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Thursday, August 28, 2014

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New beginnings

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Dear Ella,

I’ve spent most of my last two years grieving for a wonderful man whom I was married to for 46 years. My family and friends have been supportive, always including me in dinners and events, but it’s just not the same. Without fail, on every outing, I am painfully aware of my missing half. We had a good marriage and raised four wonderful children together, but now I’m ready to start something new.

I want to stop feeling like every time I go somewhere, I wish Abe was there, too. After living a long life with someone, there are very few things that don’t remind me of him in some way.

Emotionally, I think I’m ready, but I just don’t know what to do or where to begin. The last thing I want is to go to a support group for widows and sit around drinking coffee and discussing what I’ve lost.

I’m a healthy, financially independent, albeit a little scared, 72-year-old woman who is not ready to live the rest of her life in the past. I’m outgoing and still have a lot of energy, but I’m not sure how to move ahead. Sometimes I feel like I have my legs stuck in quicksand.

I don’t necessarily want another special man in my life. What I want are friends with whom I can travel, go to a concert or a lecture, discuss a good book, or go out for dinner and a movie without feeling like a third wheel. I know there must be others like me out there. Where do I start?

Not Just a Widow

Dear Not Just a Widow,

You have a great attitude, and that will take you far in your quest. What you’re really looking for are a new set of friends, not necessarily to replace the ones you already have, but friends who can enhance your changing lifestyle.

One thing you can be sure of: you’re not alone. Active seniors or “zoomers” are in abundance. There’s even a radio station catering to your demographic –  AM 740.

It’s difficult to meet people who are searching for the same things as you unless you find clubs or organizations that cater to what you’re looking for. There are many single senior travel groups, exercise groups, walking clubs, card clubs, etc. You can join any of these on an a-la-carte basis.

Try checking out different synagogue groups. Many offer lectures or circles where you can meet new people. Also, the Prosserman JCC has a program called Adults, Zoomers and Beyond. You might also consider doing volunteer work to meet new people.

The Internet is a great resource. Websites such as www.senior.com or www.activeadultmag.com are only two among many. At the very least these sites will give you ideas and you can also connect with others through their forums. Read different options about relationships, health, travel, and even relocating if you’re ready to take that kind of step. Living in an adult lifestyle community, most of which are in country-club settings, may be a viable option.

Whichever route you choose, starting a new life is scary and exciting at the same time. It will take legwork, an open mind and patience. Putting in a little time and research now will pay off in the end.

 

Readers may submit their questions to Ella at The CJN, e-mail: ellacjn@gmail.com. But Ella is not a professional counsellor. She brings to the questions posed by readers her unique brand of earthy wisdom. Her advice is not a replacement for medical, legal or any other advice. For serious problems, consult a professional.

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