Are You Still Relevant?

In the past few weeks, future caught me off-guard. There’s a thin line between excitement and anxiety, and it feels like it turned into a high wire that I’ve been teetering on. But the unknown isn’t the trigger – it’s the lack of context. I wrote about dealing with peer pressure back in June and now, oh well, I’m gonna write about the lack of it.

It has already occurred to me that people are not meant to be islands, but I first truly realized that when I started becoming one. I do realize that this island metaphor refers to loneliness, but I’m happy to be a part of a very nice and friendly archipelago. I’m not solo, but at this very moment, I can’t relate to any of my friends.

For me personally, the simple reason is that most of my friends are older. While they’re building their careers, I’m building an IKEA clothes hanger in my (yet another) provisional apartment. And yes, I’m not the epitome of dumb: I’m aware that this situation is inevitably waiting for everyone at some point. It doesn’t matter if you’re launching a new business, if you’re the first one to start a family or if you move abroad all by yourself.

We’re taught to go with the flow, but some of the milestones happen on our personal islands. We all have our own ways, but it’s comforting when you can walk the path with somebody by your side. I was struck by how much importance I assign to shared experience – to that point that when I find no point of reference in my social context, I feel… irrelevant?

Seeing other people taking the same steps of a path that you share is very reassuring. Frankly, external validation doesn’t get much better than going for a beer and shouting “I KNOOW — I KNOW, RIGHT?!” at each other. Somebody knows; you’re in this together.

Well, I can’t say that I know anything at this point. When my friends talk, I listen and smile and in the meantime, I try to plant greens on my own island. Why was I even so surprised? Naturally, a change of context makes you irrelevant; and sure, shared experience would be much more comfortable (and comforting), but at least we can wave at each other from the shore.

And if you also don’t find anyone to relate to, don’t worry. Irrelevance is temporary, at least that’s what I think. After all, you can always relate to me.

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