Being Relevant

“The most important thing for a human being is to be relevant,” says Henry Winkler the actor perhaps best known for his role as Fonzie on the 1970’s television series Happy Days. The 67- year old Winkler made an appearance on the NBC Today Show in November. He was discussing a Broadway play in which he has a starring role. The interviewer asked him why at an age when many people slow down he was still working so hard. Mr. Winkler replied he loved every minute of his busy life and reflected on how important it is for human beings to continue to feel relevant no matter how old they get.

After our professional careers are over it is important to find avenues that will allow us to continue contributing to our communities as volunteers or part time workers so we continue to feel relevant. If we are lucky like Henry Winkler we may be able to find new opportunities to use our career gifts. I know I went through some struggles and detours after I retired, till I found opportunities to put my teaching skills to good use in places other than a public school classroom. Now I give tours to kids at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, mentor university students studying to be teachers, and I’m trying my hand at writing books for young people.  It’s a good fit and makes me feel like I’m still a relevant educator.

I’m aware that as I grow older it may be more difficult to continue to feel relevant and it will require initiative and effort on my part to make relevance a reality, particularly if health problems complicate my life.

Patty Randall a Canadian writer and speaker with a popular website about aging says that doing something relevant is the key to a life that continues to be filled with passion and purpose. 

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