I went to the endocrinologist (I had no idea that this was a type of medical doctor, sounds more like a type of paleontologist) and he seemed to be more of a life coach than a doctor. Yes, he did tell me how sugar is the devil and in short, you are what you eat, but he also spoke about life. When I walked in he said, “So, you have the husband, the job and the family, what next?” I jokingly said, ‘retirement’. He didn’t find it funny, instead he went on to explain that no animal in nature besides the human retires.
We spoke about societal pressures and how we never really stop a phase in life, we merely evolve into a new version of it. Like when you’re younger you hang out with a certain type of friend but that friendship changes when you get older. You seek different things in a friendship than you did when you were younger but you still want a friendship. So in life, we want different types of things but we never really retire from it, it just becomes a newer version of itself. We chatted about the phases in life and he went further on to say that when we achieve all that we want then the next step is wellness.
This got me thinking about wellness and why we seek it as an after thought. Once we’ve achieved all we want, once we’ve reached our goals then we turn to our health. Look it seems to be life’s process, you go to school (for what feels like forever), then you work, then you get married or find a partner, then you start a family. Once you’ve reached these life goals then you seek meaning or spiritual fulfillment. But we’re all not the same, our lives don’t all take the same path. So then, why do we follow the same life process. You feel like a failure if your career doesn’t take off once you’ve finished school. Or if you cant have offspring by a certain age (refer to the article It’s easy to flock). You focus on these elements as a stage to pass in life and then only do you move to the next focus.
Look, some of us are lucky enough to find a need for spiritual fulfillment earlier in life, we get involved in the church/temple at a young age or get involved in some kind of community service. But how many of us actually search for self fulfillment, self actualisation till we’ve passed those phases mentioned above. Self-actualisation is explained at this link; https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/theory-and-psychopathology/201308/the-theory-self-actualization
Again I refer to Maslow’s heirarchy of needs, where he also sees self actualisation as the final level of attainment in human needs. Self-actualisation is where we as humans take ourselves into account, a almost retirement as you will, where you now take the time out to focus on your self and find out what you’re about and what you want out of life. But then, is this not a little too late in life, to wait for the near end of it to find out who you are and what you plan to do with this discovery?
The doctor basically told me what I already knew that I needed to do. I need to eat better, exercise more and stress less. But it took this consult to motivate me to change. Why could I not heed my own advise and possibly save a great deal of cash monies? Why do we wait for others to tell us what we already know, and why do we need someone else’s words of advice before we change? It seems that we need an external reinforcement or simply a source other than ourselves to ligitmise our internal thoughts and views.
But perhaps we need to start trusting our guts a little more and believing in the advice that we give ourselves. Let’s not doubt our views because if they’re good enough for someone else, they’re good enough for us. Also, let’s not wait to reach the top of the pyramid to put ourselves first. Self-actualisation begins today!