Never let oneself be guided by the opinion of one's contemporaries.
Sometimes the best advice is the worst advice. Often our friends and colleagues, thinking they are doing the right thing, will want us at the end of some journey where everything is settled, and will coax us in that direction with the advice of what we should do. Those people may mean well but they are not considering the fact that there may be as much doubt and confusion in our lives, as much a sense of un fulfillment, as there is in their lives.
For example, I once knew a broadcaster who was very good. He was articulate, intelligent, friendly and informative. He was the only radio announcer I ever knew who could tell you the time accurately, right down to the minute, without looking at a clock. And he had other talents.
When he reached retirement age he was encouraged to retire. He had his social Security, his pension, his 401K and other investments. His kids were grown. He was in good health. He and his wife could move to some bucolic setting and live "happily ever after." It was the American dream. So he retired.
But then he kept coming back to the radio station to visit. He would hang around with the announcers and engineers and feel like he belonged. One day he said he wished he hadn't retired and that he still had a lot of expression in him that needed to come out. Here he had fulfilled his obligations expertly, turned in a good life's work and did what all his friends and colleagues expected him to do and yet he wasn't happy. So he took another job, at a different shop, where his talents could be used effectively.
It happens to many people. "Out to pasture" is not the answer for some. When I was forced to retire from the stage for physical reasons in 2001 I moved down here to a bucolic setting (pastoral, compared with New York City), started reading plays for the local theatre, bought books through the mail, joined the local library and settled down to a life of leisure. That lasted a couple of years. And then a friend bought me a computer and within a few months, in 2004, I started this "Vagabond Journeys" in which I have written every day since. I've also added some stories on other blogs. All because, like my friend the radio announcer, I still have things in me that need to be expressed.
If life gets boring it's time to make it creative. One doesn't need to set out to do great works. With enjoyment and enthusiasm great works appear. What's important is to do things that enable one's talents, maybe even hidden ones, to display themselves. And what's doubly important is to avoid living one's life according to other people's opinions and judgements, no matter how compassionate they may seem to be.
DB - The Vagabond
(This is not a contest.)
At what event of the past do you wish you could be present? Why?
1 response so far.