By Manny Roman
A long time ago, I wrote about the fact that our lives are highly influenced by our tethers, our bonds to other humans and things. Some bonds are very strong and have a large influence and causative effect, such as the bonds to loved ones. Others are weak influences that can be ignored with minimal consideration, such as an article of clothing.
Some would say that our lives are not fully ours due to the tethers to other lives from conception until death. We all want to be in total control over our lives and our situations. To suggest that our lives are not completely our own could mean that we may not, in fact, be able to control our lives.
First, let’s check the validity of the statement that our lives are not our own because we are tethered and bonded to others. From conception to birth we are indeed tethered, no question about that. After birth, all the books speak on the bonding between children, parents, siblings and other family members. We bond with friends at school and we are even bonded, in a weird way, to the bully who takes our lunch money.
We become liberated by adulthood yet retain bonds to those close to us and add tethers to government through driver’s license, taxes, etc. We get jobs with the attendant bonds and tethers. We fall in love and repeat the entire process for our progeny. So, in fact, we really do live our lives tethered to other lives.
The bonding is sometimes by nature, sometimes by nurture, sometimes by choice, sometimes by chance, yet always tethered. We are sometimes pulled together and sometimes pulled apart. Some bonds are strong and some are weak and some are unbreakable and some are unsustainable.
All decisions and actions must take the bonds and tethers into consideration. When someone takes an action that jeopardizes a desired bond, marriage for example, the rest of the world wonders what that individual was thinking at the time. When someone takes no action to break an undesirable bond, an abusive relationship for example, the world wonders why.
The bonds and tethers to family, friends, authority, coworkers, money, etc., are what make our lives interesting, rich, rewarding, challenging and worth living. The wise among us can differentiate between the types of bonds we have. We can take actions to strengthen the desirable ones and disengage from the undesirable ones.
During the past year of the pandemic, many bonds were threatened or broken. Families were forced into separation by quarantine. Children were deprived the in-person interaction with classmates and teachers. People lost their jobs, lost businesses, their independence. Essentially, many of us lost control over our daily lives as well as access to the things that brought us happiness and comfort. An unimaginable number lost their lives.
So yes, we are tethered from conception to demise. This huge interruption of our daily lives has made this fact abundantly clear. Our bonds were stretched. Some were completely broken. Some revealed themselves to be of greater significance than we thought. Others proved of lesser value than anticipated. I am confident that the majority of us have conducted an assessment of our bonds, even if at the unconscious level. I’m not saying that this pandemic has been good. I’m saying this pandemic has caused most of us to put greater value on our strong bonds and lesser value on the weak ones.
As we move toward whatever a new normal is, we should work to reattach the desired broken and stretched tethers and break the unwanted bonds. I’m going to conduct this evaluation right now, well, maybe after one poker game.
Manny Roman, CRES, is the AMSP Business Operation Manager.