“Art is useless by definition. If it was useful, it would be a tool.” Derek Sivers, Hell Yeah or No
Just a handful of years ago, I retired.
Missing Out on Tedium
“Retired.” Such a loaded term. Retirement may be the very first time in our life that quitting is an acceptable option. With quitting comes the release of all activities related to workplace obligations. Unfortunately, in retirement we lose more than the nagging dis-eases we often find at work, dis-eases like very draining people, tedious tasks, and inconsiderate bosses.
Surprising to most of us, with quitting (or retiring) also comes a certain alienation from the rubric of normal life. No one is looking for you or asking for your completed work. No one needs you. You simply are UNNECESSARY!
Bored and Useless
While it sometimes was a drag and a burden always feeling like you had to produce, there is also a fierce sense of self-worth that is derived from being highly productive. The rationale goes, “If you are needed, you are valuable.” And you don’t even realize that truth until you release it in retirement.
When I first began my retirement, I was persistently haunted by two demons: (1) boredom and (2) uselessness. After a bit more than one year I began to figure it out. Boredom, I realized, is merely a matter of identifying new priorities and even more meaningful activities. My work with Wells of Life keeps me from getting bored.
But, on the idea of USELESSNESS, Derek Sivers opened a new window from which to view “usefulness.”
What if, as a human person, I may be valuable without being necessarily useful? What if my “usefulness” is all about listening, encouraging, and serving? What if I am like art? I have inherent beauty, but I am not a tool… except to love.
Because Beauty is Useless…
It is Essential
Photo courtesy of Boonyachoat at istockphoto