Holiday Lighting with Elite Property Maintenance in Chattanooga, TN

Holiday Lighting with Elite Property Maintenance in Chattanooga, TN

With Halloween passed and Thanksgiving quickly approaching, Christmas is just around the corner. The holidays are such a busy time of the year, it is typical to end up with a very long to-do list of all the tasks that need completion. For most homeowners, hanging up Christmas lights is one of the larger tasks appearing on this list.

When it comes to hanging Christmas lights, it is easy to think this is a simple task. Yet, as most homeowners experience each year, hanging Christmas lights is not so simple. Whether one is dealing with light bulb issues, bad weather, or the lack of proper tools and equipment, something always seems to extend the project longer than expected.

Having an issue with a string of lights? No worries. The Elite Property Maintenance team has extensive experience with installing lights and will promptly find a solution to any challenges that may arise. Hiring a service like Elite Property Maintenance to hang one’s holiday lights means that clients can be one hundred percent confident that the lights will be hung and cords are hidden. Furthermore, the finished product will look exactly the way clients envision it.

Elite Property Maintenance offers a fully comprehensive package; from designing a beautiful display, providing the lights, professional installation, removal at the end of the season, and storage during the off-season. Included in the package is comprehensive-no questions asked-replacement or repair of any lights that malfunction during the holiday season.

This year, let a professional put those pesky Christmas lights up for you! Elite Property Maintenance ensures a quality job done in a timely manner. With professional Christmas light installation, one does not need to worry about fitting this time-consuming task in your busy schedule, climbing any ladders, or battling burned-out light bulbs. Instead, simply call Elite Property Maintenance and get a free quotation! Doing so will make one’s house the envy of the neighborhood.

Whether a potential client has additional questions or wants to discuss the details of having Christmas lights professionally hung, Elite Property Maintenance is here to answer all questions. Call 423-541-2008 today to speak directly with an Elite team member or get more information online at eliteholidaylighting.com.

Why Outsourcing A Company’s Bookkeeping Saves Time and Money

With Gentry and Associates, CPA

For business owners, keeping accurate books is paramount.  Making mistakes adds up, especially if those mistakes lead to an audit or bankruptcy. With thirty percent of small businesses failing within two years because of expenses outweighing profits, it is more important than ever to keep accurate books. Hiring a CPA to perform bookkeeping tasks is not without cost, but it can save a lot of money in the long run.

Even the most seasoned business owners make bookkeeping mistakes when they lack the proper experience. Mistakes encompass data entry errors, missing entries, double entries, and confusion regarding types of expenses. A trained bookkeeper with a keen eye is less likely to make such mistakes.

Part of a bookkeeper’s role is to pay bills, maintain a budget and accurately invoice with timeliness. It’s easy to fall behind on paying and accounts receivable when one is running their own business. No more late fees and getting paid on time are just some advantages to an outsourced bookkeeper.

When business owners hire a bookkeeper, they can then direct their time and efforts elsewhere. Bookkeeping is a task that is important, detailed, and, optimally, distraction-free. Hiring a CPA as your bookkeeper allows business owners to focus on their business and not worry about the books.

Depending on the size and complexity of the business, a bookkeeper can be full-time, part-time, temporary, or contracted. Each choice comes with its own benefits. Whether a company is comprised of one individual or many, outsourcing this important task is often the best alternative. Doing so permits the bookkeeper an element of objectivity often necessary for the successful completion of bookkeeping tasks. Also, adjusting bookkeeping to a company’s needs is an important factor in saving a company money and can be more easily achieved in this manner.

With a bookkeeper, it is easier to assess where a company stands financially. Overall financial assessments display where money should be dispersed, allocated or saved.  A bookkeeper can simplify and explain confusion and concepts.

Outsourcing a company’s bookkeeping provides many benefits with a great deal of flexibility. For accurate, stress-free bookkeeping in the greater Chattanooga area, contact Gentry and Associates for more information at (423) 648-6240, or find out more online at gentrycpa.com.

