For me, meeting interesting people, however briefly, is one of the great rewards of travel. On my last evening in Los Angeles several years ago, my daughter suggested that we have dinner at The Milky Way.
This tiny restaurant is lovingly run by Leah Adler, a little pixie who just happens to have given birth to Steven Spielberg. Her utter joy in making her customers happy is obvious as she flits from table to table chatting with everyone.
She seemed to be having such a good time that I thought being a restauranteur must be a new occupation for her. When she came to inquire about our dinner, I asked her if she was at the restaurant every day.
“Oh, yes,” she said. “I leave home at 8:30 every morning and I’m here until closing. I’ve been doing this for twenty-five years and there’s no place I’d rather be. I get to plan dishes with the cooks, flirt with old men and drink wine. What could be better than that?”
She also confided that she would be 82 on her next birthday and had no plans to retire.
(She is now 93 and still delighting diners at The Milky Way.)
Leah Adler is living proof of the longevity-enhancing rewards of right livelihood. What a contrast she is to all those folks who think life will begin once they retire.
A few weeks earlier, I’d gone to my post office and was waited on by a clerk that’s been there most of the time that I’ve had my mailbox. Since I knew that his retirement was coming soon, I asked, “How much longer, Jeff?”
“A hundred and forty-seven days,” was his instant reply. Imagine spending your time in a such a way that you’re counting the days until it’s over.
More and more studies now show that every day we spend doing work that we hate is very expensive. It robs us of our creative spirit, impacts our attitude and physical well-being in a negative way, and causes us to miss out on the adventure that our personal life journey was intended to be.
Apparently Stephen King was onto something when he said, “If you can do it with joy, you can do it forever.”