I’ve always had these three imaginary Roman pillars in my mind. When I need to escape something, be it monotonous work, a boring movie, or an uncomfortable moment with friends of friends, I retreat there in my mind. I kind of imagine a garden, full of life and beauty, with three huge marble pillars in the center. Occasionally, they have vines growing around them, and sometimes the vines are flowering, too. (I realize there are only two pillars in the photo, but it was the best image I could find on short notice)
Lately, I’ve been trying to explain my values to others. It’s not something I thought I would ever have to really explain in detail, but several people have been asking me to put my values down on paper. The easiest way for me to do it is to explain things in the context of my pillars. There are three, and they each represent a different category of my value system:
These are working categories and are by no means refined. They do, however, give me a starting point to explain what I value in the world.
I am deeply passionate about the world around me. Whether that’s the outdoors, or the indoors, I consider myself a steward of each. It’s everyone’s responsibilty to take care of the planet by keeping things clean, managing invasive species, and minimizing the lasting footprint they leave on the world. Beyond that, society is also part of our surroundings and we’re responsible for its development as well. I value the people around me that enrich my life through their diverse background and unique viewpoints. Nurturing an environment of collaboration and interaction with ALL those around me is important.
Having some sort of work-life balance is vital, and few would argue any differently. Furthermore, having a work life that is fulfilling and rewarding is equally important. What is the point of spending half your time doing something you despise? Life should (and is?) about expanding one’s means and capacity with which to enjoy the world and people around them. In addition, I hold a deep respect for universal human rights and the standard of living they imply for all people. I work to expand the understanding of human rights, and pray for the day when they become more readily accepted by the world at large.
Why be here if we’re not having a good time? What’s the point? Living is about enjoying the time you’re given and pursuing whatever it is you might be passionate about. You can never be “too intense” about the joy in your life, and anyone who tells you different is just trying to rain on your parade. I value happiness, joy, and inspirational excitement and try to fill my life with as much of it as possible.
Well, those are the foundations of my value system – its pillars, if you will. It’s taken me a long time to put them down in writing, but I feel more confident moving forward with my life now that I have. Where do your values come from? Why do you think they evolved that way? I’d love to discuss it with you!