Toward a path of deeper Relevance.
The best part about aging for me is watching where my search for relevance has taken me.
When you’re young, we are more of an accoutrement of relevance for others, than we are in search of it ourselves. We bring a sense of completion to our parents and our grandparents. If you have siblings, they have someone they can start to compare notes with. For the first 12 years of your life, your relevance compass changes about every three hours: one minute it’s the best Lego castle in the whole wide world, after that it’s convincing your mom that you definitely need ice cream to feel complete. And as we get older, we try and tether our carriage for longer periods of time.
There are many distractions in this process. We start to confuse relevance with comparative processes, such as when you’re 16 and your friend has the nice car and your whole summer is dedicated to making enough money to “one up him”…this is a process that you usually can see threaded throughout most of our lives…the objectives may change, but the song remains the same. Why do we get so distracted? The Buddhists will say the ego is often what leads us astray from the “middle path,” Freud stakes his claim in the Ménage à trios that forms between the id, the ego and super ego, but whatever school of thought you’re still paying tuition for, they are all saying that there is process that we turn to that simply makes it difficult for us to see the truth in a sea of convoluted, catastrophic compilations of conciseness. Without first trying to gain true clarity, it’s like trying to see the future through a veil of empty understandings.
So where does clarity come from? From a deeper understanding of the importance of awareness. And where does that come from? Awareness comes from the process of engagement—no, not the type where you spend one month’s salary on a ring (diamonds…very unsustainable)—the type of engagement where we decide to truly, fully, madly, deeply partner with the world around us.
From when we wake up in the morning all the way to dreamy land, we ask the question, how are my actions affecting the world around me? As we start to listen, we start to hear; as we start to look, we start to see. And so on. You’ll start to see that the signs pointing to a path of a deeper relevance really were always around you…but there are so many things that distract us that we start to think that it may not exist. But when we find clarity, when we learn to truly listen to ourselves, relevance is all around us.
Make no mistake: the search for relevance is just as relevant as the path you walk, once you think you know where you’re going.
Make a plan and the gods laugh, make a difference and the world will prosper.
Joshua Onysko resides in Boulder and in airport lounges, is the founder and CEO of Pangea Organics, keeps bees, cooks, and quite possibly has the largest finger puppet collection in the U.S.