As I walk these lands in somewhat a feeling of total lack of responsibilities, I start to wonder on what it will be like for me to be older. I see the parents who have “invested” in their children, so they can see them grow and then, in turn, raise their own. To see the cycle and say “this is the best thing I had done in my life”. The money came and went, the stuff of life seems meaningless now. All except the kids.
I can see a certain pattern forming in familial relationships. The balance of work and family is heavily skewed towards work these days. People want recognition from others or self for the things they had achieved. My worry is that there are always limits to how far one should go with chasing this thought. For we can get blinded in the process and forget why we do these things in the first place.
I do not see quite the need in first world countries for people to put themselves in roles where they sacrifice the time with the family just to “provide”. I don’t mean to make a blanket statement or try to say that all family situations are the same. What I do want to emphasize is the need to question – why we do the work that we do? When will it be enough? Of course, we want stability for the family, pay for the kids education, the medical bills, the insurances, etc. As if the children understand any of this during their upbringing. I ask you though, have you ever thought about moving to a place where you don’t pay a premium for all these things? Where you don’t spend most of your life at work, away from the family? With just a few weeks a year time off to spend with the family.
Where is the limit that we draw and say, “hey, we can live with less material possessions, but by spending more time together, we create a better relationships”. If you think about parent/child relationships these days, they draw down to the basic things. Buy me this that, can I have some money to buy X? Why is that? They learn from the parents. If the parents are choosing to spend so much time earning money and not spending time with me, then I need money too to be happy. Or in my case, I need to horde and save money so that my mommy can be with me more. Of course it’s an oversimplification of what’s happening, but it does ring true. It’s also easier to earn money and export the child education to the occasional nanny. Why not? We earn more than we can pay for the nanny you say? Don’t be surprised when the children export us to a nursing home later.
I hope we all find abundance in experience, lasting loving relationships and non-material happiness during our life time, but for that journey to begin, ask yourself “who am I sacrificing today?” and “where can I draw the line?”.