Remotely Resembling Relevance

The struggle to be relevant, and the gentle feeling that I am drifting further and further away from anything remotely resembling relevance, has consumed my thoughts of late.

There was a time during the 1990's when I was on the fast track. I was in my mid-30s. I was weighing a lean 165 pounds. I had a great job that had me flying to Washington, DC a couple of times a year - just to make me feel important. I was making good money ... more money than this Dorchester-born kid knew what to do with. (Fortunately, I had the good sense to put the extra income toward paying down the mortgage rather than squandering it on some materialistic stupidity).

I hung with people who shared my views on life, music, movies, and micro-brewed beer. In my spare time I wrote for a number of publications and had three books published. I gave lectures around the Cape on local history. I was on local television and radio. It seemed everywhere I went was the right place to be at the right moment. I was living the dream on good ol' Cape Cod!

Then something happened. I made a risky career move - and took a sizable salary cut in the process - toward becoming a full time marketing copywriter. It worked out for about three years until the company was sold. A layoff, followed by a knee-jerk move out to the Mid West (and back again to Cape Cod ... all the while carrying two houses for the period of a full year) tapped the bank account as well as my resolve.

Now, ten years removed from the "glory days" of the 1990's irrelevance abounds. I am in my mid-40s. I weigh 190 pounds. I have two part-time jobs paying an hourly wage that doesn't even total half of what I was making before. (Fortunately the mortgage is only $491.22 a month, the cars are all paid off, and I still have my IRA account intact.) People have either moved on, died, or no longer share my views on life or beer. I've lost interest in writing for publications - my only output now being my CCToday blog or an occasional magazine article. (Although I have recently coauthored a book due out by May 1 entitled Cape Cod Harvest - look for it at your local bookstore or gift shop!)

The struggle for relevance has been replaced by a sudden desire to smoke a pipe while rocking gently back and forth out on the front porch swing. I'm winding down. The other day I was smoking and swinging while watching the sunset - now if that isn't "winding down" then I don't know what is.

The term "sabbatical" keeps leaping to my head. An opportunity to regroup. To get my head screwed back on straight. And then, hopefully, to return with a fresh, new, upbeat outlook.

I have an eleventh hour income tax blog in the works, which I'll post this weekend. After that I'll be on a short sabbatical. If you need me, I'll be on the front porch, swinging and smoking ... and searching for anything remotely resembling relevance.

Jack Sheedy

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