Why Are Gutters Important?

Why Are Gutters Important?

By Chatt Town Guttering in Chattanooga, TN.

Understanding why gutters are important can ultimately save homeowners thousands of dollars. This is because gutters prevent costly damages to one’s home. While gutters may not represent the most glamorous topic, they are, nevertheless, a very important aspect of homeownership.

The primary purpose of gutters is to move water away from the base of the house. Rainwater can cause various degrees of damage, and even those that are severe. A lack of gutters or improperly installed gutters can cause leaks in basements. Rainwater can also penetrate the slab or foundation to create extremely costly repairs. The average foundation repair starts at ten thousand dollars. Rainwater also erodes the soil around houses, causing destruction to landscaping. Without gutters, rainwater can also wreak destruction on a home’s surface. For instance, when rainwater pummels the ground, dirt splashes back onto the home itself, contributing to a dirty, unkempt look.

The problems do not only stay outside, either. Without the protection gutters provide, rainwater could fall in the tiny cracks and crevices of the windows. The water can also work its way into the walls where mold and mildew could start to grow. The water damage may even be visible inside of the home, creating unsightly brown water stains on the walls. If the exterior is painted, extensive water damage may cause the paint to peel and the siding could harbor mold. All of these damages will require a more costly repair than the proper installation of gutters. It is just as important to protect the outside of the house as it is to protect the inside.

For more information about how gutters can benefit your home, please call Chatt Town Guttering at (423) 877-7147, or find them online at www.chatttownguttering.com.

The Advantages of Dry Cleaning Versus Traditional Washing Machines

The Advantages of Dry Cleaning Versus Traditional Washing Machines

Laundering and dry cleaning are both processes designed to clean clothes. Laundering, the more traditional cleaning practice, is a water-based cleaning process that usually utilizes a washer/dryer combination with soap and/or detergent. In contrast, dry cleaning does not utilize water but instead employs a comprehensive process that cleans the clothing much more effectively. While both processes have their purposes, dry cleaning is overall much better for maintaining the structural integrity of clothes, especially the delicate ones.

While water is not the main cleansing agent in dry cleaning, the process does involve the use of liquids for stain and soil removal. Much like traditional laundering, dry cleaning employs a specific machine in which the garments are placed for cleaning. After being put in the machine, the machine is started and gently rotates the clothes in the basket while a steady stream of clean solvent is pumped into the system. Simultaneously, the dirty solvent is pumped out of the drum to maintain the constant cleansing of the clothing. Following the solvent cycle, the next cycle begins by rapidly circulating the clothes and removing all of the solvents. Finally, the clothes are dried as warm air is pumped into the machine and continues to circulate as the basket of clothes spins.

Dry cleaning offers several distinct advantages for cleaning clothes when compared to a washing machine.

  1. Soft Process—When compared to traditional laundering, dry cleaning is considered a soft washing process. The rotation of the drum in dry cleaning is much milder than the abrasive agitators in traditional washing machines. Additionally, the limited amount of water and solvent used in the cleaning process helps to protect the garments.
  2. Clothing Preservation—In addition to its soft washing process, dry cleaning is also better for maintaining articles of clothing’s new appearance. Dry cleaning rarely shrinks delicate fabrics and maintains the color as well as the texture of fabric better than conventional washing.
  3. Deep Cleaning— The dry cleaning process’s ability to “deep clean” difficult stains and soils. Dry cleaning has a distinctive ability to dissolve oil and grease in garments that are difficult, if not impossible, for traditional laundering methods to tackle. Furthermore, the dry cleaning process is often able to restore garments to a “like-new” state with just one processing.
  4. Finished Appearance—When garments are removed from a washer and dryer, garments are often in need of further ironing and treatment. In contrast, with dry cleaning, garments are clean, fresh and crisp when finished.

