There was a time when one partner brought home the proverbial bacon for the other one to fry. Now, it seems each partner is expected to deliver the bacon, analyze its nutritional value, and serve it in a healthy recipe with a French name.
Marriage used to be a partnership in survival of the species—read: nurturing and providing for a family—because that’s what life was about. Life is about much more now. Or is it? We have moved from meeting our basic needs for food and shelter at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, only to get stuck at self-esteem.
We postpone a family and work for a promotion. We save to provide “higher” education for our kids—after giving them 12 years full of extracurricular activities. And maybe we get a second home to vacation, and work, in. We can’t seem to accomplish or acquire enough to feel good about ourselves.
Nonetheless, life is more complex. We have time for more than gathering, eating, and sleeping. And we are inundated with options. Some of us work harder, some hurry home to sit in front of the TV, some get dressed up to be entertained. Some of us fill every moment, thinking we can have it all.
And that’s a sure sign that we haven’t quite figured out what “it all” is. We have more chances, and more dead-ends to find.
Some of us move on to self-actualization, after realizing that self-esteem only comes from being true to one’s self. Simplicity has a way of eluding us; but when we persist, we find out what’s truly worthwhile, and take solace in the simple.
“I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity,” said Oliver Wendell Holmes.
That simplicity includes Maslow’s self-actualization needs: Unity, balance and harmony, justice, richness, essence, spontaneity, beauty, benevolence, individuality, ease, truth, autonomy and meaningfulness.
Once we have found simplicity on the other side of complexity, we realize the value of both. One’s worth living and dying for. The other is part of learning which is which.
It doesn’t really matter who brings home the bacon or who fries it, if you know the value of eating it together.