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Old 07-25-2014, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Way Up North
225 posts, read 229,995 times
Reputation: 420

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlearts View Post
When the children are grown and gone, the pets have died, and you don't have a job to prove your worth, what coping skills do you find successful?

Us:
Kids and grandkids live far away
We're always watching our weight, so I have lost my urge to cook and bake
Our old friends are spread around the country, so frequent socializing is over.
We have both retired early(against our will), although DH has a part time job.
We live in a new state where we don't know anyone to hang out with.
We choose to be pet free right now, so we're freer to come and go, but our travel budget is limited.

We keep pretty content by the fun of working together on home improvement projects, but really, I'm not sure how we'll fill our time when we run out of them.
We have each other, enough money to get by, and fairly good health, but the things we do just seem like filler. They aren't really fulfilling. We miss being important to our kids and our work.
I am single and retired, and I am so busy that I have to look at my calendar when I want to go out to lunch or something with friends.

Have you gone to your local Senior Center? It is not a place for ancient "old fogeys" like a lot of people think. They are very nice places with lunch every day for which you pay a modest suggested price and all kinds of activities to take part in...examples: cards, exercise classes, craft classes, creative writing classes, book clubs, and they take both day bus trips and overnight bus trips. You meet a lot of people there, and you will make friends with some of them. I would seriously suggest trying that. Then you will have friends to do other things with. You might even want to volunteer at your local Senior Center, although it is not necessary. People of all income levels come to the Senior Center. I am my mother's caregiver, and we eat there at least once a week so she can see her friends. We see some of the richest business men in town eating there also. Best of luck to you and your husband!
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Old 07-25-2014, 09:41 AM
 
10,812 posts, read 8,056,502 times
Reputation: 17010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minervah View Post
Here's the thing, if the OP had stated something like "I feel irrelevant, what do you suggest I do?" or "I am trying to deal with feelings of irrelevancy and I am having a difficult time coping, " she would have my sympathy.

But her question was "How do you cope ceasing to be relevant?" implying that those things which make her feel her irrelevancy applied to everyone else as well. That's what stood out for me. Many of us responded that those things which she felt she had lost did not exist in our lives to make us feel relevant to begin with and those who also experienced similar losses said these things did not define their relevancy. So the OP was making some pretty broad assumptions.
That was exactly my reaction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
Also, hobbies and volunteering don't can be a weak substitute for the close interaction of family and friends if you once had it.
For those who are mourning the loss of such interaction, hobbies and volunteering are two excellent ways to establish new connections with others.
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Old 07-25-2014, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,967,079 times
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Feeling "relevant" is feeling needed. So yes, volunteering is all good. I still think the OP is missing her place within her circle of family and friends, her role in that. There are many people who are so family-centered that volunteering (just that) is OK but just doesn't really cut it for them.

Seems like ways to stay connected with family and friends left behind would be a biggie. Maybe regularly sending the grandkids (if she hast them) or other folks "back home" books, small pieces of personal artwork, etc and requesting them in return could help, and frequent online communication. Something to maintain that vital connection, on top of which volunteering can play a role.
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:19 PM
 
4,571 posts, read 7,054,651 times
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relevant is the new buzzword for people retiring. Someone I know (high level professional) went to his company's retirement conclave and that's what they talked about alot...feeling relevant. They used that word alot. Go figure.
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
13,784 posts, read 23,800,954 times
Reputation: 6195
On the other hand, not being relevant can have some benefits too.

No more long budget meetings to attend, no more phone calls at 2:00 AM telling me that the overnight updates just kicked offline, no more 6:30 AM flights for work, no more feeling guilty about reading Fansgraphs at night knowing I have a performance reviews due tomorrow...

I'm not minimizing the "problem" of being no longer work relevant, but it can have advantages too.

Many times I've found that life is an attitude...
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:35 PM
 
1,075 posts, read 1,117,167 times
Reputation: 1416
Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlearts View Post
These are all good suggestions, and I thank you all for them.

I KNOW perfectly well I could volunteer for any number of things (I have volunteered for many things over the years), and I have nearly finished a novel, and I have PLENTY of interests I pursue.

