Some Questions About Relevance
Right now, I’m preoccupied with the idea of relevance. Everybody wants to be appurtenant or congruent in their various situations. My son begs to hold a cell phone, like his peers, so that he will look cool. We bloggers want our readers to think our words are pertinent and weighty. I avoid wearing what my daughter calls “mom jeans,” so my kids don’t laugh at me. All this so that we can carve a place in this world. We want to fit in and possibly get more likes or have more friends,
So, what if I’m not relevant? I ponder this as I sit at my local coffee shop.
Wearing my 5 year old t-shirt and reading glasses, two bottles of nail polish sitting next to me, I look up to see all the relevant people around me on their laptops. Some are meeting and discussing business. A 20-something with face shaved to his chin, dons a trimmed, narrow beard. He looks relevant. Another middle-aged man reads his tattered real estate manual. He was here last week in the same spot, a few more pages finished in his reading. Two women sit in the corner, each on their phones. Are these people relevant? And why do I find myself juxtaposing myself with these around me. Probably because I’m seeking confirmation of my own relevance. I look for it in the most unlikely places, coffee shops, social events, even church.
When I was in my early 20’s, I was unemployable because I had no experience. In my 30’s and 40’s, I was inapplicable because I had too many kids. In my 50’s, I figure I’m unsuitable because I’m too old.
So, who then is relevant? Maybe none of us, at least in the way we want to be. Looking around is no good either, because the people I see are either self-contained and not worried about relevance or looking at me to see if I’m relevant, a vicious cycle!
The conclusion I’ve come to in this place, and I’m sure somebody could’ve just told me this, is that I have to be fine with my own relevance or irrelevance, as the case may be. How do I do this? I’m not sure. Coffee shops are good places to contemplate such hefty issues, especially with a hot cup of Matcha and when you are procrastinating because you have a pile of papers to grade.