Lessons from a stranger

An old man suddenly came within reach. He gazed at me intently and said what do you want to be? I quickly retorted saying, I want to be rich. He replied, then you’ll never be rich. I was thinking to myself who the hell is this intruder to tell me I will never be rich.

Noticing the weird and terrified look in my eyes, he then said look around you every single person who is alive and breathing wanted the same thing. They all want to be rich, we all want to but not all of us are. What was the problem? They were never specific. Your statement of wanting to be rich is too vague. That’s the problem. The moment you become specific with what you want in life is the moment it starts becoming real. So I’ll ask you for the second time. What do you want to be?

I answered, I want to be an ambassador and I want to dedicate my life trying to change the world and achieve a life free of hunger. I stopped. That’s the moment I realized the old man made sense. So I stood there nodding my head without a word.

He said, I was like you in my first life I had a lot of dreams but I was vague.

I was dumbfounded by his statement. First life?

He said, yes, this is my second life and I have been living in it for 11 years. I should have died on a plane crash but it was rather intended rather than a mere accident. An intended plane crash I had no means to control, a plane crash that killed thousands of people. I was supposedly on that American airline flight that crashed on the twin tower 11 years ago. I was supposed to board in time for a business meeting but I missed my flight. I was minutes late. Had I boarded that plane, I would be nothing but ash, unidentified and unrecovered.

I was bewildered by his story. He then continued. Watching the plane crash at the twin tower, his foot were glued on the floor. It could have been his fate had he arrived earlier. It was a clear image of his life to what could have been. He’s forever thankful for that few minutes that saved his life.

He left telling me that life is too short not to be specific, too short not to smile even on a phone conversation because the person on the other line can feel it, too short to spend it on waste. You’ve got to make sense about it every minute because you will never know you’re minutes from being gone.

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