During the past few months this author asked approximately 60 people with a mean age of 68 the following question:
What is the most important thing in your life?
Survey participants were instructed to provide a one word answer.
The respondents included adults from a wide range of professions including: several psychologists, technology executives, teachers, a filmmaker, a pharmacist, a social worker, a construction worker, a writer, a professor, several attorneys, a physician, an artist, an advertising executive and a banker.
While this study did not focus on divorce, relationships or marital discord, the results reiterate the idea that love and intimate relationships are vey important to human beings. Moreover, when a marriage ends, members of the marital dyad and the family frequently feel sad, depressed and angry because a key component of their lives has been impacted by the shift in the the family dynamics.
Eleven people, 18.3 percent of the respondents, said relationships were most important.
Nine people, 15 percent of the respondents, felt that family was most important.
Six people, 10 percent of the respondents, felt that love was most important.
Another 6 people felt that love was most important.
Two people said that their children were most important.
One person said her spouse was most important.
Another individual felt his wife was most important.
Interestingly, 56.6 percent of the people who took the survey, reported that their interpersonal relationships and connections with others who were close to them were the most important thing in their life. This includes terms like relationships, family, children and love.
After the interpersonal category noted above, health was the most common response, since eight participants cited health in their response.
While this is a small study which restricted people to a one word answer, the results reinforced the importance of connections with other people. This is important information for psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, marriage counselors, physicians, health care professionals, managers, family lawyers, divorce attorneys and coaches
Health Becomes Increasingly More Important As We Age
Interestingly, sixty percent of the respondents over the age of 70 stated that health was most important. This may be due to the fact that as people age they lose some friendships due to friends and family members dying and they may have experienced some serious health problems in their lives or in the lives of their friends and family members.
Work May Be Overrated
While our culture seems to value work and productivity,
only one person stated that work was the most important part of their life.
Interestingly, this person was an unmarried artist in his sixties.
Two people stated that God was the most important thing in their lives.
Freedom And Independence
A couple of respondents noted that they really cherish their freedom and independence.
Another two people remarked that happiness was most important.
One respondent felt that peace was the most important element in his life.
Again, while this is a small pilot study, the data may cause some people to consider what is really important and meaningful to them and they may want to adjust the amount of time, energy and focus they invest in various aspects of their lives.
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a Psychotherapist, Author, Licensed Marriage And Family Therapist and the Founder of www.HighNetWorthDivorces.com
He can be reached at Dr.JayGranat@HighNetWorthDivorces.com.