Maybe I feel the need to reassure people that I love children because so many of the public arguments for childlessness hinge on a lack of interest in children, or an active distaste for the mayhem they bring. So arguments about the “selfishness” of the childless often tend to focus on the folly of immature adults choosing boozy brunches and spotless furniture over family, love, and legacy.

But I don’t want either of these things — or rather, I want both. I want love and mayhem — travel, messes, and the whole cosmos of love that is family, work, friends, and those friends’ families and children — and then I want to die alone. I’ve thought this one through as well. I didn’t get to be born alone — there was really no privacy at all — so dying alone seems like ideal compensation, and though you can’t always get what you want, I like to imagine some sort of sudden heart attack or fatal stroke, ideally one that finishes me immediately after I’ve finished chopping wood. (I read too much Robert Frost at an impressionable age, I don’t know.) I like the idea of looking at the sky, the trees — something natural, and quiet — and then nothing.