DEAR ABBY: I'm responding to "Wallowing in the North" (June 16), who has had a wonderful life and has accomplished all the goals he set out for himself at age 56, but now feels no "spark" to carry on. Abby, he's in a unique position to help someone else who hasn't had all those advantages in life.
He could foster a child and enlighten that child about a world he/she might never know without his help. Wouldn't it spark something inside him to see a child's reactions to things the writer may have experienced a hundred times and took for granted? There's so much ugliness and anger in this world. He could play a small part in turning that around.
Or, if helping a child isn't for him, there are many other wonderful causes to get involved in -- aiding a cancer patient in hospice, being involved in protecting the environment, helping a small business -- the list is endless and the need is so great. Any of these endeavors could help him relight his spark. Finding meaning in life can be as simple as extending a hand to someone who can really use it. -- FOUND MY SPARK
DEAR FOUND: You and many other readers offered wonderful suggestions. I appreciate the spirit of helpfulness in which readers responded, hoping to inspire the writer of that letter. Read on for a sample:
DEAR ABBY: Tell "Wallowing" to pick up a course catalog from his local community college and enroll in some classes. He can take art and learn to paint, sculpt or make ceramics; study photography and learn to shoot better pictures; take woodworking and build furniture; take an American Sign Language class and volunteer to work with the deaf; or sign up for a foreign language, culinary or film appreciation course.
I'm just scratching the surface because community colleges have something for everyone. I have taught in one and been an administrator. It's a wonderful place to "find" yourself, whether you're 18, 88 -- or 56. -- DIANA IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR ABBY: If "Wallowing" is truly tired of dealing with most people, he may want to begin connecting with nature. He could plant or nurture a garden, or install a few birdhouses and let the birds happily serenade him each day. Engaging with nature can change a person for the better and can also change the lives of those around you. -- NATURE LOVER IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR ABBY: I would like to suggest "Wallowing" talk to his doctor about his testosterone level. I did it, and it boosted my self-esteem, drive and energy. -- ROGER IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR ABBY: May I suggest he have his vitamin D levels checked? I, too, experienced a loss of desire/passion for life when I was close to his age. Turned out, my vitamin D levels were extremely low. Once I started taking a supplement, my interest and excitement in life returned. -- BEEN THROUGH IT IN KANSAS CITY
DEAR ABBY: Your advice should have included becoming active in a church, synagogue or charitable organization. Helping others, whether locally or on a mission trip, yields three results: It has a positive impact on those being helped, it increases the giver's sense of self-worth, and it reminds us how blessed we truly are. -- LOVER OF LIFE IN TEXAS
DEAR LOVER AND DEAR READERS: Amen!