: Author

Join a Group and Meet New Folks

Hello everyone:

Staying at home all the time might seem like the way to go but it can get boring. How many reruns of HGTV can you bear? As much as I love those decorating shows, having been a decorator for 23 years, there are only so many times I can watch the people painfully decide if they are going to “love it or list it.” (Note: I have it on good authority that the decision will remain the same, no matter how many times you view that episode.)

Yes, it can be easy to make excuses (I need to rest at night, I need my beauty sleep, I have things to do around the house), but I have news for you: Rest when you’re dead, sleep more on the weekend or take a nap, and realize that dust keeps as long as you don’t get it wet.

So what type of group can you join? I am giving a singles’ life group a try at my church. They have been meeting for years but I just got up the fortitude to visit one of their meetings. I was afraid it was a meat market but no one hit on me, at least so far. They had a video of Max Lucado (It was very good) and then discussed it. Since they meet from 6-8 pm, I wasn’t going to miss that much sleep (who goes to bed at 6 pm, anyway?). Once a month, they go out to dinner at a variety of local restaurants, none of which are too far away or too expensive (there go those excuses!).

So what’s your excuse? Be selective but get out there and enjoy life a bit!

Best,

Dr. Sheri

Read more

The Long Goodbye of Illness

Hello everyone:

It’s been said that Alzheimer’s Disease is “the long goodbye” but I have a good friend whose husband passed after battling cancer for six years. That could also be called “the long goodbye” because of the years they spent watching him get treatment.

Her devotion to her dying husband was evident in every glance they shared and I really admire her for her “till death do us part” commitment that she lived out. In this day and age, it seems so easy to bale out when the rough times happen, but she hung in there until the very end. She reminds me of another friend I have whose husband successfully underwent cancer treatment, only to slip and fall on the ice when he returned to work. The slip, which she did not discover right away, led to her husband’s complete dependence on her for the last ten years of his life. He was unable to walk or talk or take care of any of his personal needs. So she took care of them.

If you are in the position of being the caregiver for your spouse, or if you have been, my hat’s off to your loving devotion. It’s not an easy row to hoe. Make sure that you take time for yourself, so that you don’t burn out.

Best,

Dr. Sheri

Read more

Be Adventurous in Your new Life

Hi everyone:

Wow- if you had told me I would go kayaking in a river near my childhood home at the age of… well, never mind,… I would have said you were crazy. Really? Me? Kayaking?

Folks, my idea of roughing it is the Hilton Garden Inn. My idea of fun is shopping at nice malls and picking up bargains.  I do not do things that cause me to become windblown or sopping wet, in public. I do not pull off to the side of the road, walk through weeds, and enter the river. I just don’t. Until I do.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to paddle around the river with my sons and their families. I had never done that before. I hadn’t even thought about doing it.

You know what? It was a blast! We had a great time. Sure, I got a bit sunburned and my hair was mussed (heaven forbid) but we paddled for a couple of hours and had a lot of laughs.  My older son showed me how kayaking is done.

So, the purpose of this Suddenly Single blog is to ask you to step out of your comfort zone. Do something adventurous that you haven’t done before. You know, there’s an old saying that the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

Fill in the blank: I have never done _______________ but am going to give it a try. And then go for it! I’m already thinking about buying a kayak. It’s great exercise and a tremendous amount of fun. This is a new time of life for you and you need to be open to adventure!

Best,

Dr. Sheri

Read more

Be Careful What You Sign

Hello everyone:

I was talking with a gal recently who told me what could have been a very sad story. (Though it turned out well, I suppose you could say that it was still sad in many ways.)

It seemed that, a few years before, her identity had been stolen when some crooks got a hold of her bank account number. They had rented an apartment in her name and then set things up so that their rent was automatically withdrawn from her account.

Fortunately for her, she balanced her accounts on a monthly basis and discovered the theft pretty quickly. To make this long story a bit shorter, the crooks, having been stymied in their attempts to get her paying their rent, then turned to paying off their credit cards with her account’s money. Again, she was able to stop them. Sadly, it took four months for her to get things worked out with the bank. Happily, the crooks (whose names she was never allowed to know because, after all, crooks have their privacy rights) are now serving time for having gotten money from numerous folks’ accounts.

