Dear “Oh Carol:”
I am a single, very tired 65 year old woman. My youngest is in college (tuition bills) and my oldest has medical challenges which I’m funding and which make it hard for him to find and keep a job. I should be retired – but I can’t. I should have been getting child support – but that didn’t happen either. I should be exercising, dieting, primping, etc etc etc but my bones ache, my joints creak. When am I supposed to get joint replacement surgery? Taking time off for that means I lose money, income, so bills won’t get paid. My house is a mess. I mean it! Pipes leak, cabinet doors are falling off, floors are buckling, Meanwhile, I consider myself a “real” person. I have no time (or money) for nonsense. So, how do “real” people like me (overwhelmed, underpaid, overweight, underappreciated) find others – for companionship. Romance is not anywhere on my radar screen. Just a real person
AFL’s OH CAROL Answers……
Dear Real Person,
STOP “should-ing” on yourself!! Why “should” you be retired? Who says so? Society? BAH! Do you like your work? Your co-workers?
For most people, their work family is way more of a presence than their real family and friends. What would you do all day if you didn’t have your job to go to? Would you miss them? With life span being longer today, how many people do you know that have enough money to retire at 65? I sure don’t know many.
Child support? This is a legal “should” and without knowing why you didn’t get it, it’s hard for me to comment. Your kids had to eat, wear clothes, go to doctors, go to college. You did what a loving parent does – you stepped up to the plate and took care of them. Who would’ve thought that the men we chose to have kids with would turn out to be such asses? (Yeah my ex is a real “gem” too!)
Exercise? Yeah we know we know – everyone tells us we “should” do this to feel better, look better, and improve our health. Easier said than done especially when you’re feeling down about your life. It’s hard to take care of yourself when you are down, blue, depressed. It’s hard to get out of your own way. Have you sought counseling? It’s not a magic cure but it is nice to have an hour a week to talk to someone about YOU. YOUR needs, YOUR wants, YOUR worries. Keeping it inside makes it fester and then you feel even worse.
Home repairs are costly. VERY! Can you and your kids (& maybe their friends) do a quickie spruce up (just to feel better) like a fresh coat of paint? Did you know that Lowes, Home Depot etc, have deeply discounted paint from returns? They can’t resell custom blends at full price and often sell them for only 5 bucks!
So, how do “real” people like you (overwhelmed, underpaid, overweight, underappreciated) find others – for companionship?
- Overwhelmed – seek counseling. Check with your insurance company and if your co-pay is too high, ask the potential therapist if they’d be willing to work with you at a fee you can afford or if they’d accept just the insurance. Also check with a local Family Services group. They work on a sliding scale and will often see you at no cost.
- Underpaid – tough one. When did you last get a raise? When did you last ask for a raise? How long have you worked there? Is it feasible to seek employment elsewhere?
- Overweight – go back to #1. Once you start working on your head you can begin to entertain working on your body.
- Underappreciated – not sure if you’re referring to your job or your family. Hate to sound like a broken record (geesh that’s an old idiom) but go back to #1. Working on our mental health is the number one thing we can do for ourselves. Think about it, who else wants to hear us “complain” about our lives? AND who else would we feel comfortable venting at once a week? Go for it! YOU deserve it.
Here’s a quick fix that can get the ball rolling for you – get to a salon. Doesn’t have to be a fancy schmancy place but go to one! Get your hair cut, colored, and styled. Get a mani/pedi. There are many low cost nail salons. I recommend having gel or acrylics done. I go every 3 weeks and I pay $30 (includes the tip). That’s something I do for me. Surely you can squeeze out $10 a week to look down and see pretty nails. Do you regularly wear make up? If not, it might be time to start. Just a little mascara and a light foundation with a touch of color on your lips. It’s amazing how different we feel when we look good. If you do regularly wear make up then try a change of lip or eye color. Just a slight change can make a world of difference! “I feel pretty, oh so pretty” – and when you hear the compliments, it will really boost your ego. Add a light touch of fragrance too. Research essential oils. They smell great and the right ones can enhance your mood, your mental health, and your general health.
How to find companionship without romance? I’ve said this many times – go to www.meetup.com. Create an account. It’s free. Seek out things of interest in your area. Whether it be a book club, a single parents group, bird watching, religion, dining, politics, self help .. you name it and I bet you’ll find a group. BTW, you don’t have to bring people to your home. Should you start dating someone, you can always go to his place (wink)
So there ya have it! Lift your head up high, add a little spring in your step and try at least one (or all) of these. Sending good karma 🙂