The humanist psychologist Dr. Abraham Maslow developed the hierarchy of human needs. He determined that after the basics of food, water, and shelter and your immediate safety needs are met, the next most important necessity is the feeling of love and belonging.
These past couple of years, I have been sustaining a feeling of belonging largely through my writing. In addition to this column, I get and answer lots of email and phone calls. These interactions are meaningful, and they fill an important gap.
I’ve also discovered that strong and productive relationships can be built through video counseling. The results are much more effective than I ever would have imagined, and I see no reason to “go back to the office.”
With the ongoing pandemic and fuel prices still very high, working from your home office continues to make sense for a lot of people. I am more efficient and more relaxed at home, and I am not alone in this. Researchers at Stanford University have found that “Working from home will be very much a part of our post-COVID economy.”
Only about half the population will be able to work from home, however. Those in retail, transportation and medicine, for example, will still be going to the office, and many people will enjoy that experience because of the social interaction. I totally get that.
When you are used to being around your peers, it becomes a part of your life and your consciousness. For school kids, especially, being with other kids is a huge part of their world, and the isolation of the past two and a half years has perhaps been hardest on them.
Getting kids back into school, so their parents can go back to work makes sense for many families. Yet others have adapted to the new normal and are finding that home schooling and officing are really the way to go. Who knew?
Don’t get me wrong. I have not become a hermit, and we should all remember what Dr. Maslow said: We need each other. I do miss the social interactions and the camaraderie of being in an office setting. I also miss late dinners in nice restaurants with my peeps. So, yes, some of the fun is gone, and it’s up to us to create new ways to replace that energy.
Many of us who have been forced to pivot are finding that the old ways didn’t serve us as much as we thought. Many people have taken the giant step of quitting their jobs to strike out on a different path. Creating new ways of making a living and living their lives is now their priority.
I am always wanting to move my life forward. Sometimes that is very stressful, and I am backing off from any big changes for now. My motto is to enjoy what I have created and to continue to contribute to the well-being of humankind, while most of my work has become virtual.
I am taking longer walks, playing more music and dancing with my wife around the house. Life is not without its problems, and this financial stuff is scary, so we are backing away from spending as well.
This summer will be filled with a lot of free concerts in the park and boat rides around the lake at sunset — and that’s not a bad way to go through this part of our lives.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of eight books and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with more than 28 million readers. He is available for video consults worldwide. Reach him at email@example.com. His column appears Sundays and Tuesdays in the News-Press.