While laundering and dry cleaning are both traditional cleaning processes, dry cleaning offers more advantages in terms of clothing cleanliness and maintenance. Dry cleaning makes clothes cleaner and keeps them appearing newer longer. When it comes to the debate of which is better, the washing machine or dry cleaning, the verdict is clear – dry cleaning is superior each and every time.

For further information regarding the positive effects of dry cleaning, please visit Superior Dry Cleaning online at superiordrycleaningknoxville.com.

Aluminum Versus Wood Home Enclosures

Aluminum Versus Wood Home Enclosures. Which is Better?

Are you debating between building a patio versus a screened porch enclosure? When building aluminum screen enclosures, Red Bank Aluminum in Chattanooga, TN is prepared to create your new living space the way you prefer, with a custom design to help complement your home. If you are planning on building an addition to your home, the new addition needs to function and look its best.

Red Bank Aluminum offers a variety of aluminum screen enclosures from major manufacturers.

By using Ballew’s aluminum products, your aluminum screen enclosures will provide:

  • a clean look
  • a lifetime of durability
  • none of the disadvantages of wood

Top-quality aluminum construction keeps your patio or screened porch enclosure looking new and elegant for years to come. Plus aluminum is virtually maintenance-free!
Some homeowners may opt for screened patios made of wood. However, they are often unaware of wood’s long-term disadvantages. Wood can split, become rotten, or suffer weathering by the elements. While aluminum structures last in regard to both appearance and structural integrity.

The Benefits Of Using Aluminum Vs. Wood:

Low Maintenance: Aluminum screen enclosures require almost zero-maintenance over the years. Wood structures typically require additional yearly maintenance costs as the wood ages.

Weather Resistant: Unlike wood, there is no rotting, dry rot, peeling or corroding that occurs with aluminum. Aluminum screen enclosures are not affected by outdoor elements and will not become brittle or warped.

Moisture Resistant: Our top-quality aluminum materials can be used in almost any environment. For instance, they can be used next to swimming pools, hot tubs or simply in a humid backyard.

Pest Resistant: You will never have a termite or other wood-destroying insect problem with Red Bank Aluminum’s patio coverings, screen room enclosures or sunrooms. One of the most frightening aspects of pest infestation is not only the safety hazards they pose but also the possibility of bugs spreading to other areas of your home.

Fire Safety: Aluminum is a fire-resistant material and helps protect your family against house fires.

Increased Home Value: Aluminum adds long-term value to your home because of its clean lines, structural integrity and lifetime of durability. Additionally, with a screened enclosure, the square footage of your home is increased, subsequently increasing your home’s value.

For all these reasons and more, well-designed aluminum patio screen enclosures and sunrooms using Ballew’s aluminum are consistently a popular choice. Client’s of Red Bank Aluminum appreciate the benefits of aluminum over wood. As a result, they consistently choose Red Bank Aluminum to design and build patio enclosures or sunrooms for their homes.

Aluminum screen enclosures, patios, porches, and sunrooms not only provide protection from the outdoor elements but also create well-defined structures to complement every home. Your outdoor living area should provide the extra space and comfort you deserve and also last a lifetime.

Red Bank Aluminum in Chattanooga, TN has built thousands of patios, screens, pool enclosures, and sunrooms. We are a local company, ready to help you learn more about a quality screen enclosure, sunroom, patio or deck for your home.

Red Bank Aluminum in Chattanooga, TN offers free home consultations, so please contact them today at (423) 877-0142.

El Fogon

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

El Fogon means “brick oven.” While brick ovens are sturdy and long-lasting, they are also works of art. Like their name, the restaurant “El Fogon” is all of these things. It is poised to last, built on a sturdy foundation of excellent service coupled with fantastic food. And like a brick oven, it’s contents are a work of art.

