"I gain fresh appreciation that anything perceived to be beyond this moment
might be aching after irrelevance."

Aging might be a process by which we learn how to cope with encroaching irrelevance. What I twenty years ago thought might liberate some oppressed class, helped only a few find their innate freedom, and even then, I quake at the thought of ascribing anything I did to their discoveries. I at most served as a medium for any message I believed I carried, my audacity perhaps communicating most clearly whatever I was trying to say. I would stand up and speak. I often felt eloquent then, sometimes insightful. Those insights seem irrelevant now. Civilization seems to progress by going backwards to relearn what prior scholars and philosophers firmly believed they'd cleanly resolved. Fresh generations enter skeptical of their elders, and honor most of them by assuming they were at least misguided, but probably wrong.

Yet we, as a society, persist in sharing our insights, of audaciously standing up even when we should know that we'll later be found misguided, rightly or wrongly, it will not matter.
Relevance comes with a shockingly short shelf life. Irrelevance seems as eternal as entropy. Some age gracefully, as if fading into ever more delicate hues. Others age with ferocity that could alienate even their most ardent supporters. Either way, irrelevance has her way.

Relevance might exist only in exquisite moments it was never intended to survive. Revel in that warm flood of goodwill in the moment it washes over you for that tide only rarely ever comes in and might not ever return. We've earned nothing, learned nothing of terribly great import that could not be undone in a single indifferent turn. Hold on to whatever faith results, I tell myself, for that stands in as the gold, and the frankincense, and the myrrh of the engagement. The paycheck will be cashed and the cash traded for necessities which will sustain the long, slow slide into deeper irrelevance.

It might become an enjoyable excursion. The clawing struggles to achieve relevance seem like an awfully brutal way to live. Irrelevance arrives gently, without excessive competition, without exertion at all, save the dark energy allocated to denying its encroachment. This, too, can't last. Each day does end, each enters darkness with foreboding made ridiculous by the following sunrise. Dawn injects fresh optimism into this organism, but increasingly, an optimism supported by something different from the aspiration for relevance. I might hope for absurdity today, or obscurity, blessed obscurity. I might lose my need for different in performing my perfectly pedestrian activities of daily living, mere existence finally satisfying enough.

I ask, "Who knows?" and come up blank again. I might wonder why I wonder. Do I persist in the pursuit of knowledge I might have learned doesn't much matter? I once sought to become relevant by association, as if my close relationship with some noteworthy might rub off on me to render me as relevant as I believed him to be. His feet, too, were crafted from clay and my sense of relevance about as durable as my initiating delusion. I speak, therefore I am. My speech holds no residual rights to what was spoken. If I want to be again, I must simply speak. After a few repetitions, I gain fresh appreciation that anything perceived to be beyond this moment might be aching after irrelevance. We are a kinetic species, alive when we're moving and perhaps forever after irrelevant.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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