There must be a sign hanging above my head that reads, "I give advice!" No matter where I am, I get into conversations with people I don't even know.
I'm not complaining. I'm grateful.
Just yesterday a man turned to me and said, "I don't know what to do with my time."
"Get lost!" I told him.
"Well, that's rude," he said. "I didn't mean to bother you."
"No, I really mean the answer to your question is to get lost," I explained.
"My wife tells me that all the time, but I think she really means she wants me to get lost, don't come back!" he said laughing.
"I understand completely, my friend. Actually, what I meant was based on one of my favorite quotes, 'The best way to find yourself, is to get lost and lose yourself in the service of others.' Gandhi said that. Back in the 60s, it seemed we were all trying to find ourselves. In fact, I believe many people my age are still in search of who they are or were supposed to be," I said.
"It's just that I suddenly have this free time called retirement and I'm feeling useless. I've discovered after all this time that I was my career. It's funny, I know people a little older than I am who retired and went from their career to their disease," he said.
"Their disease?" I asked.
"Yes, once they let go of something greater than themselves, a purpose, a goal in life, they surrendered to their ailment. They owned their disease," he said.
Then shaking his head in disbelief, he said. "Before they became ill you could asked them about life and they'd talk about work, their family, places they've been. Now when you ask them, all they can relate to is their illness. They've lost their identity."
He lowered his head and said, "I don't want to give into life."
"So get lost! Get lost in someone else's life who needs what you have to offer. There are so many people out there who need you," I told him.
I continued, "Life has so much to offer us. It also has a time when some of what we loved about life is taken away. Even in its simplest form a sunset has to end, a ride on the carousel comes to a halt, the last lick of the ice cream cone leaves us wanting more. It is then we give up all that we dreamed about because we see ourselves on that ride, slowly coming to a halt. My friend, you are at the point in life where you need to get off one ride and onto another," I said.
"Get lost, you say?" he said smiling.
"Yes, my friend. Remember the park never closes. The rides just change."
Just then a woman, I assume to be his wife, approached him. "So what do you want to do today, Joe?"
"Get lost!" he said.
"Honey, let me explain."
"Oh, I can't wait to hear this one," she said.
by Bob Perks