What are your 3 pillars?

What are the 3 most important areas of your life through which you filter all your actions and decisions? I listened to a podcast over the weekend where the interviewee discussed his 3 pillars:

  1. Family
  2. Business/Career
  3. Community

He went on to say that some people have more pillars, but for him, this keeps things simple. For him, faith was not a separate pillar, but was woven through the others.

I’m all for simple. I can’t say that I agree with him in that the 3 pillars always remain in this particular order. Now for him, perhaps they do, but they don’t for me. The pillars are more fluid.

Take family. There are certain family members and friends for whom I would drop everything at a moment’s notice to be there for them. Others – not so much. Certain parts of my extended family are so estranged, I’m not sure the chasm will ever be bridged. This definitely factors into decisions with regard to estate planning and beneficiaries. We don’t have kids. Why would I want to list certain family members as secondary beneficiaries on pension and life insurance benefits if they can’t give me the time of day now?

Career/job was drilled into my head as the most important thing from childhood – well into adulthood. Go to college. Get a job. Work hard. You need the paycheck/benefits. Work comes before anything else. Start a side hustle. Busyness is viewed as a status symbol. So much of our personal identity is tied to our jobs. As the end date gets closer, I’m having a much harder time with this one than I thought. I’ve never gone more than 2-3 months without working. I’m definitely ready for an extended break to enjoy time with hubby, but I also need to have a purpose. If that can’t be filled via future “community” endeavors, possible part-time employment has been discussed. Hubs is good with whatever I decide.

Volunteering and giving back to my community has always been in my top 3 priorities. No arguments from me there.

I think there also needs to be a category for SELF. If I don’t make filling my own bucket a priority, then there’s not much left for family, career or community.

As I get closer to retirement, the people part of the pillars has become the priority. I no longer think twice about taking off from work if home/family requires it. At work, it’s more about student connections and and helping coworkers than completing my lengthy to-do list. As we resume in-person therapy dog visits, I’m trying to participate in more group activities and get to know other members. Not surprising, it’s work that offers the most social connections. Filling that void is going to be a challenge once I stop working, but a good chunk of it can be replaced through various volunteer activities. And working my side hustle. 🙂