My lunch there the other day exemplified fine Mexican dining in a fun social setting. My server, Fernando, functioned like a “super waiter.” Every time I needed something, he magically appeared. I dropped my phone in my cheese drip-he popped in with a napkin. I needed a refill- Fernando appeared ready to refill.

My meal, entitled, “Camarones El Fogon,” meaning “shrimp of the brick oven,” appeared in beautiful form. I could not resist taking a picture. The rice in the center appeared as the initial focal point of the meal, perfectly surrounded by exquisitely placed prawns and vegetables. I started in the center and worked my way outward. Freshly made, with a butter accent, even the vegetables tasted great (and I usually don’t like them.) By far, the broccoli was my favorite vegetable within this dish, and I ate each and every one of them. At the end of the meal, only a few zucchini remained.

While I initially planned on not having any alcohol, the pictures of the house margarita drew me in quickly. I ordered the house margarita, on the rocks. I can honestly say, don’t purchase this during the day if you plan on going back to work, because these margaritas are STRONG. This establishment does not skimp on their drinks-they are delicious and the real deal. I enjoyed every moment of it.I also had the opportunity to observe an absolutely hilarious birthday celebration. A husband came in and informed the waiter of his wife’s birthday. Suddenly, out came a huge pile of chocolate ice cream covered in whipped cream. To the singing of all the waiters, a napkin of whipped cream landed on the cheek of the birthday girl, all too hysterical laughter. A great time was had by all!

The greater Chattanooga area has a plethora of Mexican restaurants. However, what sets El Fogon apart from the others is not only the high quality of their food but also its presentation. From the waiter to the beach like setting to the caring and attentive waiter, El Fogon is one of the best, if not THE BEST Mexican restaurant, in the greater Chattanooga area. If you are in Hixson any time soon, go ahead and give them a try. You will not be sorry.

Pro Se It Your Way: Beauty Queen With A Goliath Purpose

PRO SE IT YOUR WAY: BEAUTY QUEEN WITH A GOLIATH PURPOSE

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

If you have heard of Malcolm Gladwell’s brilliant version of the story of David versus Goliath, it might reverse your understanding of the underdog. (1) It might even empower you to fight your own strategic battles against anyone or anything that might come across to you as intimidating. One such peaceful warrior of a woman is Anurithi Chikkerur who prefers to go by Chikki, which ironically means “little” in many languages. Get the subtle David reference here?

Chikki is no underdog and her story might just inspire you to stop branding yourself as one. She is an international beauty queen, former CEO of an oil and gas company, former commodities trader, philanthropist and children’s rights activist. She single-handedly and strategically fights for children’s rights in Texas family court battles by attempting to wield what she calls “integrative power.” “ Integrative Power calls on each party to follow what they believe to be true, maintain an open mind, and trust that this interaction would produce a result that is mutually respectful of all parties’ human needs and dignity.” (2) Drawing valuable experiences and knowledge from her own hostile custody battles (which are available in open public court records), Chikki’s company, PRO SE COURT SUPPORT SERVICES (PSCS) conducts regular FREE and paid workshops. These workshops assist parents representing themselves and their children’s best interests effectively in court battles which are often in uncharted and hostile territory for non-lawyers to navigate.

Many parents give in to the pressures of psychological court warfare, as well as the trauma and stress of hostile custody battles. In these court ballets, they are attempting to defend themselves and their children’s best interests effectively. This pain also includes the pain and trauma that comes with losing someone you love or once loved, making a parent/guardian in pain a metaphorically wounded David. One of many sad examples is the case of the Yariv Kaplan, who succumbed to the pressures of a Texas courtroom and committed suicide after shooting his nine-year-old daughter; (3) or the very public and very dramatic divorce of Alex Jones and wife Kelley Jones. (4)

Chikki draws inspiration from Malcolm Gladwell’s version of David versus Goliath as well. “Being small, nimble and strategic in any sort of battle against a power, seemingly larger than you, is an advantage – not a disadvantage. Everything is bigger in Texas but bigger ain’t better or smarter than everything y’all!! ,” she quips over a telephone interview, on a sunny Saturday afternoon, from the hip Austin town she calls home. (5)

