Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theorizes there are a number of steps or stages to a person’s development. Represented as a triangle you would start with the basics needs at the bottom and move to the more developed stages at the top. For more info you can check out here.
Sometimes I believe I haven’t progressed much along that path. Oh I certainly have the basic Physiological needs met (food and water etc.). I have the
security and Safety needs met of body, both personal and family, so while my pension is small I seem to have enough to live on. So far at least. It’s level 3 that sometimes gives me pause, the Love/Belonging stage.
If you’ve read any of my previous posts, particularly some on my early retirement, you’d know I had (or have) some issues regarding my previous place of employ and the terms under which I left. Those issues revolved primarily around my disappointment up to and including the time of my early retirement. In part it was a disappointment or sadness that ended with my perception of the quick good-byes from my fellow employees, where it seemed to me they were just anxious to get it over with and get back to work. It felt (almost) like my 38 years of service meant nothing. Hurry, give Dwayne his cake, his retirement card, and a token “see you soon” and we can continue on with our day. I was deeply hurt.
But I digress. My point was that in that setting, my workplace, I had at one point felt that they were my family, extended but family nonetheless. That perception was quickly and effectively quashed. I rapidly felt alone, without my “family”, cast adrift into the retirement sea with no history. Probably one of the biggest components of my life, that of my job, all of a sudden meant nothing.
I continue to work at resolving those emotions however, to get past the hurt.
During my tenure there I tried not to be one who lived to work, rather I worked to live. The job was just a means to an end. Sure I tried to enjoy it and connect with others but in the end it was just my job. Perhaps that was one of the reasons my advancement felt limited, it may have been that my credo was more obvious than I thought and I wasn’t seen as a team player. Who knows. At any rate I tried to place the importance and emphasis in my life on things outside my job. I tried to focus my energy and enjoyment on my home and my family.
In this, my family, I feel more blessed. My wife often reminds me that the challenges I faced in my job, the tribulations in my career and the sacrifices I gave during my working life, weren’t for nothing. The life tools and the basis for growth that we gave our children was worth so much more. We provided more than a roof, and food on the table, we gave them the grounding and tools to build their own happy and fulfilling lives.
If there’s anything you should leave your children it’s a path, a means to follow in your footsteps. Give them guidance and support, and copious amounts of love. In that I hope I’ve succeeded. In fact it’s been said to me a number of times, particularly by my nephew among others, “I want to raise my kids just like you did”. We are held up as a positive example, as role models and mentors, as parents to emulate.
So perhaps I have passed part of level 3. The friends I have may be few but I think they are true friends. They love us and can be counted on in a time of need to support us. I feel gratitude that I have the family I do, that our children have the love and caring in their lives, to grow and mature as healthy adults. I can hope for no less while they raise their own children.
“Mothers tell your children ‘Be quick, you must be strong.
Life is full of wonder and love is never wrong.’
Remember how they taught you; how much of it was fear.
Refuse to hand it down: The legacy stops here.”