Maslow had it right

I’ve been home from my summer trip for a little over a week now. Everyday since I got here, I’ve been going to the local YMCA to take different sorts of fitness classes and work out. Getting in shape has been a little chore, given my absolute physical inactivity this summer. The first day in the pool was a little rough. I nearly got lapped by one of the old ladies whom I used to lap all the time. However, by the end of the first day in the pool, I think things were getting better. I was actually able to swim a 50 butterfly. Hooray for small victories!

However, the most interesting thing about getting back in shape at the Y is the way that they interject their Y-ness into things. In all but one of the classes that I’ve taken so far, the instructors have had us think of one to three things that we’re grateful or thankful for. I assume that most of the other participants may have thought of things such as their families, beautiful weather, or good health. It took me no time to pick my top three things that I’m thankful for: potable water, safe food, and a bed.

Many times this summer, I have thought about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. For those who may be unfamiliar with it, people have different levels of needs that they must satisfy. Firstly, people must satisfy their physiological needs: breathing, drinking, eating, etc. Once they satisfy those needs, they will prioritize needs from the next level up. Next, people will prioritize their safety, then their social needs, then their esteem needs, and finally they will reach self-actualization in which they can work on things like morality, creativity, problem-solving, etc.

Sometimes this summer, I felt like I was working on the first level of the hierarchy, but since I’ve been home, I feel like I jumped from the first level back to one of the upper levels. It’s a little weird. I mean, Maslow is nice theory, but I just think that I never had to worry about it until this past summer. Growing up in a nice, developed place made it difficult to see the hierarchy in reality. But, I am pretty sure that Maslow had it right.