Are We Irrelevant?

I’ve been caught in a deep thought spiral the last few days.

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.


9 thoughts on “Are We Irrelevant?

  1. You have said everything I think and feel. I know there are others that ride the wave of “what have I given back” to “I’ve given so much back.” You are so right. Everything I did in my life I did with good intent. The world around me could have turned out quite different if I had hatred in my blood all those years. And I was 40 once upon a time too — a pretty stressful time in all of our lives. Am glad you and I made it to the other side!


  2. You make me feel wonderful, my friend. It’s not that I’m down on myself, per se — it’s more like, every now and then I wonder, what have I given back to the world? Yes my kids and my career and I’ve taken in strays and all good things. I think every age feels that insecurity now and then. That’s why I keep the door closed. Hate the ucky mucky that comes out!


  3. I think our job is to live. It doesn’t matter if we are relevant. Relevant to???? Noting is static. We do what we do because at the time…that’s what was called for. Can’t look back because it doesn’t really exist. Generations behind us can’t imagine what it was like to live when we made the decisions we made. We live and it’s up to everyone else and everything else to decide if what we did mattered because I think we matter the most, when we don’t know it. Everything is irrelevant. Nothing really matters and that’s the great thing about all of it. It’s just a game and we each live in our own personal world, doing what we do, because of who we are. No one could have lived our lives the way we did. We learned as we went. Relevance is irrelevant. If someone loved you and if you feel good about who you are. If you had FUN. You can’t ask for more than that. At least that’s what I think. Everything I did in my life, I did with good intent, no matter how it turned out. I’m okay with that. Every older generation is pushed aside in the excitement of youth. I’m okay with that, because I did it too. LOL


  4. I think that when you worked your whole life before going on a pension (well earned) and you have kids you love and they love you, and they work for a living you did it right and you did it good. You can be proud of yourselves. You did do your best for society, you gave them your children and grandchildren and they will continue what you have done in the past.


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