The Trip Back

A Safe Flight Home by ~Ericana
A Safe Flight Home by ~Ericana

Last week was devoted to Canada. Fairmont Château Laurier was impressive. The event was executed perfectly. My small piece went better than I had expected. In preparation, I learned a few things about the government in Canada. After the event, in a chat, I learned about a thought that could make everything we’re doing less relevant. I heard about a fear to remain relevant from my management earlier in the week. With these two tokens in place, I couldn’t get the word “relevant” out of my head.

What does it take to remain relevant? In free and advanced societies, these words seem to represent the essence of the battle. The quest to remain relevant brings out the best in us. We innovate, advance, improve and compete to obsolete the status quo. The worst sometimes comes out when we feel we are no longer important. A few weeks ago, someone special mentioned in a passing conversation that she wanted to live as long as she could be helpful. The challenge is that in our different roles as contributors, workers, parents, leaders, we must do everything possible to advance the current state of affairs but at the same time we know progress, innovation, advancement, money do not matter most. Some of us balance this by time division or by life division. Others don’t balance and focus on one set of priorities at the expense of others. Some fruits of labor remain relevant for centuries such as the Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #2 in F currently playing on my computer. Sometimes we are only relevant for a few minutes. For example, when we give a stranger directions on how to get to where they are heading (the GPS innovation has decreased these opportunities significantly).

On the flight back, exhausted, I put on a set of noise canceling headphones to tune out the jet, and rest the restless mind a bit. The iPhone shuffle played this song:

In that near-perfect silence, this powerful melody somehow transported the tired mind back to what mattered most. My beautiful wife and little ones were waiting for me.


  1. LD: Another provocative post… I suspect that you were listening to the Andante movement of the Brandenburg #2 when you wrote this. (Your introspection seems discordant with the Allegro movement!)

    Consider that: Bach could never have imagined that anyone would be listening to his work in 2009 — on a computer — in an airplane…or anywhere else. He achieved timeless relevance through others’ work in addition to his own. Likewise, we can also hope to remain relevant through the ages with the help of our friends, our family, our colleagues, and most of all, through our children, their children, and their children’s children.

  2. Rocky: Let my internal (and external) conflict and struggle be revealed.

    Your comment about others helping us become or remain relevant is very true. You’re also right about the Andante! 🙂

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