“I am finally getting to live my life’s purpose”, Chicki stated in a matter of fact tone, “as a result of experiencing my own hostile divorce/custody battles. I have witnessed countless good mothers and good fathers lose legal access to their children in court because they just don’t know how to represent their children’s best interests like a seasoned and ethical attorney would.” (5)
“Unethical opposing sides and sometimes even unethical judges value money more than the most valuable resource that we all take for granted – our children,” Chikki states and pauses, with tears in her eyes. “ What I certainly want is as many children (including mine) growing up to be happy, healthy adults contributing to this planet’s growth in positive ways. How can we achieve more amazing things as a human race if we have a generation of abused, traumatized children growing up to become adults and caretakers of this beautiful planet?”

This is why Chikki is the David that can tackle one Goliath in her town – but there are Goliath’s in every town. So in your version of the story of David versus Goliath, who or what is your Goliath and who is bound to be victorious? That is a question we must all ask ourselves.

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziGD7vQOwl8
  2. https://mettacenter.org/definitions/gloss-concepts/integrative-power/
  3. https://www.kxan.com/news/crime/father-9-year-old-daughter-killed-in-apparent-murder-suicide/
  4. http://politics.blog.mystatesman.com/2017/07/20/case-closed-judge-naranjo-issues-final-orders-in-alexkelly-jones-child-custody-case/amp/
  5. Interview, Anurithi Chickerur by Katherine Fry, September 22, 2019.

Land Surveying: Various Aspects of the World’s Second Oldest Profession

Land Surveying: Various Aspects of the World’s Second Oldest Profession

By Katherine Fry, Writer and Research for Compton Surveying, Inc.

Land surveying is defined as a method of scientifically and/or legally determining the location of points on the earth’s surface. It also includes establishing the distance between those points and the angles created by them. Often referred to as the world’s second-oldest profession, land surveying integrates elements of engineering, geometry, law, math, and physics. Legally, land surveying determines boundaries. Furthermore, it establishes where property lines begin and where they end. The accuracy of land boundaries depends on a society’s particular regard for the state, county, city, and private property line borders. (1)

Modern-day land surveyors use Global Positioning Systems (GPS) for accurate point positioning. GPS works through satellites that send signals to receivers kept on surveyors’ tripods. The data is then downloaded into computer software, allowing the surveyor to know the exact position of a point within the time span of a few minutes. (2)

There are several different types of land surveys. These surveys include:

Subdivision surveys: In subdivision surveys, parcels of lands are disassembled into several different units for the construction of new housing complexes. (3)

Site planning surveys: In order to make a site plan and to obtain required building permits, architects, as well as engineers, must create topographic surveys that identify elevation features within exceeding boundaries. (4)

Boundary surveys: A boundary survey determines property lines and defines land corners, as described in property deeds. Boundary surveys must be submitted to governmental offices before construction of any type is commenced. (5)

Topographical surveys: Topographical surveys encompass the identification of both manmade and natural characteristics on the land’s surface. These characteristics include, but are not limited to, buildings, fences, hills, ravines, streams, and trees. Topographic surveys denote the height, location, and size of these characteristics, including gradual changes in land’s elevation. This type of survey is used for design work and the proper division of land for auctions, estates, as well as the building of subdivisions. (6)

Cadastral survey: Cadastral surveys represent searches performed in the registry of public land records. (7)

ALTA surveys: An ALTA survey is a compilation of the various survey subtypes and adheres to the national requirements of the American Land Title Association as well as the National Society of Professional Surveyors. This type of survey is created to specifically satisfy the needs of corporations, lenders and title companies. Additionally, it is exclusively for the building of commercial properties. ALTA surveys contain all required, optional, and possible information that might be requested by entities benefiting from the survey. (8)

