oh i'll still be around, i just feel the need lately to snap out of being complacent with the way we train, im considering telling all my ukes from now not to actually do the attack, if i catch someone going through the motions they will a) get smacked or b) the tech just wont work
as a senior i also feel the need to accurately represent Aikido when im in the dojo, not a caricature of what we are supposed to be doing
I can understand your feeling regarding the effectiveness of Aikido. I'd point out that your dissatisfaction may not be with Aikido per se but rather the way in which we train Aikido at the dojo. As Joe has pointed out and Sensei has often said, if he makes the training too hard no one shows up. So this creates a bit of a problem for those of us who search for the "martial" effectiveness.
A solution could be to train outside of class with like minded people in a more "active" scenario based way. Put on some gloves and work with a boxer, karate guy etc. There are many threads on this board that discuss this type of training possibility.
Lastly, regarding your thoughts on the effectiveness of Aikido as a means of self defence, I suggest you talk to Reg about his experiences. He has used and continues to use Aikido in his work place. If you get the chance speak to him and ask his thought on the "martial effectiveness" of Aikido. He may even have some suggestions as to incorporate a more "martial mindset" into everyday training.
Chin up, we all have our doubts about this from time to time. Just keep training, talk to your seniors (maybe even to sensei) and the answers will come.
Hope this helps,