Saturday, December 19, 2020

Irrelevance?

 This week has been another rough go.

Not so much on the personal front, although there is not much good to report there.  My maternal aunt that went into the hospital with The Plague has severe brain damage due to the event of her heart stopping during her ride to the hospital.  They removed her ventilator this week and hope to be able to transfer her home for hospice care as it will only be (sadly) a matter of time. My paternal aunt that went into the hospital has also migrated from the main hospital and on oxygen to the ICU and a ventilator with sedation and her children told she will be there "for a while".  

No, my issues have been with myself.  And my relevance in a new and different world.

I have been wandering the highways and byways of the InterWeb because I find myself battling more and more with my own sense of irrelevance in the larger world.  Yes, I know what you will say:  you were always irrelevant in that sense.  And you are right - but my views and beliefs were, I thought, not so much so.

To summarize what my wanderings have taught me, it is that I, my beliefs, my way of life, and my future really have little relevance to the modern world.  Opinions of them essentially range from "Ignore them" to "Burn them all down", but there was very little sense of any sort of value or respect that was indicated.

I do not want to get too much off into the weeds debating those points or their authors in this discussion - that is not really the point of the meditation, other to acknowledge the fact that they exist or are there.  What I am dwelling is the fact that I am simply feeling this irrelevance heavily this week - and the outer World seems intent on doing nothing  but reinforcing that.

If you are curious sometimes, do a search on the phrase "What to do when I feel irrelevant?" or "How do I become relevant again?".  It turns out to be a slightly depressing stroll through psychology magazines and self help columns and commentary.  It essentially turns largely on the ideas that:  1)  You are not really relevant anymore; 2)  Accept your irrelevance; and 3)  You can possibly be slightly relevant if you accept the fact that are irrelevant but are willing to provide your feeble assistance where it fits in to society.

In other words, not a great deal of help there at all.

I do not write this out of a feeling of depression or a need to end it all - neither of those are at play or a concern here.  What is bothersome and I am trying to come to grips with is the fact that in something of a single year I have moved from existing with purpose to having no relevance to add to larger world.   As if experience, education, and beliefs have all been completely set aside.

Perhaps this is a form of that dreaded "Middle Age Crisis" - if it is, I have not had this version of it before.  What is doing is slowly eating away at my sense of doing something - anything - matters.  

It is, as the poet said, all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

20 comments:

  1. I may be totally off base, but here is my observation from this year:

    I have experienced the same thing. And I think it is a concerted effort the by all that is unholy to isolate and overthrow those of us who make a difference.

    I've seen marriages fail and relationships sour, first hand.
    I've battled a coup to get me fired or reassigned.
    I've had family go thru heartbreaking issues and been right there with them to provide what support I could.
    I've been injured and am working through a weird, individual recovery.
    I'm watching my country being raped and pillaged internally.
    Everything is in flux.

    But I have to keep my eyes on what doesn't move to keep my bearings.

    When I was a kid, dad taught me to plow straight furrows on the old Ford 8N we had. "Pick a landmark, and drive towards it, the farther out it is, the easier it is. Don't pick a cow, they move around." Keep your eye on what you know is unmovable. I have to remind myself that multiple times a day. All the things I thought were solid are proving to be pudding.

    This is the opportunity to sort through life and find what is important, solid, and deserves the best of my abilities. With prayerful consideration.

    For me, it's relationships with family, friends. Getting squared up with my Maker. Being useful as a grandpa and a dad. Turning loose the creativity and drive that I allowed to be bottled up. Finishing projects that have languished. Kinda of like shaking out, loosening up before it's time to sprint.

    It sure is gray and dark at the beginning, but keep on the path. Sort through the old, find the gold and hang on to it. Forgetting what is behind, press on to the prize! Remember that God rewards those that diligently seek Him. He is here in this messy world. He is the only unmovable landmark. Plow towards Him.

