Can a conversation with a taxi driver alter your life’s journey?
Recently I was very privileged to have a conversation with what I can only describe as an amazing human “being” – a taxi driver. He told me he was 80 and when asked why he wasn’t retired and taking life easy, he said his wife had died recently and he had nobody to talk to at home. I though how sad and lonely that must be but he proceed to tell me that he took up taxi driving because he enjoyed chatting to customers.
He told me he had come through throat cancer, a heart attack, a stroke and recently had his knee replaced. His friend introduced him to music and as a result he has been going to college, learning music for the last 3 years. I told him he was amazing and asked what was his secret? He replied “two things, attitude and altitude”. I asked what he meant and was blown away when he said “It’s all down to how I look at things, my “attitude” and my love of sky diving or “altitude”. His last sky dive was in February of this year! He also uses Facebook! Hands up anybody who would like to be this adventurous, tech savvy and active at 80 plus!
So can we broaden our horizons of understanding of life by studying our taxi driver? How many widows or widowers are home alone and lonely? How difficult must life be when a life-partner dies and leaves you all alone? How many days might you go without talking to another adult? What determination and resilience must it take to face up to this new stage of life? If our mental and physical health allow, we can seek out social interaction and new challenges. However, if our physical health restricts our movement, life’s horizons becomes limited. Likewise if anxiety or depression are present, it might accelerate loneliness by resisting social interaction and increasing isolation. Can we be proactive like this taxi driver? How can we continue “being” when life as we knew it is no more? Our taxi driver resisted isolation, he sought out social interaction – human company through his taxi business. He engaged in new learning. He maintained a positive attitude and took on new challenges in life and online. And what can we do? We can begin by questioning our attitude to life. Are we on a roundabout, just going round and round? In other words are we living without questioning our thoughts and behaviours? Are we caught in ground-hog day, denying ourselves the opportunity to grow, to learn from our experiences. We can take time out to consider ourselves, our family and our neighbours. Let’s keep an eye out in our family and neighbourhood for somebody who might be a lonely and give a gentle check-in to ascertain how they’re coping. Or how about visiting a local Nursing or Retirement Home. Maybe our visit could brighten somebody’s day and we might even be takenaback by how positive that makes us feel!
I wish you a day filled with happiness in your own company or in the company of others!