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Column

Readers try to jump start man who lost his spark

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 My Spark,

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 California

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.

– Love of Life in Texas

Dear Lover, and the rest of you who wrote in,

Amen!

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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