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    1. STxAR - I have to tell you (aside from all the wisdom you packed into your comment) how much I smiled when I saw your reference to a Ford 8N. We have a Ford (8N or 9N, I cannot remember now) at the Ranch which still runs. I have happy memories of riding on it with my father and my great uncle.

      This certainly has seemed like a year of failure - the examples you list are ones that I have observed, if not experienced, in my own life. In a rather odd way, the world seems both to have sped up, slowed down, and skewed around all at one time. I certainly end the year far less comfortable and certain about anything than I started it with.

      Having never ploughed (only made rows with a hoe), I can appreciate the wisdom of what your father said. And up to this year, I would have confidently said that I had my eyes on the Immovable Object. Now, for various reasons, I question if that is true for me as well.

      I do get the sense that, at least for me, I am about to enter this transition that you are talking about, both in terms of focus and effort. I have been working through my goals (need to write on those soon) and while they are not terribly different from years past, they are much more focused and tightly held. And to a great extent, completely irrelevant to a world that is quickly moving on.

      I appreciate you sharing and your wisdom. I will endeavor to show the same singlemindedness and focus that you have demonstrated.

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    2. The demonrats want us to feel as failures. STxAR was quite eloquent and I do agree.

      We just sold an 8N. Hubby hadn't been able to get it running since his back surgery. The man that bought it was an engineer/mechanic. His dad had one when he was growing up.
      After a few days and a few thousand dollars, it was running like new and he spent $2000 on a trailer to haul it.

      We and he, couldn't be happier.

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    3. Keep us apprised. I need encouragement to "endeavour to persevere" as well!! Two one-legged folks can stand, together.

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    4. Linda, the issue anymore is that it is just not a single party any more - wandering the webways last week, it is endemic everywhere: both major political parties, lots of parts of major religions (in an odd turn of fate, I find the Libertarians to be least concerned in this regard.

      One of my projects - you know, if it ever happens - would be to restore the tractors more. The bucket addition is not as great on those as it could be, but they are great little haulers.

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    5. STxAR - I will indeed! Next year is shaping up to be quite a year and we, the one legged, need to stick together!

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  2. I’ve been on that trail now for five or six years. It’s one way and goes straight up too, if ya catch my drift. The world is moving on TB, and leaving us behind.

    To be relevant, TB, you have to have something to offer that world. Let us examine your skill sets:

    Hmmmmm. Disciplined martial artist. Poet. Christian. Critical thinker. Family man. Manager.

    That right there will make you a public enemy with at least 50% of you countrymen. Add the fact that you’re white, over the hill and male... what are we up to now? 65%? 70%? If I were you I’d flip the world the bird, get off right here, and focus on the important stuff. That’s the elders, the wife and the kid.

    Hang in there TB...

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    1. Glen, we have certainly talked about progress on this blog before (and my general concern with the misconception that "progress" is always an upward direction) and by no means am I under any belief that any of us get out of this alive (to your "one way/straight up" comment"). What has surprised me, as I wandered the webways, is the level of virulence which I have not seen before.

      "To be relevant, TB, you have to have something to offer the world". This reflects a number of the articles that I read over the course of the week. They all make certain assumptions. One is based on the nature of the author, older people do not have as much "relevance" to offer and therefore should be satisfied with the little bit they can offer. The second is that the relevance was only in specific areas ("mentor someone" was often a suggestion).

      You are right on my focus being different Glen (and probably more than correct that my skill set does not fit in, practically or theoretically, with the world as we know it now). What does bother me - why I seem to be writing this at all - is that in the rush for the "world" to find new relevance (and effectively make us irrelevant), it is tearing at the foundations of the society it lives in. I may not be a brilliant civil engineer, but in general my understanding is that tearing out the foundation does nothing to maintain the rest of the structural integrity.

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    2. One of the hardest lessons I ever learned is this: some things, the kids just have to learn for themselves. They don’t want your input, and if you offer it and get proven correct... it only makes them angry.