But that’s only part of the story. The saddest part of all was her then-husband’s attitude. You see, this man to whom she had pledged her life, kept harping that she should sign all of her assets over to him since, as he said, “Your identity has been compromised.” He repeated his request that she sign over all of her assets to him at least once a week during this four month period. He also mentioned it on a regular basis every few months thereafter. She refused. Thank God.

Here’s the thing: The lady in question knew that, every time her hubby used big words, he was lying to her. Sure enough, they were divorced a few years later. Imagine what her life would have been like, had she signed every penny she had over to him. Be careful, dear friends, very, very careful about what you sign. The biggest crook of all in this story is not the one serving time.

Best,

Dr. Sheri

Read more

Overcoming the New Normal in Your Family’s Life

Hello everyone:

So, it’s happened. You ex has replaced you. It didn’t take long, all things considered, and now you need to deal with it….and with comforting your kids.

Whether your ex replaced you in two months or two years, you are going to face the new person in your family at all large or important family gatherings, so you need to decide how you are going to handle it. Like I used to tell my kids when they were little and had to do something they didn’t want to do, “we can do this nice or we can do it nasty, but we are going to do it.” And so it is the case here.

Sure, it stinks but look at it this way: The person he or she is marrying is stuck with your ex and you aren’t. That should be cause for rejoicing, if nothing else. Here’s something important to catch: Do not try to warn the new spouse-to-be about your ex because he or she is not going to believe it and it will look like sour grapes. Instead, pray for that person, that his or her eyes will be opened to the true character of your ex.

But what about your kids? Even if they are grown, this is very hard on them. Be there for them. As your ex moves into his or her new life, he or she won’t be there. The ex has moved on and frequently that includes dumping the kids you shared, who are constant reminders of the failed marriage.

Love your kids. Support them. Let them talk. Pray for them and for your own hurt feelings because let’s face it, when you are so easily replaced, it hurts, at least at first. As time moves on, you will as well. Even if that means that you are alone and your ex isn’t, you may find that you have the better deal.

Best,

Dr. Sheri

Read more

Overcoming Being Alone

Hello everyone:

We have been fighting this pandemic for ten weeks now- time flies, doesn’t it? Perhaps you are wondering how to get back into life, once things return to what they are now saying will be our new normal.

How about starting a single group for folks in your age group at your local church? What better way is there than to start a group with folks of like-interests? In my case, I go to a church that (pandemics aside) seats 10,000 people on a Sunday morning. Out of that large a crowd, I know about ten single women and one single man who is about my age….actually, he’s a whole lot older. The odds are not good here.

I was giving this some thought recently. There is stuff going on all the time at church, but many groups’ activities are announced as being “for couples.” During the pandemic, many television ads talk about doing things and snuggling with your family. Oh, great. Thanks for the reminder that I’m single.

How about turning the tables, and making things “for singles only?” Have fellowship dinners, bowling nights, hikes, picnics, and look-at-the-changing-leaves excursions that are only for the unattached.

You can do this. Begin by contacting your church office and seeing if you would be permitted to begin such a group. Invite those folks who might be interested in helping get the ball rolling to a planning meeting. Figure out what your focus would be and then go for it!

Best,

Dr. Sheri

Read more

Don’t Worry If You’re Talking to Yourself, Only Worry If You’re Answering Back: Oh, No!

Hello everyone:

There used to be a saying “don’t worry if you’re talking to yourself, only worry if you’re answering back.” Thanks to the COVID 19 virus, I passed that a long time ago!

One month is bad enough, but two months of self-isolation are even worse. At some point in time, I caught myself having conversations with myself. Full conversations. What’s a single gal to do? Here are some suggestions to help lift the fog and dissipate those clouds of conversational uncertainty.

First, talk to Siri on your phone. I changed my Siri voice to that of a British male, finding that more delightful than a woman’s tones. Ask questions, and listen, truly listen to the answer. Okay, I know that’s a bit lame. But if you’re desperate…. These are troubling times, you know.

