I’ve been thinking a lot about the most basic human needs. And watching a lot of Call The Midwife.
Call The Midwife is a British tv series that takes place in the 50s and 60s and follows a group of midwives living and working in London’s east end in the community of Poplar.
It was a different time but clearly one of transition.
The stories are based on a series of autobiographies written by the first main character, a real woman named Jennifer Worth.
I’ve read the books and can say that the tv series more than does them justice.
The one huge difference I’ve noticed between those days, 70 years ago, and now is community.
Now I’m not going to sit on my high horse and talk about you whipper snappers and you’re gosh danged selfies. Nope.
But they do play a part in the problem I’m seeing.
We no longer live in communities. We don’t pull together for the greater good the way our grandparents did.
We are focused on our uniqueness and our personal brands instead.
Is this a bad thing? I’d say, not entirely. No.
I think celebrating ourselves in a healthy way is a good thing. Finding our validation.
But I’ve read countless studies on finding happiness and it always lies with… wait for it.. being of service to others.
Being a contributing part of a community.
Now two years ago I might have scoffed at this idea. We don’t need no stinkin’ community! But I know better now.
Working with IMAlive gave me purpose when I really needed it. The messages I received from so many people who saw my work or read my words and were moved enough to reach out reinforced my sense of community and kept me going.
Gathering a herd of friends, all of whom are wonderful and loved, helped me create a community.
Hell, my Twitter friends who suffer daily torture at the hands of my dad jokes and terrible puns, have created a community.
How much richer is my life because of the service I do, the people I connect with and the people who silently lurk (I see you!)?
I’m not sure I have a solution to the issues and separations that come with the personal brand. What works for me may not work for others.
What I do know is that we, as humans, have the most basic need of belonging. Being needed. Serving others.