May. 23, 2019

BE ALONE...BUT NOT LONELY.

So, despite  all your efforts to “lock-in” a secure future, the day comes when you have no choice but face the truth: You are alone.  You have no family, no close friends, no job, very little savings, and your only means of support comes from a monthly- Social Security- check.  There are no phone calls on Mother’s Day...no invitations to Thanksgiving Dinner…and…forget Christmas!

When I found myself in this situation, there was NOTHING I could change except…ME. It took time, patience, rivers of tears, thoughts of suicide, and wasted energy before I developed my “recipe” for living alone…without being lonely.

I truly believe my approach to overcoming loneliness can be adapted to everyone’s situation…whether you are male or female, rich or poor, old or young, physical active or….dependent on a walker or even a wheelchair.

NUMBER ONE:  YOU must FIRST be willing to “rise” to the occasion.  By that I mean…you must be willing to struggle, to pull yourself out of the depths of loneliness… even when it hurts… before you can begin the long climb upward.  For too many, depression begins to feel like an “old friend”.  Sometimes it seems easier to just do nothing and accept the familiar.  STOP, RIGHT NOW…IF YOU EXPECT LIFE TO “FIX” your dilemma without YOU doing some hard work! NO ONE CAN FIX YOU….BUT YOU.

My solution is designed for people--like me-- who are ready to END the sick & tired feelings of loneliness….for everyone who's ready to conquer the negative feelings connected with loneliness.  I want to help every person who's alone--to STOP FEELING LONELY!!!!

TWO: It’s time to look in the mirror and assess your appearance.  Good posture tells the world that you’re proud of who you are.  If you’re not…then--for now--fake it….but get those shoulders back, tummy in, and hold your head up…like a Queen or a King.  AND, SMILE…WITH CONFIDENCE!  After a while…you won’t have to fake anything about yourself---you’ll soon be a believer!!!!

THREE:  Fix  the small things you don’t like about your appearance. Appearance is everything when presenting your-self to others. Start with a great haircut, something that makes you feel attractive. For women, a little makeup works wonders. I won't open my front door unless I have clean teeth, wearing my lipstick,  and my hair  is brushed. Yes, clean, white teeth are a requirement.  If you have dental problems…find an excellent Dentist. If you live on a limited income…find a free or almost-free Dental Clinic…or work out a payment plan with an understanding Dentist.  Most Dentists will work with patients, especially those with a significant problem.  Don’t forget that Dental Schools always need patients for students to “work on”!

FOUR: Dress in classic clothes that accent your positives. Spend time--but not much money--finding attractive clothes that make you feel elegant.  If you don’t know about today's "In-Style-Elegance"…then search through catalogs, dress shops, look at fashions online to educate yourself.  I believe in shopping at nearby discount stores,  thrift stores, bargain basements, Goodwill, Salvation Army...where you'll find quality fashions at beyond-bargain prices....YES! Some of the smartest dressers I know dress, exclusively, from these places! YOU wear the clothes--YOU make the "well-dressed" statement....and you don't need to share your secret with anyone!  And…while your “out and about”…smile, be friendly with everyone, including those on the other side of the cash register.  You never know when you’ll make a new contact…a new friend!

FIVE: Start walking, whether it’s around your block, the next block, or the high school track, maybe a nearby trail, or---inside a Mall or a large store like a Walmart Super Store!  Hold on to a buggy or basket as you walk... if it makes you feel more secure but…NO EXCUSES!  WALK!

SIX: Every morning…search your memory bank for a song…either from your past or near-present.  Find a song you can sing out-loud or silently… and start humming it, singing it, and let that song stay with you all day! For me...I pick a favorite hymn some days and...other days...I might sing a song by the Bee Gees like "More than a Woman" from Saturday Night Fever!! Have Fun and Enjoy each song you sing.  You can also boogie, swing your hips and body,  or move to the music as you sing your song.  Remember:  IT’S YOUR SONG FOR ONE DAY.  TOMORROW, YOUR ASSIGNMENT WILL BE TO START THE DAY WITH ANOTHER SONG AND DO THE EXACT SAME THING WITH THAT SONG…ALL DAY.

SEVEN: Start this very day to be friendly, courteous, and positive with all who cross your path.  From the mailman to the grocery man…you strike- up a conversation, ask someone how-they-are or…make a comment about the sunshine…the flowers or the trees…or compliment a person on their outfit, their kindness, or for their time in helping you!

EIGHT: Learn to “lose” yourself in projects. Teach a class, Form a book club, Work in the yard, Decorate your house, Hang your just-washed- clothes on the deck/patio instead of using the dryer. Change your schedule by visiting the local library or volunteering at a hospital, or an animal shelter.  DO NOT STAY HOME AND WATCH TV or just “HANG OUT" ON THE COMPUTER”. All day, every day, you must be actively involved with the outside world. Focus on “sharing” yourself with others--- through a smile, a kind word or happy greeting, or by giving a hug or a loving pat to a lost or abandoned animal.

NINE: If you don’t have pets at home…consider adopting a dog or cat...or both.  Feed the birds, the squirrels....and all God's creatures that "stop by." My animals, both inside and outside, need me as much as I need them.  We give each other love and…a million reasons to face both today and a million tomorrows.

TEN: Learn to love yourself. Compliment yourself when you look in the mirror. Say "I Love You" to yourself....and mean it! Never forget that a “little girl or little boy” lives inside each one of us. Our childhood memories remind us of all the fun times…the times we played hopscotch or jacks…baseball…rode our bikes in the rain…swung from a bag-swing....chewed bubble gum…made mud pies, climbed the Jungle-Jim, loved our baby dolls/paper dolls, funny books, …then went to summer camps to be Brownies, Girl Scouts/ Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts.

Search through your memories for all those good times. Pat yourself on the back for all you’ve learned and accomplished. Shout “HURRAY” for all the good you’ve experienced and shared with others!

Remember all the times you were motivated to succeed. Think about what inspired you; about what gave you hope and promise; about what sparked your dreams.  You’re never too old to activate a long-ago dream or make a childhood wish come true.  Dreams and Wishes can be modified to fit today’s realities so…never toss them aside.

I AM PROOF YOU MUST NEVER GIVE UP--OR GIVE IN. Remember: It took me forty years to realize my dream of traveling The Great Wall of China so….NEVER-SAY:  “NEVER”!!!!!!

Written with love for all.

Sally Miller