The Superfluous Life … Greatest Fears …

I’m a scared-y-cat. The last scary movie I saw was THE SIXTH SENSE. (And some people tell me that that doesn’t count.) I have the uncanny ability of freaking myself out under the most normal of circumstances. I can’t even watch advertisements for The Walking Dead, Supernatural, The X-Files, Hannibal, American HOrror Story … you get the picture.  As for books. Sorry, Stephen King. You are a master. But your spines will never open under my roof. (Not since I was in high school almost 25 years ago!)

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But that’s not my greatest fear. I’m going to go out on a limb here and expose myself BIG TIME.

My greatest fear is irrelevance. It’s scary to me to think that I might live a life that doesn’t matter. I don’t think “matter” means to have paparazzi and fame and my face plastered on magazines. A life of that means something is one that is purpose-driven. Whether it be with my books or through teaching or mothering … I sometimes feel like I’ve lost the focus and I feel like my life my slip into a realm of irrelevance. So, for the second scariest things to see, I’ve put TED talks on my list.

ImageThey frighten the bejeezus out of me as they are the most terrifying segments of film on the planet. People who are greater than great and though I have moments of inspiration, it doesn’t take long for me to feel incredibly … irrelevant and superfluous, like I’m just not doing enough. How can I compare to:

A woman who was stung by box jellyfish and managed to swim another 24 hours afterward before “giving up.”

Authors who find a bit of “Allah” in their words … a piece of God.

Analysts and philosophers who have bucked belief systems.

Models, scientists, rock stars, musicians … all with gifts and genius and lives that scream RELEVANT.

I know. It sounds a bit neurotic. And as much as I love those TED talks, I feel intimidated more than inspired because greater than great can be found in simplicity, too. In quiet splashes and moments of grace. My grandma lived a life of relevance that, under the scope of today’s lens with trending and hashtags and hits and the social media boom,  might seem small. But how can a woman who serves up coffee and treats for anybody who stopped by, worked a farm her whole life and SAVED it from being lost, and had more love and hugs in her than anyone be “irrelevant?” And how can I get to a place where I feel comfortable here … with what I’m doing … grounded and secure … knowing that my work matters?

So … there you have it. IRRELEVANCE. I’m terrified that my words will ring empty, my life will be a series of stumbles without focus and purpose. Simply terrified.

Okay. Somebody pass the coffee … I need a double dose today! (feeling incredibly vulnerable!)

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8 thoughts on “The Superfluous Life … Greatest Fears …

  1. I hate horror too, Heidi, so I’m with you there.

    As for relevance, yes, very few of us will accomplish something that the whole world will recognize, but why do we need the whole world’s approval anyway? We are all relevant in our own circles of family and friends, and if we’re lucky, our writing will touch others as well. A single life may seem small on its own, but we’re all woven together in a grand tapestry of humanity. Every strand provides support for the whole.

    • I so agree with you. I think it’s hard, though, to keep that perspective when the world tells us otherwise. We’ve become “fame addicts.” I think that’s what I struggle with more, at times. Instead of feeling grounded, it’s easy to feel impotent and overwhelmed. 🙂 It’s all a matter of defining who we are without the noise from beyond!

  2. That was very interesting.. And I really like your definition of the things that made your grandmother’s life relevant and vaiuable, and that it did indeed matter in this world. But if you asked your grandmother, on any given day of her life, if she felt that what she was doing was “relevant, important, made a lasting contribution” I bet she’d have said she was just living day to day, and not that different from anyone else. I don’t think we can see how “relevant” our lives are when we’re in the middle of them.

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