The age of irrelevance

 

Getting older is like getting fatter. You don’t notice because it happens gradually.

One thing you do notice is suddenly being ignored. You notice because it seems to happen overnight. One day you’re a vital part of society and respected leader in your industry; the next day people merely nod at you with a perfunctory smile as if you were a greeter at Walmart.

This only happens with people who didn’t know you when you were young. Unfortunately, over time that seems to be most people.

Several years ago I mentioned this to my son’s mother-in-law, Gloria, a dear friend who is a bit older and very wise. I told her I was frustrated because my experience and knowledge of my business had always been sought by my colleagues but suddenly nobody seems to have any interest in what I think.

“You’ve reached the age of irrelevance,” she explained matter-of-factly.

I had to let that sink in for a moment:

The age of irrelevance.

Gloria could see I was stunned.

“It happens to all of us,” she said gently. “I used to be the person my managers turned to for ideas. Then one day they weren’t interested in any of my observations or suggestions.”

I didn’t know what to say. It made no sense and yet this is exactly what I was experiencing.

“It’s like when your kids are growing up,” Gloria continued. “They rely on you for everything and then one day they suddenly don’t need you at all. You’re irrelevant.”

Nobody ever warned me this would happen. I don’t like it but I’ve come to accept it philosophically, if not quite emotionally. It still hurts a bit. I feel kind of useless.

Irrelevant.

It’s been a few years since Gloria explained to me this particularly jarring bump. I’m getting used to it and so will you.

I just thought someone should give you a heads up.

My friend and blogging partner, Anita, shares her thoughts on her revelation here: Anita’s Blog.

(Copyright 2017, D.L. Williams. All rights reserved.)

Author: Dave

Dave Williams is a radio news/talk personality originally from Sacramento, now living in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Carolann. They have two sons and grandsons living in L.A.

1 thought on “The age of irrelevance”

  1. When the “being ignored” event first happened to me, I mentioned it to a friend who’s younger by about a decade and she said hmmm, I haven’t noticed that. I said, you will. Unless you wear purple feathers all over your body when you grocery shop, there’s not much chance you’ll stand out. Which is both a good and a bad thing.

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