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DEAR ABBY: Two years ago, after 56 years of marriage, I became a widow. I am only 82. I miss the companionship, but what I miss the most is ballroom dancing. All my friends are widows, or their husbands are too feeble to dance.

I keep house for my divorced son and teenage grandson. I drive my grandson to school in a carpool, take him to the doctor, the dentist, etc. I am blessed with good health and can travel across the country to visit my daughters and other relatives. I play bridge three or four times a week. I am active in my religious community and have many friends of all ages. I love to read, and I'm never bored or lonely.

Abby, what I'm trying to say is: Age is all in the mind. -- YOUNG AT HEART IN ARIZONA

DEAR YOUNG AT HEART: I agree with you. With your attitude you will never be "old" or lonely.

As to missing ballroom dancing, check your Yellow Pages for dancing schools and sign up for some classes. I knew a lady who went dancing well into her 90s. When she attended events, she would take one (or two!) dancing instructors with her. Where there's a will, there's a way.

DEAR ABBY: Both of my siblings and I are in our mid-20s. After years of fighting, bickering and unhappiness, my parents have finally separated for good. My mother has moved in with her cousin.

My problem is my mother is perpetually depressed. This has been going on for years. In addition, she has become more and more reclusive. Her life has become her job, her cat and occasional outings with her cousin, my siblings or me. We have tried repeatedly to get Mom into counseling or involved in any sort of social organization to no avail. Mother is only in her mid-50s and dislikes anything involving "seniors."

Abby, please help. Can you suggest some place or organization to which my mother can turn for help? -- WIT'S END IN WILMINGTON

DEAR WIT'S END: Chronic depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. The good news is that, in most cases, it is treatable. Your mother should see a physician for a thorough checkup, and if possible, you should accompany her and explain how restricted her life has become.

DEAR ABBY: I met an interesting, caring, loving man four weeks ago. He is 23 and I am 28. We are very attracted to each other. We have already become intimate, and we have decided to date exclusively.

I realize our relationship has moved awfully fast, and it may not be the smartest thing I have ever done. My problem is, he never wants to go anywhere. He prefers to sit at his home or mine, watch TV, have sex or not -- and he's completely satisfied with that.

I, on the other hand, am a go-getter. I love to be taken out and shown a good time, go dancing, go to the gym, to the movies, the theater and restaurants. I have discussed my unhappiness with him, but he thinks I'm overreacting. Is this a warning sign? What do you think? -- FAST LOVE IN TEXAS

DEAR FAST LOVE: I think you have jumped the gun. Your boyfriend's passivity is a warning sign. Before you forego dating others, you need to know him a lot better. If there are major disparities now in your view of what makes a good time, consider the adjustments you will both have to make if you get really serious.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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