As the Old Man loaded the

percolator to get the day’s coffee underway, the Boy passed through the

kitchen with a worried look on his face.

Everything about his

demeanor spoke of lengthy stress and a

weary fatigue.

“You need to slow down before you break,” the Old Man said.

“I’m not doing

anything at all right now,” the Boy said.

“You know what I mean,” the Old Man said. “You have to make time for yourself.”

“I don’t have time to do that,” the Boy said.

“You may think you don’t have time to be a nervous wreck,” the Old Man said, “but you’ll soon be making time for that if you don’t head it off.”

The Boy took a deep breath and sighed.

“I feel like I’m taking from someone else when I’m giving to myself,” he said.

“You may feel like that,” the Old Man said, “but it’s not so. The better you take care of yourself, the better you’ll be for those who depend on you. 

“Happiness is a rare commodity. If you’re happy and no one is getting hurt, chances are good you’re onto

something worth the pursuit.

“Don’t run around lost in the depths of your own mind, either. Raise your head, stand up straight, take a moment to realize you’re alive and free on the Earth. If you don’t, you’ll run yourself to death hunting a corner in the circle you’re making. Take some time to step outside and feel the

sunshine, really feel it, and remember every

moment you spend

worrying about a

problem you can’t solve is time you’ve just thrown away forever, plain and simple. 

“Don’t feel like you’ve got to come to a good stopping place in your mind before you stop, either. Just stop wherever you are. Get out of your mind and walk around a bit. No matter what it is, worrying it to shreds won’t make it go away, so just stop and leave it where it lies. Park it in the middle of the interstate and walk away. I promise you the world will carry on.

“Sometimes solving one set of worries is a false relief, anyway. You’ll enjoy a good 10 or 15 minutes until your brain lands on some new problem. That’s why you’ve got to handle it a different way.

“The solution to all of this is as close as the front door. Step out into the sunshine, and let it wash your worries away.”

“That sounds like good advice,” the Boy said.

“Best free advice you’ll get today,” the Old Man said as he poured a cup of coffee. “I believe I’ll take a good dose of it for myself.”

Kevin Tate is a freelance writer. Email

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