DEAR ABBY: I am a middle-aged man in my 40s. I have been married twice. Both marriages ended in divorce. I have a teen-age daughter from my first marriage.
Abby, I have not dated since my last marriage. It's not that I'm ugly; it's just that I was hurt very badly. I do not enjoy life, and I cannot seem to find happiness anywhere.
What can I do to live it up a little and find the happiness that I have been looking for? I don't need someone in my life to be happy, but my life is so routine -– I need a CHANGE. Any suggestions would be helpful. -– BORED IN ROANOKE, VA.
DEAR BORED: The best antidote for boredom is to do something for someone else. It's the front-door key to fulfillment!
Explore volunteer opportunities in your city. Look in the telephone directory under the heading of "Volunteer Services," join a service club, or make inquiries at your library, your local hospital or seniors' center.
Another suggestion: Take a vacation and visit someplace you have never been. Travel, even day trips, provides a stimulating change of scene.
Don't forget to tell your friends, neighbors and relatives that you are interested in meeting someone.
Try any or all of the above and you'll be on the road to the happiness you seek.
DEAR ABBY: I'm sending this in response to "Sad Father in Connecticut." Many of us who have lost a child have felt the sting of insensitive people. The enclosed poem by Rita Moran was printed in "The Compassionate Friends" newsletter in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Feel free to share it if you wish. –- NANCY LEFFEL, BEREAVED MOTHER, FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.
DEAR NANCY: Thank you for sending the poem. Many people feel awkward about expressing their sympathy to families who have experienced a loss. Rita Moran's poem not only contains a strong message, it also offers helpful advice for those who don't know what to say. Read on:
PLEASE, don't ask me if I'm over it yet.
I'll never be over it.
PLEASE, don't tell me she's in a better place.
She isn't here with me.
PLEASE, don't say at least she isn't suffering.
I haven't come to terms with why she had to suffer at all.
PLEASE, don't tell me you know how I feel,
Unless you have lost a child.
PLEASE, don't ask me if I feel better.
Bereavement isn't a condition that clears up.
PLEASE, don't tell me at least you had her for so many years.
What year would you choose for your child to die?
PLEASE, don't tell me God never gives us more than we can bear.
PLEASE, just say you are sorry.
PLEASE, just say you remember my child, if you do.
PLEASE, just let me talk about my child.
PLEASE, mention my child's name.
PLEASE, just let me cry.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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