12. Am I still relevant ?

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Some time ago I read (somewhere online) the following statement by a 78 year old lady, recently widowed.

"I keep doing my best to live an active and positive life on my own, but I have absolutely no idea why."

Having lost her husband she was deprived of her best friend and strongest connection to the world as well as her main sense of purpose. She plodded on but obviously felt no longer relevant to life.

Most of us retirees (65+ers) have experienced this sense of irrelevance now and then. I certainly have.
My main sense of purpose these days is my web site where on average 100,000 visitors each month enjoy my lessons on music and bridge, my Blog, my music downloads. But when I am tired I sometimes think : "Well, I have done that now, it is all displayed online, there is no need for me anymore."
This mood never lasts long and disappears at once after a good night sleep, but still it is desirable to do something about it. I believe there are two useful remedies for this negativism.

Torrox village square - Costa del Sol, Spain 1. Friends
This is a common sight on most village and town squares I noticed while staying at the Costa del Sol (Southern Spain) in May 2007.
A bunch of old guys, sitting together on a bench in the morning. There is not much, if any, talking going on. Some read the paper, others smoke, others sit around and watch the world go by. Yet this is probably the most important ritual and happiest time of their daily routine. Come 1 PM they gradually return home for their midday meal and siesta.

In the latter part of our life daily contact with friends or acquaintances becomes (in my view) essential to feel connected to the world. This may appear obvious to an extrovert, but an introvert must really step out off his/her comfort zone and make the effort.

For me personally this is even a "double whammy". For not only do I have a strongly introverted nature, I also am a past geologist and place my own existence more within the context of the earth, solar system and universe, where the human species barely covers the blink of an eye.
So I have made the effort to come out off my shell and make (and mix) more with friends and acquaintances, especially the past year or so, and am glad I did. I am also happy to concede that Epicurus was quite right to put friendship at the top of his wish list. At this point in my life, friends have moved near the top on my priority list of happiness factors.

2. We are a most precious human resource The happiest people of our species
According to the U-bend findings we, the 65+ age group, are clearly the most contented, happiest bunch of people on earth.
In this materialistic, selfish world, full of violence and hatred this is a most precious resource, and (the good news is) this resource is growing in size.

The greying of the Developed world may put some strains on Government purse strings, but this can be compensated for by its growing potential to spread more happiness around the world, and with it perhaps more peace and generosity.
Provided of course that we, the 65+ers, realise this fact and use it to the benefit for those around us.
So be positive in your attitude, generous in your actions and always have a friendly dispostion towards friends, acquaintances and strangers alike wherever you go.

When you do this you will be highly relevant and a benefit to yourself, to those you encounter around you and to the human species as a whole.

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Copyright © 2011 Michael Furstner