That moment when you realize that you no longer belong.
It sort of sneaks up on you in a lot of situations, I think. You are, for the most part, consumed with living your own lives, carrying on with the day to day responsibilities of what you have to get done. Head down, hands on keyboard, moving through the seemingly inexhaustible pile of items calling for our attention.
Until suddenly you look up and realize that you are out of place.
Sure, things have changed. Change is a major part of modern life. People come and go, policies changed, projects rise and fall, furniture comes in to fashion and then out. These are the normal expectations one has come to have of modern life.
But it is the subtly changed undercurrent that leaves one feeling adrift.
It might seem a little undefinable at first, that nagging feeling that something is slightly different. You try and shrug it off - you have been pretty busy, to be sure. Maybe you have been a little out of touch. But then as you start to pay attention, you realize that things have changed. The power structure has shifted. Policies which seem disjointed suddenly lock together into a relevant tapestry.
And you realize that you have been left behind.
Perhaps not physically left behind - after all, we all serve a purpose. But you are no looked to or for as a contributor; instead, you are simply expected to shut up and go along. The way things were are not the way things are and best that you simply accept the fact and quietly go back to your corner.
All of a sudden all that seemed so important loses its glamour. The years of sacrificing and going the extra mile are washed away, left on the other side of a gully filled by a stream you can no longer cross.
It is a shocking thing when it happens - and yet, the most freeing thing in the world. Suddenly, you are presented with the fact that perhaps for the first time in a long time, you can get on with your life.
After all, you are no longer of import. So who will notice?