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Reader: Get busy living

DEAR ABBY: I read the letter from the woman who is feeling alone at 66 and pondering the purpose of life (“Living Life in Texas,” July 25). Assuming she’s in good health, she’s a spring chicken compared to a 90-year-old. Allow me to offer some suggestions on how she can recapture the spark of wonder and amazement that life’s boundless opportunities offer. I’m 68 and speak from experience.

“Living Life” mentioned that she volunteers. Perhaps she could change her routine and explore new possibilities as a volunteer. We sometimes get in a rut and become bored and complacent about making changes in our routine that would spice up our lives. She could get a pet if she doesn’t have one. You get more than you give with a pet – they provide loving companionship on a daily basis. She should consider adopting from an animal shelter. Those creatures need a forever home more than you know, and they ward off the “lonelies.”

Travel with a nonprofit touring company called Road Scholar is another great option. Don’t hesitate to join the tours as a solo traveler. If you do, you will meet others who are as excited as you to explore within the USA and abroad. Get on the internet, where you will find an endless amount of information, more than you could absorb in a second lifetime. Keep questioning, researching and learning about topics that pique your interest. We are never too old to learn new things. The wonders of the universe are at your fingertips.

Motivate yourself to make some changes in your life that will afford you enriching experiences. Life is short. Make the most of the time you have on this planet. Purpose in life doesn’t just “happen.” You make it happen. – Full of Zest in Ohio

DEAR FULL: Your suggestion about adopting a pet from a shelter was echoed by many readers. They also suggested traveling with friends, as well as working with youths in need – as a tutor, a Big Sister, adoptive grandparent or foster mother, or becoming a reader at the public library. Hospitals need volunteers to hold premature babies and give them physical contact. And it was also suggested that “Living Life” create a gratitude list of 10 things for which she is grateful and refer to it during a daily meditation. (Many folks do this every morning before getting out of bed to set the tone for the day. I am one of them.)

DEAR ABBY: I have a child who is 11. I have been a single parent all these years. The father has not reached out on any occasion. Through the years, all we’ve heard is cricket noise. Because of that, we built our own lives. Recently, the father has decided he wants his rights known as a father, but he has made no changes to prove he is worthy. His phone calls are still random; there are no visits and no support emotionally or financially. How do I let him know he is interrupting a peaceful life for my beautiful child? I need help telling him to “Hit the road, Jack!” – Peaceful in the West

DEAR PEACEFUL: Getting the deadbeat out of your lives may not be as simple as telling him to scram. For accurate information about what “rights” he may have, consult a lawyer with expertise in family law. I wish you luck.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.