A struggle being relevant

 Abalinx 29 March 2018 Peter Adamis

How many times do we often go past those living in the streets, the homeless, and the drug addicts lying in the gutters or side alleys, the drunks trying to get home, the wild teenager who is off the rails, the abusive neighbour or noises of domestic violence?  I am sure we all have. 

A copy of the article may be downloaded by clicking on: Remaining relevant is a struggle for the few

In fact if we visit the Big Apple – New York we shall evidence of such matters and we will go past these individuals and ask how ourselves how did they end up in such predicament.   Some time ago, my wife and I visited New York during the festive season and I was appalled to see half naked people in the street begging.  Others had put a black rubbish bag over a rubbish bin and were begging. Any money being thrown at them was gathered up in the black rubbish bin. Later I was to find that these same people who were begging were really just scammers and not beggars at all.

Back in Australia, I remember running around the Yarra River track and other times taking my soldiers for a run down to St Kilda Beach from our base in Hawthorn. Whenever we came near the Yarra River bend where the tanneries were once located, we often came across the homeless living under the bridges. We found numerous old carpets, mattresses, clothes, kitchen appliances, old suitcases, Food scraps and other items of human habitation. We never saw the individuals at all during those runs. At times they could see or hear us coming and they would disappear and we would find open air fires with cooking pots, and fire resistance appliances on the coals and recent evidence of their existence.

I found the same in the United Kingdom, Greece, Malaysia, Thailand, USA, Australia and other exotic and interesting places that my life journey has taken me to. The story was the same everywhere and I wondered what brought these individuals to this state and was the defining moment in their life that they just gave up on society and lived a life of freedom without shelter and warmth that we take for granted. But then again, we will find the same feeling among the elderly who are neglected, forgotten by their own children, others you will find in old age homes, retirement villages, and even in granny flats.

What has happened to our society, are we being brainwashed by the advances in technologies which promise us more leisure time, less hours of work and a reduced life of stress. Are we being fooled by modern advances and have we lost the human touch because of technology? I would not be surprised if we elderly are being forced to wear a bracelet in the guise that without we would be lost, forget our medication or without some form of support. Worse still we could even be coded with a bar code on our skin or have an implant inserted under the skin as a means of identification and to be catalogued, herded like cattle and finally disposed of according to our means.

All of the above points to remaining relevant in today’s society. I don’t know the solution other to surround myself with friends who think along the same lines as myself and hope that should I need their support, they will be there for me as I would be there for them. Today we find retirement villages where people lie within the walls apparently safe from the outside world and the stresses of life. Even within those walls we will find individuals and/or couples alone and struggling to come to terms with age related matters and the daily routines of life. I wonder if they would like to change places with those living on the streets, who seek shelter, food and warmth on a daily basis. I think not and yet I wonder who of the two struggles with their predicament.

For those who don’t know, relevance is the quality or state of being closely connected or feeling appropriate in their current environment. For me, the word relevance means that I can still contribute to society and that my life skills, knowledge and experience is still appreciated and sought after. Thus, I find comfort in gardening, writing, reading the numerous books I have collected over the past 50 years and dabbling on the internet using social media as a means of keeping in touch. 

Mentoring the next generation and passing on knowledge and skills is also another chore that I enjoy doing. Others may find company amongst social clubs, volunteer organisations, charities, welfare, communities and even part time work. The ones I worry about are those who depend on others for their care, the neglected, the forgotten and the abused and I shudder to think what goes on in their minds. Trapped is what comes to mind, loss of hope, loss of enjoyment, depression, quality of life, no companionship or even that simple touch to remind them that they are still valued and important.

I confess that I am at fault as I have numerous aunties and uncles whom I have not even bothered to go and visit.  My excuse that I live too far away is just an excuse on my part and I should be making that effort to visit before they make that final journey to ten other side. I remember visiting two aunt’s before I went overseas to recuperate from the cancer treatment. Both of them were and still are very close to me and I was very pleased that I made the effort to travel over to the other side of town and see them. Both recognised me after not seeing them for a long time and my time with them was very precious. The one in the nursing home when she cast her eyes on me, just stared at me and then burst into beautiful smiles. Smiles that brought a tear to my eyes as she was one of my very special Aunts as we were growing up as youngsters.

Then I hear of dear friends who travel vast distances to visit their parents living in the country and the sacrifices they make to visit tem. I wish I had the same courage at times to visit more of my relatives, but I don’t get out of home much at all, and when I do, I find that I am overwhelmed by the many changes within the Melbourne CBD and yearn to return to the comforts of home. What does it all mean, I really do not know.

What I do know is that I have all the skills, knowledge and life experiences but find it difficult to be relevant in a world whose values do not mirror that of my own. I find that I am able to see through shallow people, identify the ambitious ones amongst them, the users, the givers, the carers, the worriers and the workaholics and armed with that insight, I pick and choose those worth supporting. I guess that is being relevant at my age.

Finally we have the nation’s veteran society, those who have worn the nation’s uniform, put their life on the line and the many servants of the nation who go unacknowledged and not known for their activities to keep the nation safe from harm and incorrigible elements that wanting nothing better than to bring us down as a people.  These are the ones close to my heart as I am biased I must say being a veteran of sorts as a humble soldier. There are numerous members in our society who you may see in the street and not know of the hidden demons they carry around with them, the incidents that haunt them and the sleepless nights alone, contemplating and reflecting on their life as asking themselves whether it was worth it.

Some take the road that leads to self-destruction and later we hear that they were alone when the decided to take the final step towards another journey. I say spare a thought for them. The nation we call Australia has a duty to its citizens and such if they see fit to send our men and women off to a far flung place, whether it is on active or peace keeping adventures is immaterial. What is important that they are made to feel worthwhile and relevant when they return? If the nation is to send them away they must also be responsible to ensure that they are fit both physically and psychologically on their return.

I wrote this brief article as I see many on social media being involved in one form or another and sharing stories, yarns, fibs, tall stories and providing their advice to others seeking solace and a clear path through the labyrinth of life. My apologies as always to the purists, to those who for want of nothing else to do but criticise, I wish you all well and hope that in your life you have the quality of life you deserve. Relevance after all may also meaning a sense of belonging.

Peter Adamis is a Journalist/Social Media Commentator and writer. He is a retired Australian military serviceman and an Industry organisational & Occupational (OHS) & Training Consultant whose interests are within the parameters of domestic and international political spectrum.  He is an avid blogger and contributes to domestic and international community news media outlets as well as to local and Ethnic News.  He holds a Bachelor   of Adult Learning & Development (Monash), Grad Dip Occupational Health & Safety, (Monash), and Dip. Training & Assessment, Dip Public Administration, and Dip Frontline Management. Website: abalinx.com Contact via Email: [email protected] or via Mobile: 0481 342 791


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