Call an old friend and talk for hours. I mean, what is she doing? She’s almost as stuck as you are, except that you’re the one who’s single.

Go for walk. Greet everyone pleasantly. Admire dogs, children, and cats. (Yes, I actually saw a woman walking her cat the other day. Poor gal must have been despairing of human contact. It certainly was a conversation starter. Sadly, the cat wanted nothing to do with the idea and took off, her owner in tow, but I digress.)

Go to The Home Depot and talk to the workers there. (Please keep your conversation department related, or it will be brief. That is, if you are in the paint department, don’t try to talk carpeting, or you will get handed off very quickly.) (Second note: They are restricted to a certain number of customers in the store at a time, so please be sensitive to the people waiting in line outside, trying to get in, especially if it is 35 degrees out, like it was here this morning.)

Go to the grocery store and bemoan to anyone else in the paper goods aisle the fact that there still isn’t any toilet tissue available. After all this time, what in the world could everyone be doing with it? (Side note: I have seen two different Cottonnelle TP ads recently, teasing me about their product to the point where they showed a Walmart worker loading the shelves with their product and smiling to beat the band.

I awoke early this morning and rushed to Walmart, only to find not even the worst Brand X product on their shelves. But I digress, again.) You can actually get into some very interesting conversations with folks regarding the benefits of one bathroom wipe over another. Been there, done that, but that smacks of desperation once again.

Put on a YouTube video of your favorite music and sing along, pretending you are in the band. Dance, and you will get a real workout. If a neighbor sees you, you might get hauled away by the men in the little white suits…. They will graciously bring you a white jacket to wear, as well. It will be a bit…confining…..Oops, gotta run. There’s someone at the door. Or there will be soon, if I trip that walker on her way past my house….though it would be nice to talk to someone I’ve known longer than five minutes.

Best,

Dr. Sheri

Read more

Having a Male Friend If You’re Female Can be a Good Thing

Hello everyone:

I met the most delightful widow today. We were both on a walk, headed in opposite directions, when I admired her sporty little hat. She smiled and, in the next few minutes, she told me that she is in her late seventies and has been widowed for four years.

Her late hubby died of pancreatic cancer. She was alone and really feeling it, except for a daughter who lived nearby. One day, she went in to get her car serviced when the mechanic told her he knew a man who she should meet.

She smiled but left the shop without much more thought about the matter. A few days later, the mechanic called about her car, telling her about some upgrades to her service that she might want to consider. Then he asked, “Can I please tell you about my friend? He’s a little older than you are but he’s my best friend and I really would like for you to met him.”

She finally consented to have lunch with the friend. After all, what could it hurt? She was walking towards the restaurant where they had agreed to meet, later on that week, when she spotted a very nice looking older gentlemen walking towards her. She said, “Charlie?” He replied, “Sally?”

She said, “The rest is history. We have met one another for lunch twice a week ever since. Sometimes we have one another over for dinner. We take walks, do puzzles, and just enjoy being together.” She smiled and said, “He’s really old- he’s 85, but he’s mentally still sharp and we have the best time together. Life isn’t so lonely anymore.”

The message here is that sometimes a friend of the opposite sex can be just that- a friend. And that can make all the difference in the world!

Best,

Dr. Sheri

Read more

Before You Re-Do Those “I do’s” You Might Want to Ask Some Questions

Hello everyone:

Sometimes it feels so nice to be back in a relationship that you throw caution (and your good sense) to the wind and fall madly in love. Or, at the very least, into very strong like. But you might want to proceed with a whit of the common sense you were born with.

Really, how well do you know this person? He or she might be the kind of person who flatters you, brings you gifts, and spends quality time with you. This person might be completely legitimate. Or not. It’s the “or not” that you need to be concerned about. Let me walk you through some questions you might want to find answers to, before you head down this new marital aisle.

What is this person’s background? Did the person grow up in a dysfunctional home? What kind of relationship did (or does) this individual have with his or her parents? Siblings? Former spouse? Children?