My question was how do YOU keep from feeling irrelevant when you don't get validation from the same sources you have all your life, like job, friends and family?
You don't look for validation from your job, friends or family. You are relevant just for the mere fact that you are a living, breathing being.
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Old 07-27-2014, 08:42 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,726,438 times
Reputation: 32304
Default A diametrically opposed view:

Quote:
Originally Posted by organic_donna View Post
You don't look for validation from your job, friends or family. You are relevant just for the mere fact that you are a living, breathing being.
I don't see it that way at all. As a species, we are hard-wired to be social, to interact with others, to contribute to the welfare of the tribe. Although there are some individuals who are content to be hermits and recluses, they represent a very small percentage of humanity. An individual shipwrecked on a remote island with no hope of being rescued and thus rejoining humanity has very close to zero "validation and relevance" from that point until the moment of death.

It is by being needed, by helping other people, by developing skills and competencies in the context of some sort of a society (whether the social circle is small or large) that we get validation and relevancy.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:48 AM
 
Location: middle tennessee
1,924 posts, read 987,556 times
Reputation: 6931
I had to look up the word "relevant" and then I read your replies and thought about them.

I don't miss being relevant because I've always thought of myself as being imminently replaceable. No matter how much you are needed or liked or appreciated or recognized, if you disappear, you will be replaced and life will go on. You may be remembered fondly..... but life will go on without you.

I have had a few things happen in my life that I thought I would not survive, but I did, and then I still had to eat and feed others and provide a place to live, pay the light bill, etc. etc, and gradually there was joy again.

I liked my work but it was what I did to make a living not who I am. I am an artist whether or not I ever paint another picture or anyone sees my work and says it's good. I am a good cook even if I only feed myself. I don't think I need validation from others to appreciate myself. I do enjoy it when it happens but its rare.

My children have moved on and we are all happier. They are workers and have good lives. I am very proud of my grandchildren. I feel successful as a parent even though my parenting days are over.

I am enjoying this time in my life when I have no one to please or instruct or care for. My little dog and nature (and c-d ) are fine companions. I think I would do alright on an island as long as I had enough to eat

I'm not sure I answered the question.

volunteering: I'm all for it for those of you who enjoy it. It sounds like work to me.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Glenbogle
730 posts, read 1,026,458 times
Reputation: 1046
Quote:
Originally Posted by boogie'smom View Post
I am enjoying this time in my life when I have no one to please or instruct or care for. My little dog and nature (and c-d ) are fine companions. I think I would do alright on an island as long as I had enough to eat

volunteering: I'm all for it for those of you who enjoy it. It sounds like work to me.
Your post describes me as well. I always felt that retirement was what people are supposed to look forward to: the shedding of outwardly-imposed regulations and expectations, the freedom to do as little or as much as we want to do, when we want to do it, and to say things that in our younger days we might not have said for fear of repercussions (the older people get, the more slack younger people seem to cut them, LOL). In other words, enjoying the well-earned rewards of a life spent dealing with the rat-race that is modern society.... by finally reaching the point where we can retreat from it without criticisms. ;-)

Nothing wrong with being a hermit or a recluse (to any degree), btw. Just because it's different from the societal mainstream doesn't make it wrong or "abnormal". It's 100% right and proper for those whose temperaments make it so. :-)
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Old 07-27-2014, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,967,079 times
Reputation: 15649
There's the question of being relevant as a person, and the question of being relevant as a generation. I'm amazed at what we boomers have accomplished when we came of age and contributed to the workplace, tech developments, social change, and the arts. We, as a generation, kicked a**. Our music alone was revolutionary.

I don't feel "irrelevant," but I sometimes wonder, as we boomers age, if our whole group is becoming irrelevant to the world. What are we doing, really, other than checking out and pursuing leisure? Of course there are many boomers doing relevant volunteer work, but I'm speaking of us as a whole. I do think that the younger members on the globe will be relieved when the boomer generation has passed. Every aspect of the economy will change, and perhaps for the better.
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