Dear Abby: I have a lot of money and friends but I feel empty inside

Dear Abby: I am 66 years old and a 20 year old widow. I live alone but have an active social life with my girlfriends. We live in a small town with very little work, but we gather often to watch movies, eat out, etc. I have never had children, and all my relatives have passed away. I’m the last member of the family to leave.

I am mostly satisfied (but not happy) with my life. Everything I own is paid for, and I have enough money to go on until I die. I have everything (physically) I could want or need, but I feel like something vital is missing in my life. It is not a religion. I am a committed Christian.

I can pay cash for anything I want, but I don’t want anything. I do volunteer work, am socially active and participate in my church. However, I feel an emptiness inside me. Something is definitely missing, and I can’t figure it out. I realize I’m lucky, that most people would give anything to sit where I’m sitting. Do you have any ideas about what’s missing or where to go from here? Life is hard and old age is not for bisexuals. Living life in Texas

dear life: You may be going through something people call an “existential crisis,” which is common. It refers to a person who is wondering if his or her life has meaning or purpose. Instead of dwelling on what might be missing in your life, perhaps consider spending some time thinking about some of the positive differences you make in other people’s lives.

When was the last time you helped someone feel better about themselves? Did you do your best to do a favor for a friend or acquaintance, or did you give a willing ear to someone who needed to talk? If the answer is yes, start with a journal. Write down your thoughts and activities and review them when you feel empty. If you do this for a while, it may give you a different perspective.

Discuss your feelings with your friends, some of whom are likely to have gone through something similar. Make 30 minutes of exercise a part of your daily routine. Exposure to sunlight can improve your mood. But if that doesn’t help, make an appointment with your doctor to make sure everything is in order emotionally and physically.

Dear Abby: Whether my siblings were right or wrong or indifferent, my mom always stood up for them. Even when she knew they lied, she would look at me and say, “I have to believe them. They are my daughters.” When I ask her, “What am I?” She will repeat her last comment.

Not surprisingly, my mom and I don’t agree with anything, and I would never feel comfortable going to her for help or advice. I paid all my sisters court costs. When I needed help as a student and teacher, she told me I would find out. I always did, but I can never understand why you didn’t really love me. I guess I’m asking when I should walk away. – Ready to call to hang up

Dear ready: Your mother’s blatant favoritism was shameful. Holding on to trying to please yourself for someone who will never give you the love or respect you deserve would be a waste of time. When should you walk away? You have my blessing to start today. I know you will find it therapeutic.

Written by Abigail Van Buren, aka Jane Phillips, Dear Abby, it was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with their peers and parents is in What Every Teen Should Know. Send your name and mailing address, as well as a check or money order for $8 (US money), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, PO Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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