How did his or her parents handle conflict? This is what the prospective spouse is used to and it is his or her fall-back reaction. Were the prospect’s parents screamers or folks who remained perfectly calm during times of disagreement? Were decisions made by one person or two?

Have you ever seen your new potential mate get angry? How does he or she respond when not getting his or her way? Could you live with that for the rest of your life?

If your possible Mr. or Mrs. Right is divorced, what were the reasons for that split? Does your friend accept at least some responsibility for the break up or was blame laid entirely at the feet of the former Right family member? Does your friend badmouth the former spouse and then say, “But you know I would never say anything bad about __________.” But he or she just did.

Have his or her children accepted your role in their parent’s life? If not, you will have a very hard row to hoe, and it could be an issue for the rest of your life. How do you feel about that? True, sometimes these things work out but occasionally they don’t.

Has your potential spouse asked any questions about your life, or has it been an attitude of “your life began the moment you met me” kind of relationship?

Has your future spouse recently invested in a new home, wanting to settle on it before you tie the knot? I am not a lawyer but there’s something called “non-marital property” that allows him or her to keep one hundred percent of the value of the home that he or she bought, even if he or she bought it the day before your wedding. If you split up in the future, he or she gets to keep his or her money. That is planning ahead or it could be a case of hedging his or her bets on whether or not your marriage will last.

Finally, does this person have any really annoying habits? Can you live with those quirks, without complaint, for the rest of your life? If this is an older person, those habits are not going to change.

I’m not telling you not to remarry. That’s not my intent. Instead, I am asking you to think about these hard questions before you tie the knot. Mr. or Mrs. Right might turn out to be Mr. or Mrs. No Way, Jose.

Best,

Dr. Sheri

Read more

Staying Sane in a COVID19 World

Hello everyone:

The practicality of keeping your mind intact during the COVID19 pandemic might be a no-brainer (well, actually it would be the opposite, technically speaking) but how does someone who lives alone keep his or her mind? Good question.

You see television commercials that assume you have a boatload of folks living with you, when your reality is that there is no one. The PSA Powers that Be hint very loudly and often that the ONLY safe place is in your home. Going outside, even to the grocery, could be fatal.

Well, there is that possibility. If you are over 65 and chronically ill, then, yes, there is a much better chance that you will get sick. If you are in good shape, you could also get sick. The deal here is that there is a 98% chance you would recover, even if you did get ill. Those aren’t my stats; they came from Dr. Ben Carson, a man I greatly admire, two weeks ago.

So how do you keep from going wahoo while waiting for the all-clear? (The point here is that you want to be around other people, without actually being anywhere near them. Your house can only be SO clean….

Text. Call people on the phone. Keep some kind of noise going on during your waking hours, trying to avoid anything that will stress you out. HGTV is a good start, except for those annoying Lowe’s commercials where they tell you every five minutes to stay home with your family. Suddenly Single folks live alone, Lowe’s geniuses. Don’t rub it in.

Crud. I can hear that annoying commercial where they tell me what my rooms have been changed into…This is the fifteenth time they’ve played it since I started writing this blog posting. Aughh!!!!! I have just made the decision to stick with Home Depot, who only asks that I paint my entire house or Ace, where they offer curbside or home delivery. No more Lowe’s for me, who apparently have a very low budget for musical interludes and play that same blasted melody with its handful of notes over and over and over…..No, wait, I may be going nuts. But I digress.

Order books and read them. Pretend you are in the story; they have people in them. They are your new best friends. (Keep in mind they have to be a bit on the nutty side or there would be no story). Write a book. Who are the weirdest people you know? Change all identifying names and places and have at it.

Take long walks, and greet everyone who passes by, even if they are on the opposite side of the road where they should be. We have a pandemic going on, after all. Make appointments to talk to your neighbors; one of you can stand in the road while the other of you stands in your garage.

Stay sane. Put on your big girl pants and don’t let the pandemic get you down. We are one day closer to our freedom than we were yesterday.

Hugs,

Dr. Sheri

Read more