Historical documents claim that the ancient Egyptians, before the construction of the Great Pyramids, performed the first land surveys, as early as 3000 BC. The Greeks later developed the science of geometry and employed it in determining the precise division of land. Early surveyors within the American colonies include Peter Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson’s father, and the first President of the United States, George Washington. Contemporary land surveyors touch almost every aspect of our lives, from our homes to our workplaces, from our roads to our public parks. (9)

Modern-day land surveys include various aspects of engineering, geometry, law, mathematics, and physics. The various forms of land surveys, originating in Egypt and still applicable today, continue to impact nearly every corner of our lives. As time goes on, surveyors will remain relevant into the distant future.

If you are in need of a property survey, please contact Compton Surveying, Inc. in Chickamauga, GA at 706-375-3153.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surveying
  2. https://www.gps.gov/applications/survey/
  3. https://www.nationwidesurveying.biz/subdivision-surveys
  4. https://www.pointtopointsurvey.com/service/topographic-surveys/
  5. https://www.nationwidesurveying.biz/boundary-survey
  6. http://www.georgialandsurveying.com/residential-surveys/site-plan-redundant-b40/
  7. http://www.cadastral.com/
  8. http://www.northstareng.com/what-is-an-alta-survey/
  9. https://engineering.purdue.edu/~asm215/topics/history.html

Menstruation in Tudor Times

How did Tudor Women Cope with the Physical, Religious, and Moral Expectations?

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

It has been happening to women since the dawn of time and yet, during the Tudor age, society rarely spoke of it. Known as the monthly curse, coming of age, or period, menstruation has been referred to, across the ages, by many different terms. During this time in history, Christianity preached that a woman’s period existed as a punishment from God for Eve’s temptation in the Garden of Eden. Leviticus stated that a woman who menstruates is impure and unclean. As a result, the Church prohibited painkillers for menstrual pain relief, as women supposedly deserved to suffer the cramps and pains given to them by God. Additionally, the Church also declared that women should refrain from receiving Holy Communion during this bloody time. The Church expected women to do nothing but suffer during their “time of the month”.

Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, suffered from inconsistent periods throughout her life. As a result, this fact combined with her apparent inability to deliver the King a healthy son, resulted in divorce and her untimely death, possibly brought on by deliberate poisoning. In this extremely sad case, her “faulty” reproductive system literally led to both her royal and actual downfall. However, rather than blaming her reproductive system, or the sperm of her husband, the Church, as well as her husband, blamed Catherine’s personal character and the existence of a previous marriage. These perceived moral downfalls led to her failures, and not the whims of mother nature, according to the Church and Tudor society.

The Tudor era consisted of a variety of wild and unsubstantiated claims regarding the blood of menstruation. For example, some individuals believed in the inherently dangerous and poisonous nature of women’s menstrual blood. Many believed that the absence of a bleeding womb could lead to the body becoming overrun with blood, potentially drowning the woman. Some believed that menstrual blood would cause harm to a man’s sexual member and also children conceived during menstruation would be born with red hair and suffer various deformities. While not everyone during these times held these nonsensical beliefs, they nevertheless publicly agreed with the primary viewpoint held by the Roman Catholic, and later the Anglican Church.

Thankfully, despite such orders from the Church, Tudor women often devised a variety of herbal remedies for the easement of pain. Such remedies included hot herbal baths, herbs placed into the vagina, and drinking herbs such as rue. These women, utilizing their cleverness, developed the first sort of “period” protection in the form of household rags made of cotton or wool bundled together and placed between the legs. Depending on a person’s status and access to such materials, Tudor women often washed and reused these rags. Unfortunately, there is little evidence to suggest what exactly held these cloths in place. However, it has been suggested that women of this age wore some form of girdle or rough underwear.

