Obsolete

I’m sixty years old. It didn’t seem like a big deal back in August when it happened. Forty was a big deal but not sixty.

A couple of days ago I was talking about aging with Gloria, my son’s mother-in-law and one of the wisest people I know. Specifically, I mentioned that as much as I’ve learned about the craft of radio performance over forty-three years of it, none of the younger people I work with seem to be interested in picking my brain. If I offer a small nugget of hard-won wisdom it seems to fall with a clunk on deaf ears. I believe I’ve occasionally seen a furtive wink, a roll of an eye. I’m pretty sure of it.

Gloria nodded sagely. She understood.

It’s a shame, I continued, that as we age we learn so much but eventually we die and all that knowledge of fact, of wisdom and experience, is lost without ever having been shared and appreciated. Worst of all is the lack of respect that piles on top of the years. Instead of being honored, I lamented, old people in our culture are the butt of jokes.

If brevity is the soul of wit, Gloria is a prophet.

“You’re obsolete,” she said offhandedly. “We all are, people our age.”

She said it as if she had just noticed that my shoe was untied and thought I should know.

I’ve been unemployed since October and this is the third time in three years I’ve been between jobs. Radio is an aging technology, an industry being dismantled. We’re sputtering to an end together.

I’ve had a wonderful career and no regrets. If it’s over that’s fine because I still have plenty of life left in me with wonderful friends like Gloria.

I’ll age gracefully. I’ll be obsolete, except to my family. That’s all that matters.

Sometimes, though, sixty is starting to feel like kind of a big deal.

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.

3 thoughts on “Obsolete”

  1. In my humble opinion you and Gloria are both right. Sixty is a big deal. And, yes, people who haven’t been 60 yet may likely believe it’s obsolescence. But – over-60’s still know lots of valuable stuff that one only learns by being over 60. Maybe we have to content ourselves with the knowing and not the sharing of same?

  2. I turn 60 later this year, and the question I have is….HOW DID I GET TO BE THIS OLD?!!??? Where has the time gone? You’re right though….family is what matters. Great blog, Dave!

  3. Dave I believe that obsolete and irrelevance are states of mind that are helped along by a younger generation with A.D.D. But there are plenty of examples of elder statesmen and women who remain or remained relevant such as George Burns, Andy Rooney, Betty White not to mention all those who stayed relevant long enough to leave a considerable legacy to move the human condition forward while struggling for enlightenment.

    As I enter into my 50’s and watch my parents age and pass and I ponder my own life’s meaning, I constantly ask myself “how do I remain relevant…what’s my legacy”?

    While there may be many younger who may not yet seem to care, there is a world out there of people struggling to find peace, happiness and meaning for their own lives who are looking to be entertained and perhaps enlightened by humor and wisdom…I for one can’t wait for you to FIND YOUR VOICE again! …and I can’t wait to hear it!

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