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Woman Who Feels Lonely Needs to Get Up and Go

DEAR ABBY: "Little Bit Lonely" (March 26) misses traveling since her husband's death. She wrote that she isn't "good at mingling with new people" and wondered if it would be appropriate to ask her son to include her on weekend trips with his family.

I want to urge "Lonely" to go to her local community college and take classes for seniors. Take any class she might have dreamed of as a young woman. Make friends. Expand her horizons!

I had breast cancer 18 months ago. The day after my surgery, I took stock of my life and decided if I was to follow my childhood dream, what better time than now? I am doing that, and have begun studying voice and theater arts. Do I aspire to be another Helen Reddy or Helen Mirren? No, but I intend to have fun while I take the journey of the rest of my life.

Let me say to her, "Don't be a 'little bit lonely.' Be a little bit too busy!" -- NOT AT ALL LONELY, SANTA ROSA, CALIF.

DEAR NOT LONELY: Thank you for an inspiring letter. Other readers shared creative ideas for "Lonely" that might help her set her sails in new directions. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: "Lonely" should organize a trip (even just a weekend jaunt) and invite her son and family along. That would give the son the opportunity to reciprocate her invitation, which could lead to a new family tradition. -- GAYLE IN KANSAS CITY

DEAR ABBY: My dad passed away eight years ago, and Mom has been on her own ever since. She has become a savvy traveler and has made numerous friends along the way. "Lonely" should look into churches, travel agencies and cruise companies for trips for senior singles. "Lonely" does not need to be alone. My mom goes places with family and is close friends with my mother-in-law, too. One or two trips, and "Lonely" should be able to find a few good friends. -- PROUD OF MY BROOKLYN MOM

DEAR ABBY: I, too, am a widow. I go on my own to football and soccer games as well as other activities that involve my grandchildren. It's my firm belief that it isn't up to my children to entertain me. They have their own busy lives and need their family time.

I have developed my own social life. I met one of my best friends in a choral group, and another when she sat next to me at church. The three of us go to movies, concerts, plays, etc., and they have introduced me to many new activities. Senior centers sponsor computer classes, bingo and day excursions, and community colleges offer classes in photography, writing, yoga for a nominal fee. Be willing to work through some discomfort and take some risks. -- NOT A BIT LONELY

DEAR ABBY: Here's what I'd tell "Lonely": Take a course in self-development. Programs are available for developing skills and learning to live life from the perspective of "possibilities."

Do something for someone in a nursing home or visit Alzheimer's patients. Read to them or just hold a hand. When you get a smile from these patients, you'll know your presence really makes a difference. Join the Red Hat Society. Most of the members are alone and have a great time together.

Volunteer at church, teach Sunday school, work with the homeless in a shelter. Do something for someone who has less. Our world needs people with warm hearts and the time to contribute. You will be amazed at how great you'll feel. -- LORRAINE IN ENCINITAS, CALIF.

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