I normally don’t care for these states of mind. They tend to be too reflective; they delve into the past and the future with wild abandon, full of should have’s and should do’s and what is the points of anything. I tend to close the mental door on these vagrancies, as they do nothing more than stir the pot on a stew that slowly cooking away.
I had a great conversation with my son the other day. I was babysitting and he works from home and we had lunch together. We talked about my boomer generation and what we’ve done and what those behind us will have to do to steer the world back on track.
I saw the world from the point of view of someone young and vigorous and concerned. And it was so different from the 69-year-old logic sitting next to him.
And I thought that, as we get older, we get irrelevant.
Not in a bad way — steer back onto the road. We are important to our family, to our friends, to the economy. But as you get older you do see the world zooming past you, and there’s really not much you can do to keep up with it. Nor, most times, do you want to.
The generation behind me is concerned about jobs, careers, paying for their kid’s college. They are in the midst of chaos and calm, struggling to make their jobs work and their money stretch and keeping their kids from drugs or worse. They are the ones who have to staff the overcrowded hospitals, pay for the world’s unemployment, and who have to evolve with the ever-changing education system.
I don’t have to worry about any of that.
Sometimes I look around and the biggest crisis I face is should I put away today’s laundry today or tomorrow.
At this point in my life I can’t change much. I can’t go out and get a job that matters; I can’t go to parent teacher conferences and school board meetings to make a difference. My vote or opinion on presidential candidates or additives in foods won’t matter much in the long run.
I find that even the things I used to do come with a bit of static these days. As Rachael’s blog (and my repost from yesterday) indicates, even my writing has changed. I no longer think and angst about writing full-length novels; even short stories look like a hill I have no energy to climb. I have to contend with the fact that blogging might be my only future writing outlet.
Which, at this point in my life, is okay with me.
But somehow that all makes me feel … irrelevant. That I can’t “contribute to society” anymore.
But, realistically — did I ever? Did anything I did at my last job really change the world? It made it an easier place to get around, but things have changed since then. Was I any good at being a parent? I have two sons who are the sunshine of my life, but did I really clear the pathway for their future?
See — this is what happens when I open that door.
All I can do is hope I make a difference somewhere. Maybe in the love I give my grandkids, the Angel Tears that sparkle in someone’s window, or with the words I find are easier to write than to speak.
Perhaps, in the long run, that’s all any of us can do.