May. 4, 2022

REJECT LONELINESS. IT'S NOT YOUR STYLE.

So, despite 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, buckets of tears, thoughts of suicide, and a lot of 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, physically-active or--dependent on a walker or---a wheelchair.

NUMBER ONE:  YOU must FIRST “rise” to the occasion and I MEAN—GET OUT OF BED OR OFF THE COUCH!   You must be willing to struggle, to GET DRESSED, and 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 familiar---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 any work! NO ONE CAN FIX YOU--BUT YOU.

My solution extends to everyone who is sick & tired of the loneliness and--for all you who are READY to conquer the negative feelings caused by loneliness. I want to HELP each one of you who is ready to learn HOW to be alone---without being lonely.

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

THREE:  Fix what 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 is a “must” and it works wonders. I don’t open my front door unless my teeth are brushed, I’m wearing my lipstick and---my hair is brushed. Another requirement is white teeth.  Also, if you have dental problems--find an excellent Dentist. If you live on a limited income--find a free or almost-free Dental Clinic (they exists but sometimes, you must really-search to find them.)  And, you can almost-always find a Dentist who offers a reasonable payment plan.  Most Dentists will work with patients, especially those with a significant problem.  AND, don’t forget that Dental Schools always need patients/models for students to “work-on.”

FOUR: Dress in classic clothes that accent your positives. If you don’t know how to bargain shop--then search through catalogs, dress shops, look at fashions on the internet--then go to the nearest thrift stores, bargain basements, or discount centers to find your size and what will look good—on you.  And--while you’re “out and about”—practice your smile, your posture, your confidence—and your friendliness with everyone you see--even those on the other side of the cash register.  You never know when you’ll make a new contact and--a new friend!

FIVE: Start walking, whether it’s only around your block—in the beginning--- then the next block--and so on.  Your walking can also take place at the high school track-- or a nearby trail—or--inside a Mall or a large store like a Walmart Super Store!  Hold on to a basket as you walk around Walmart--- if it makes you more secure but…NO EXCUSES!  WALK!

SIX: Every morning…search your memory bank for a song…either from your past or from the present.  Make it something you can sing out-loud or to yourself--and start humming it, singing it, and let that song stay with you-- all day! 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 with a smile and- be friendly, courteous, and positive with all who cross your path.  From the mailman to the grocery man---you begin by striking up a conversation, asking about that person and--make a comment about the sunshine--the pretty trees--or compliment a person on their outfit, or their kindness, or simply-thank someone for the time they spent--helping you!

EIGHT: Learn to “lose” yourself in projects.  Work in the yard, decorate your house, hang your clothes on the deck or patio rather than putting them in the dryer. Change your weekly schedule by visiting the local library, volunteering at an animal shelter, visiting the post office to mail a card to a long-ago friend.  DO NOT STAY HOME AND WATCH TV or “HANG OUT ON THE COMPUTER” for hours.  All day, every day, you must be actively involved in the outside world. Focus on “sharing” yourself with others through a smile--a kind word or greeting--or by rescuing a lost or abandoned animal.

NINE: If you don’t have pets at home--consider adopting a dog--or two…or….a cat.  My animals need me as much as I need them.  My PETS AND I give each other love—day and night-- and--a million reasons to face today and all the tomorrows.

TEN: Learn to love yourself. 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 when we played hopscotch or jacks—baseball--rode our bikes in the rain--swung from a bag-swing--made mud pies, climbed the Jungle-Jim, loved our dolls--went to summer camps as Brownies, Cub Scouts, and later--- aspired to become GIRL SCOUTS and 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!

NOW, remember all the times you were motivated to succeed. Think about what inspired you; what gave you hope and promise; and what sparked your dreams.  You’re never too old to activate a long-ago dream or to make a childhood wish come true.  Dreams and Wishes can be modified to fit today’s realities so--never toss them aside. It took me forty years to realize my dream of traveling The Great Wall of China so—join me now-- to never-say: “NEVER”!!!!!!

Sally Miller