      When my family tore itself apart years ago, I was convinced that I was relevant and right in my positions and deserved to be heard. When I refused to accept my irrelevance and be silenced, I was exiled ... and at that point I was happy to go.

      I believe that for men like us... it’s possible that we can no longer live for today because the foundations have already collapsed, and perhaps we’re all irrelevant now...? Maybe all we can do is live for tomorrow, because today is a spiritual, intellectual and moral write off? It is an intensely bitter and cynical way to view the world and my place in it... but I honestly don’t see an alternative right now.

      Too many people just HAVE to whiz on the electric fence. Their feelings are what count, reality is just a defective construct. Consider that old Mythbuster who famously said, “I reject the parameters of your reality, and substitute my own...”

      He’s irrelevant now too!😉

      Perhaps it’s all just part of getting old.

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    3. Glen, I find that hard here as well. Maybe it has always been this way, the young eventually ignoring the old - but it sure seems to me that it has been taken to a new level now, an active level of actively decrying anything old.

      I have to think about your proposition that the foundations have already collapsed and tomorrow may be the thing to live for. In some ways I think it is true - in others, I think (at least) my job is to archive those foundations for someday when they are needed.

      The funny thing about that quote is that, in fact, it can be thrown the other way as well - but if we all reject each others reality, what is reality?

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    4. 2 Timothy 3:2 answers the youngsters throwing old ones to the wind.

      Reminds me of the story of the old ones pulled into the woods to die. One man couldn't do it. Hid his dad in the cellar. When the spring planting died off, he advised his son to thresh the roof and use it to replant. And the man was found out, because of wisdom from the old ones that the young ones didn't have.

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    5. Reality, TB - is that which remains despite your refusal to believe in it.

      And if you can debunk my Theory Of Everything and find some basis on which to refute it... I'd be eternally grateful.

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    6. STxAR, what a wonderful (and very wise) story. I am fortunate that through my mother (when she remembered more) and my father and her brother and my great aunt, I have a memory of the area that the Ranch is in that spans more that 100 years. That is sadly reduced were I to remove those sources.

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    7. Fair Glen. My definition of reality is the likelihood that you will fly if jumping off a bridge. No matter how much you believe, it will not happen.

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  3. When the King rides the land is renewed.

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    1. Just so, it is true. I have to say things seem to have gone on far longer than I would have expected for that to happen - but maybe that is simply my weakness and my inability to face discomfort and some level of inconvenience. We have not even reached any point of pain.

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  4. On my journey through your new to me blog. I notice some of your commenters are familiar to me from various other above average sites. The comments above are wonderful, wise, informed, smart. I'm retarded, but here is a little of what I know.
    The evil phuquer's have been termiting away at the foundations of all that is good, forever. They have infiltrated every government, department, company, organization, group and club. Their goal is simple, the rule of Satan(even though they don't believe in Satan, being good atheists). Your knowledge of the hereafter is your unmoving guide post. No matter how bad things seem, remember, the Lord works in mysterious ways(Murphy's Law applies to evil phuquers too). As everything crumbles or crashes, your AO(area of operations) may be relatively well off. If not, well, we deal with it as best we can. There are MANY things worse than an honorable death. On that happy note, I'm greatful to have found you.

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    1. Tree Mike, I am blessed to have some of the finest commentators on Social Media that kindly share their wisdom with me and each other. That is a credit to them, not myself - I just provide the canvas, they the lovely shades of colors that make the painting.

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  5. ..this is what I always mutter..usually when drinking with friends. We are a infantesmal blip on the radar that is life on earth. It does not mean that our lives have no meaning but quite the opposite. life is all we have and will ever have. Make no excuses for trying to make yourselves happy in life.

    Not cheery. Probably not even on topic!

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    1. EGB, certainly one thing I have decided to work on this year is to find small ways to give myself more joy. To make a habit of it. Too often I let it slip into the background of what "needs" doing.

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