The onset of menstruation for many young women during the Tudor age consisted of the time when society acknowledged their transformation from young girls into womanhood. It is interesting to note that the age of consent for the time, approximately twelve to fourteen years of age, coincided with the average onset of menstruation.

Menstruation, although taboo during the Tudor age, nevertheless constituted a very common occurrence. Tudor society expected all females to get their periods, experience them regularly and to subsequently have the ability to conceive a healthy child. The inability to do so constituted, on the part of the woman, a serious religious and moral failure. Although rarely spoken of, the menstrual cycle, nevertheless, represented a very important part of Tudor society.

Deep Inside I Always Wanted Children

To Have Children Or Not To Have Children? That Is The Question.

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

Deep inside I always thought I wanted children…probably… eventually…possibly. When I graduated from college in the late 1990s, friends started having children while I remained happily unencumbered. Even after I married, our family planning consisted of not having children right away. And when I reached my late thirties–a time when many childless women become desperate for motherhood-I nevertheless did not feel like I was missing out on anything.

Today, more and more women are choosing not to have children, and while the stigma has not entirely lifted, it is not entirely what it used to be, either. Some say the urge to have children is partially biological. If so, then what does that say about women who do not want to have children? I meet women, both older and younger, who struggle with the contemplation of parenthood. Should they try to have a child anyway, and if they do not, will they regret it later? Furthermore, do they actually want a child to fulfill their own needs, or do they feel the pressure of society, their extended family, or even a spouse? The issue is obviously even more fraught for women of prime childbearing age who are having trouble conceiving. How far should they push the issue, and how much money are they willing to spend on making it happen?

In my late 30s and early forties, my husband and I did actively try to conceive. We were unsuccessful in our natural attempts. We started to consider IVF (in vitro fertilization) but the physical ramifications and financial burdens were too great compared to our apathetic desires. I have seen other women who wanted children so much that they almost seemed to erase a part of themselves with their anxiety. Though I probably would have welcomed a child, the yearning of these women seemed absolutely foreign to me. As a result, we just decided to stop focusing on having a baby, and a baby never came.

I do not regret not having children and I do not feel like I missed out on the experience. However, I rarely volunteer how utterly happy I am with the decision I made either. This decision has allowed me to prosper in other aspects of my life. It has granted me the time to be able to successfully start and run a business. It has allowed me to become empowered in a way that a full-time mother will never experience. In essence, a childless life has given me both personal and economic freedom.

I used to wonder how life could have been different. Could I have been that supermom who juggled family and a full-time career, giving my extra time to my family, instead of providing open availability to my clients? The straight answer is no, and whenever I traveled down this possible future path, depression would come upon me. No matter how helpful my husband promised to be, I knew the bulk of the responsibility would fall on me, the mother. Deep down I always knew that was not the life for me.

I have never given life to another person. However, I am amazed and grateful, daily, at how much happiness has come my way. I have friends of all ages. I’ve had incredible romances, spectacular travels and now an amazing marriage. I take pleasure in being able to take my niece to Europe every summer and show her the wonders of the world. I am not immune to the desire to care about other living creatures. I am the mother of five cats, whom my husband and I call “the kids.” We love them dearly and they play an important role in my life, just as I do in theirs.

So many accounts of lives without children–lives such as mine–are met with negative societal reactions. It is difficult when one is young to make the distinction between what you think you should want, and what you actually want. One thing everyone who is childless hears is, “If you don’t have children, you will regret it later.” They are wrong. I do not regret my decision. To have no regrets means one experienced everything just as one had planned and made the correct decision at every single juncture. I honestly feel I have followed the path I was meant to follow, and children were simply not meant to be part of that equation.

To younger women who believe that a child-free life will be an unfulfilling one, please keep in mind that your future self is a person you have not yet met. Do not presume to know everything about your future self in advance, and do not think you can control every element of your life. The reality is, sometimes even the choices you make by default can bring great happiness–perhaps, just not the sort of happiness you initially envisioned.