As you know, I work in a major bookstore in my city. I have done so for the past almost three years since leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses. And it has been one of the best decisions I've made for my long-term growth as a human being. Having experienced shunning once leaving the jw's, it was up to me to create a new social network. It took some time but I can now say I have a great group of friends, many of which I have gained in working at the bookstore.
Interestingly, some of those friends were not bookstore co-workers but were customers. A number of my closest friends right now started out as customers at the bookstore. What would inevitably happen is we'd get chatting about books and life and philosophy and find that we had a connection. Then we'd go for coffee, then lunch, then long walks and soon enough, we were friends. The bookstore has become my treasure trove of humanity. Every day I meet new and interesting people.
Just last night, a newly-retired Italian lady came into my section and was looking at photo books on Australia. I told her how I was planning to visit Australia soon and she told me that she used to live there. She then went on to tell me about her children who have traveled all over the world and now live in different countries. She expressed how she finally feels like she's living now that she's retired.
She said, "Don't wait to travel. Enjoy life. Explore. You're young, do everything you've ever dreamed of doing. What's that saying you kids have in your commercials: Just do it!"
Every time I go in for a shift I wonder who I will meet next. I am inspired by the cross section of humanity I rub shoulders with each day.