Excuse me while I play “devils advocate” slightly.
I was listening to the radio the other day while riding in my car, and the radio DeeJay was interviewing a rapper/performer. Ironically, the artist was speaking about staying relevant in today’s music industry. I though the message was loud and clear to younger children, especially those who are impressionable or naive. I got what the intend was supposed to be but I didn’t understand why the word “relevant” had to be used. Couldn’t it have been replaced with popular or some other word that celebrities use? I mean, to a 14-year old kid, apparently being relevant is everything and if you aren’t then you aren’t worth a ‘bag of beans’…..is that the message here?
Often times I’ve noticed that my relevance is something that is dictated by the people who I keep in my circle of life. I can say to my children “I am relevant”; to my friends, “I’m relevant”; to my God, “I know that I am relevant”. However, lately I’ve been forced to ask myself “how much relevance do I hold without the input or opinions of others”? AM I relevant to myself?
If I took the time to define this word, what would Webster and Google have to say?
Webster: 1.relation to the matter at hand
b: practical and especially social applicability : pertinence giving relevance to college courses
2: the ability (as of an information retrieval system) to retrieve material that satisfies the needs of the user
Google: the quality or state of being closely connected or appropriate.
Webster’s definition suggests that I need to be “satisfying to the needs of the user”. AND Google states that I need to be “closely connected or appropriate”.
Both definitions leads me to almost believe the fact that unless there are others involved, then I’m not all that relevant. SO is this the same as the old philosophical thought of “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If Im not relevant to someone other than myself, then am I relevant? Even a little?
Who knows, maybe I’m just being very sensitive to the word. Maybe I put too much emphasis on a 3-syllable word. But there are other words such as “important” which has 3-syllables as well! If Im going to concentrate and define myself on a 3-syllable word, then won’t it behoove me to use this one? Doesn’t it add more value to me and caters more to my self-esteem? Or what about “bomb-dot-com” that has 3-syllable as well and I’ve heard the young kids use this all the time in a positive matter. Then there’s other words that comes to mind. Those such as “powerful” or “successful” or “lovable” or “intelligent” (wait that’s 4-syllables) but you get the picture.
I read a blog that suggested “staying relevant In your art means you are paying attention and awake while everyone else is asleep”. This may be true but can’t we use a more kinder word? Cant we call this as being “ambitious”? Or what about eagered?
SO, am I to assume that not being relevant to any-one thing is being irrelevant?
I’m convinced that the word “irrelevant” is a harsh word. I mean, who wants to be told that they are irrelevant?
Is there a gray area? What’s in the middle of relevant and irrelevant? Respect is in the middle; Responsible is as well; Reminded is the biggest. We have to be reminded that no matter where life takes us, no matter who says we aren’t, we are all RELEVANT….we have to just believe it. Believe that it doesn’t matter what the naysayers think.
You are the one that matters; you have to believe.