Remember the tv show ‘China Beach’?  Today marks the 25th anniversary of the emotional, groundbreaking drama that dealt with the Vietnam war.  Critics raved about how unlike any show before it, China Beach approached episodic drama very authentically. The show made a star of it’s lead actress, Dana Delany.  Delany went on to star in movies and tv series.  Her most recent project is ABC’s Body of Proof.

Dana is also a bit a trailblazer when it comes to her personal life. During recent interviews Delany has been asked about her marital status.  The actress is single and without children. She admits, quite comfortably, that she is alone by choice.  She explained while sitting with the ladies of  The Talk, that she is happiest when she has some ‘alone time’ and had no intention of changing her ways to suit a lover.  Here is some of what she had to say:

“People think I’m so weird. I just never really thought about marriage. I come from a divorce household, I didn’t see marriage as this positive thing and it just wasn’t something that I thought was going to make me happy so I didn’t really look for it.”

“And then over the years, I realized I like being alone, I really do, and it’s not a strange thing. I like my alone time, I like working weird hours. If I feel like taking a nap at three o’clock, I will; if I feel like staying up all night, I will; if I feel like leaving clothes on the floor, I will.”

“I do (like relationships), but I have to admit, the older I get, the more I love my solitude, and I don’t wanna give that up.”

“Again, it (having kids) just wasn’t high on my list. I admire actors that can do both, but I don’t know how they do it. I like acting, I like working.”

“My mom worked when I was a kid… I just saw my mom’s frustration at not being able to be fully creative, she’s a designer… having to be the perfect mom, having to be the perfect wife, and I saw her frustration and I didn’t want that.”

“I remember saying to my mother when I was 15 or 16, ‘I’m never having kids’, just blurted it out… She said, ‘Oh no, when you get older you’ll change your mind.’ I said, ‘Why? I don’t see it making you happy!'”

It’s true, people will think you are weird if you make the choice to be alone without children.  After all, many believe being a wife and a mother are the greatest achievement for a woman.  But that is far from true.  The biggest achievement should be the ability to find true happiness… whatever that means for you.

Dana isn’t strange or weird.  Dana is brave.  She is also part of a much needed conversation about the role of women in this life.  From the time we are young girls, we are told the importance of getting married and giving birth.  As a result, we are conditioned to believe that is what we MUST  do.  As a result,  so many woman end up in bad relationships or with children that they don’t really want or appreciate.

And what about the women who want a family, but can’t find a husband?  What about the women who want to be mothers, even on their own, but have fertility issues that either they can’t afford to fix or that are just incurable?  Even though it isn’t their choice, those women are made to feel as if there is something wrong with them and that their lives are unfulfilled.

I applaud Dana for not giving in to societal pressure to marry and have kids.  Whether it’s her intention or not, Dana is helping to pave a new road  that will allow women to feel free to live authentically.  And that is a tremendous gift for all women.