Have you ever felt irrelevant? Some days I do. If I send out a communication to someone and receive no answer, I feel my message wasn’t important enough to elicit a response. If I try to involve myself in an activity and get gently pushed away, I feel unneeded. If I am around a group of people discussing a topic on which I have no current knowledge, I wonder what the heck happened to all of my expertise.
At any age, being relevant – important – to someone, something at sometime is essential to our well being as social animals.
Relevance Through Your Ages
During much of our lives, staying relevant is quite simple:
- As a baby, you were most likely the most important thing around – in your parents eyes. As a teen you were part of the ‘in’ group (or at least some group) – and were important to that group.
- As a parent, you were – and are – relevant to the support of and care giving to your family members.
- As an employee, you keep up your skills and knowledge so that you can continue to perform well and keep your job.
As we age, staying relevant becomes more difficult.
- Our adult children are launched successfully (thank heavens!), on their own, with little need or desire for our intervention or help. In fact, they frequently reject it when we offer unsolicited advice.
- As we retire from the workplace, our work skills can quickly erode and our contact with the greater world can easily diminish.
So, how can you stay relevant at any age?
How To Stay Relevant
At 80 my mother-in-law knew more about what was going on in the world than most of her kids and grandkids. She was able to provide intelligent commentary on most every recent news event.
To keep in contact with her children, an older neighbor is an early adapter of all new communication devices and an excellent texter.
My sister-in-law has started a new online business and is learning new skills from new friends in order to compete.
Keep your body and mind both in shape. Don’t discard something because it is new and different.
Learn about it and figure out if you can use it. Come on now, how many of us really thought Twitter would be useful? I mean, just the name has bad connotations to some of us – are you really a twit? The reality is, that many people are successfully using it to drive traffic to their business.
Maintain your outward appearance – we are still judged on it, even as we age.
Position yourself to offer advice, assistance, and time spent with a cause, an organization, or a person important to you.
Stay in touch with next generations of family. Make new friends who are younger than you (remember your Brownie motto – “make new friends but keep the old one is silver and the other gold”).
Be open to change, it IS going to occur. Incorporate change into your daily life, selectively.
Know that what you learned may not now be true. Learn how to ‘unlearn’ (what – Pluto isn’t a planet!?) and then, re-learn based on new discovery.Keep up with changes – most of them really are for the better. Would you really rather being using a printed encyclopedia rather than the internet? Would you really rather hike to a pay phone to call for help when your car breaks down in the middle of now where – rather than make a call from your cell?
Stay current with language changes – how are you going to talk to your grandchildren if you don’t speak the same language?
How do you stay relevant? Are there days when you feel like you are not relevant?