ultrasound debacle.
Which part/s of your life is different now than when in your 20′s (could be physical, mental, spiritual, emotional professional)
Ever since having that mortality revelation, I'm a little less emotionally/psychologically comfortable than I was in my 20s, but at the same time, I'm much more confident, much more comfortable with who I am (doesn't everyone say this as they near 40? I'm pretty sure they do). I've also enjoyed coming into the awareness that there are only a few things that really matter:
- Kindness to others (animals and humans alike), because why not try to make life as pleasant as possible for everyone?
- Personal happiness (there's too much second-guessing, and life is taken too seriously – if it doesn't involve being a jerk or being destructive, or being that person who tosses trash out of the car window, if you want to do it, do it)
- The people in your life. There's crazy emphasis on money, these days, and opulence and celebrity and fame, and while those things are probably very nice (until the day you find yourself shaving your head and carrying a stick), things always lose their sparkle. You buy new things, you get bored with them, you buy more new things, you get bored again…they don't really matter. People do.
How is your business and/or professional life different now than to what it was on your 20s?
Professionally, my life hasn't changed much. I still don't have a plan.
I've been working for many years, but I'm not what you'd call a “career” type. I work wherever I feel good working, and when I don't feel good anymore, I leave. I feel good where I am now. (The same philosophy, and history, applies to my relationships and life in general.
I don't believe anyone should continue doing anything that makes them unhappy.)
What are 2-3 life experiences you would love to share today
This interview has been sitting in my email drafts for days because I couldn't think of an answer to this question.
The experiences that stand out the most change from day to day, as do their reasons for standing out.
I think it would be fun, instead of answering this question, to ask your readers to write in the comments section of this interview:
“What 2-3 life experiences would you like to share today? And, if possible, can you make them about a romantic relationship you've had? Good or bad, funny or sad. Which ones stand out to you today, and why?”
Why should people keep coming to the Geek and Jock site?
Because it's informal, fun, educational, supportive, and the kind of place where a girl can answer an interview question with an interview question.
So Tell Us – As Sylvia Asked Above
What 2-3 life experiences would you like to share today?
And, if possible, can you make them about a romantic relationship you've had?
Good or bad, funny or sad.
Which ones stand out to you today, and why?