I have been thinking about this, the priorities that we have at different stages of life. As a toddler, we want to be fed and nurtured. This is more important than making friends, achieving or winning a medal.
We want love, consistency and security as we explore the world and find out about life. Freud suggested that we are largely controlled by our urges, many of which operate below the level of consciousness.
As we grow into toddlers, independance and exploration become a priority. It’s very frustrating when we try to explore and get told “No” by parents over and over again. This is where we learn boundaries and more about social etiquette – please and thank you. We are becoming socially conditioned. Our ‘social self’ (how we must be to be accepted into society) is taking over our ‘essential self’ (the real person with their raw talents and needs).
As we grow older, our social self dominates (especially in senior school) and all we want is to fit it and be accepted. This is the priority.
As we age, we start to look at our goals and aims, our futures. What do we want to do with our lives. I believe society forces us to make decisions about our futures way too early. The career I wanted as an 18-20 year old is completely different to the one I know now fulfils me. How crazy is that?
So we choose university degrees which prove that we have a brain that works but doesn’t really tell anyone much more.
After university and a proposed career, we begin to think about a family. Again, this is conditioned by society to a large degree. I have often heard clients unhappy in their marriages saying, “Well, everyone else was doing it, so I guess I had to do it too”. Oh dear…
As we age and pass the competitive career stage, personal relationships and people start to become more important. We get past the urge to compete and have bigger pay checks than others and revert to ‘who is doing what’. I have never seen an older person displaying their degree certificates and their houses/cars. Instead – it’s all about relationships. Wisdom has returned! True happiness isn’t about what you have (although being poor isn’t good either – I am not referring to extremes), it’s more about the quality of the relationships you have with others, Connecting with others is where it’s at – trust me!
Make your life fit you, not what others are doing – super important advice!!
Life is not linear…so many people think this. Find a job, get marriedm have kids, make money and then retire. Well, in the real world this is NOT how it works. People get divorced and lose half their fortunes…back to square one, almost. Enjoy each stage and do not buy into the “I’ll be happy when…” concept.
Enjoy each stage – decide your own priorities irrespective of what other people your age and aspiring to. Don’t give in to social conditioning. We are all different. Enjoy your life, Challenge the social norms.
Have fun, don’t conform and have fun. That’s what life is about.
Photo by h.koppdelaney