With each adult decade indicated by age 20, 30 and so on, most adults find they are markers that make them assess their lives thus far. Love, play and work join together to build the tapestry of our lives.

Entering adulthood beginning with age 20 and proceeding to age 30 and each decade thereafter, we find we stop to assess how our lives are going and what we look forward to. Some of us mark our lives based on achievements, others on love lives and most of us look at both. These are crucial markers that give us a purview of what’s gone on and what’s to come.

Freud spoke of love, play and work as worthy goals to measure one’s life by. This still holds up as we create the tapestry of our lives. All three give us a sense of solid security and substantial self-esteem. When one falters the others seems to as well.


We love people differently whether they are friends, children, parents or mates. But all help us also love ourselves because we feel accepted in an unconditional way. These are ideals we seek that bind us to others and secure our sense of self. While love can’t be defined succinctly we know when we seek it feel it and succeed at finding it.


While play is considered the child’s medium, it is also essential to adults. It may take the form of athletics, creative pursuits, or just hanging out and being adventurous. However, without it we feel a void — something is missing that brings joy and new learning experiences to our lives.


Some of us work because it’s essential to have financial independence and reward to have a secure life. But more ideally work is a certain kind of calling that inspires us and brings both frustration and pleasure to our lives. Play often enhances work when we can weave them together. Inventions and the creative arts when they bring us income are remarkable sources of play and work at once.

Life as a Tapestry

Thus life is a tapestry of love, play and work. When we can share our play and work with those we love the tapestry holds together better. It feels more unified and bound in a secure, safe, protected way. Some feel we can’t have one without the other or we begin to falter and need to shore up what’s missing in our lives. If you feel a void in your life, consider these three components and try to seek these three essential threads that build self-esteem and tie people to one another.

Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior found on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Visit her website for more insights about a healthy growing life: http://lauriehollmanphd.com.

Originally published at medium.com