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Confronting The Meaning Of Life

Everyone has a story Steve Hartman
CBS/AP
What CBS News Correspondent Steve Hartman says he loves about his job is you can just show up in a town, point to a name (Regina Bruce) and next thing you know, you're at some guy's colonoscopy exam.

Gina Bruce is a surgical nurse at the Harlan County Hospital. A top notch professional by all accounts. This registered nurse who just turned 41, still thinks she's a teenager.

"This is my parent's house," she says to Hartman as she brings him home to meet Peggy and Ernest Bruce.

Peggy Bruce says, "She'll never grow up."

Earnest Bruce adds laughing, "Gina has always been what I would call immature for her age."

Gina Bruce pleads guilty as charged. She likes going to high school football games. She's an avid thrill seeker and a non-conformist who's got more piercings in more places than a freshman at Berkeley. And she loves road trips - mostly to her favorite restaurant, Red Lobster, which is a couple hours away.

Peggy Bruce says her daughter "loves that Red Lobster."

Gina Bruce notes, "I don't want to be the person that looks back over my life and says, 'Gosh, I wish I'd done that.'"

Of course it's a lot easier to have a bass fishing, red lobster, carpe diem attitude when you don't have a bunch of kids tugging on your line. Despite her 16-year marriage, which recently ended in divorce, Gina Bruce never had children, never wanted children.

Her rationale? "What if I had a child and it was abducted? What if I had a child and it was deformed? And kids against other kids can be very cruel," Gina Bruce says.

Boy, that's a negative attitude about mothering.

But Gina Bruce says laughing, "It's not negative it's just …

Hartman interrupts, "I have heard that children can be enjoyable sometimes."

"Yes, they can," Gina Bruce says. "And I get that enjoyment around the ones that are not mine." She laughs.

Clearly not everyone is meant to have children. But what gives Gina Bruce her freedom and independence, may also give her - her story.

When Hartman does his Everybody Has A Story, one of his standard questions is always something like, "What brings meaning to your life?" And he has noticed for parents - the answer often comes easily, but for people like Regina Bruce, that simple question can be very complicated.

"I don't really know what my reason is," she says with tears in her eyes. "But I think there's a reason why we all are here. And I'd like to know what my reason is."

Of course kids aren't the only path to purpose, but Regina has decided you do need to find someone or some cause to put above yourself. And it takes a real adult to recognize that.