Do I Need A…

18 September 2020

Some time ago a friend of mine wanted to buy a computer and they asked me for my advice on what they should get. I asked them what they would use it for, but sadly they had no idea, it was because they had been told by a younger member of their family that they ought to get one! That to me was not a good enough reason. I got them to learn a bit about computers and maybe get that younger person practicing their teaching skills by showing what they used their own computer for. It is a truism that we don’t know what we don’t know!

As part of a training course I went on some years ago, I learned of something called ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs’, which graphically displays the levels of our needs, from basic needs to feeling self-fulfilled. What I have found through my personal experience (and what I find fascinating) is how Maslow’s definition is so accurate.

In all, these needs are as follows:

Physiological
Safety
Belongingness and love
Esteem
Self-actualisation

The first two, Physiological and Safety, are basic ones – food, water, warmth & rest, then safety & security. We need these to survive. Belongingness & love are all on intimate relationships and friends. This, along with Esteem, regarding prestige and the feeling of accomplishment, relate to our psychology. But the top one, which is Self-actualisation, is all on fulfilment, like achieving our full potential, including our creative activities.

As a child I was given a simple camera, a Kodak Instamatic – it really was ‘point & click’! When I started work I bought a new camera that enabled different lenses to be fitted to it. A while later I got to do all the official photos at the wedding of a friend and they were delighted with the results, so that pleased me! I have continued to take the photos I like, mainly outdoor ones of sunsets, landscapes, holidays, but a few family ones and special events too. Did I need to have and know how to use a camera? Yes, most certainly!

When I was younger, in my late twenties, I wanted a particular car, in my case a Ford Capri. I got myself a good one, it served me well, it kept me all good and safe, even when I accidentally crashed it! I’d had a busy week working so I was tired, it was a Sunday morning, it had been a fairly long journey, the roads were quiet and I was about two miles from the place I lived. I made a wrong decision. The car could not be repaired, but I wasn’t even a little bit scratched. I had wanted that car, but did I need it? I did that day!

A little while later I put my name down to buy a house. I was seeing someone and she thought it was a good idea too, but in the end it didn’t work between us. Then I got a call from the builder, asking if I still wanted the house. I said yes, went to see the plot of land where the place was still being built and happened to meet an RAF guy whose house had been finished and he was just moving in. We became friends and still are, over thirty years later! When I have needed help he has been there and I have helped him. Did I need that house? I am glad I made the right decision!

A few years later my work moved me once more, this time to Nottingham. I bought a place near Chesterfield, I bought my first proper computer and taught myself how to use it, in some cases program it! Then work moved me around the Midlands, I enjoyed the work, learning all the time. As before, others asked me what value it was in me knowing about computers. Then it was all change, I was off again, this time to Sheffield and for a while Manchester!

By now I was a qualified trainer, standing up there in front of folk, telling them what to do and how to use some new computer software. It was fun. At least, I thought so. Finally it was time to move again, this time down to sunny Leicester, to a job where I continued training folk. The firm that I’d  worked for were cutting back on staff, so after 38 years it was goodbye. After a great deal of help and encouragement (you know who you are and I thank you very much!) I started my own business, but what in, you may ask? Photography and Computer Training! Did I need that camera? Did I need that computer? If you’ve read all of this, then you know my answer!!!

But surely, I hear you say, it couldn’t have always worked out well? In truth you are right. Whilst first on my travels by train to work, I met and actually ‘chatted up’ a pretty female. (My dear mother didn’t believe me – her shy, youngest son had been chatting up a female whilst on a train???) As it happened, around the same time I had by chance bumped into another female who I found very attractive, but I didn’t go with my gut instinct, I stayed with the the girl from the train. Ever the old romantic I guess… Anyway, we settled down for a while together, married then divorced as I found she was seeing another and didn’t want me. But that’s how life is sometimes.

So what we perceive to be a need isn’t always. We can however try to trust our own instincts. If we ‘feel’ it is right, then we should do it in my view. If it becomes hard work, when you are really struggling and nothing is working for you, then perhaps consider doing what I do. I take a step back, look objectively, then do what I know is right. I try and trust my instincts.

In the last few weeks and months I have had to do exactly that. There are some things I have had to make adjustments to in my life and it ain’t easy, but I have got some good and lovely people around me. I appreciate them all. Actually a few of my friends have asked how I am coping, now that I am surrounded by these inmates in this Care Home, but they’re not so bad and as I’ve said, the ‘guards’ are lovely and the food is good, but I will still moan just a tiny little bit if I get cold toast of a morning…

I am also reminded of a lovely line from an episode of Star Trek (the original series) by Spock. He had expected to get married but found his fiancée did not want him, so he turned to the new man in this girl’s life and said “She is yours. After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.” Since first hearing that I have always done my best to remember.

Right now I’m better off than a few folk I know or am hearing about and I am truly thankful to be alive for as long as I am meant to be. I will give what help I can as, where and when I am able to. Do I need a walking frame? Right now, you bet I do – but that will change. I already have that walking stick to support me when the time arrives…

To end this week I’ve chosen the following:
A car driver is in his car. He stops a pedestrian and the two of them start a conversation.
Car driver: Excuse me, can you tell me the quickest way to get to the nearest town?
Pedestrian: Are you walking, or driving?
Car driver: I’m driving…
Pedestrian: Well, that’s the quickest way, then…

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