Dear Abby: I have lots of money and friends but feel empty inside.

Dear Abby: I am 66 years old and a widow of 20 years. I live alone but have an active social life with my female friends. We live in a small town with very little to do, but we often get together to watch movies, eat out, etc. I never had children, and all my relatives are dead. I am the last member of the family.

I am mostly satisfied (but not happy) with my life. I have everything paid for, and I have enough money to last me until I die. I have everything (materially) I could possibly want or need, yet I feel like something important is missing from 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 for anything. I do volunteer work, am socially active and involved in my church. Still, I feel empty inside. Something is definitely missing, and I can’t figure it out. I realize that I am blessed, and most people would give anything to sit where I sit. Do you have any ideas on what’s missing or where to go from here? Life is hard and old age is not for sisters. – Living in Texas

dear life: You may be experiencing what people call an “existential crisis,” which is not uncommon. It refers to someone who wonders if their life has any meaning or purpose. Instead of dwelling on what might be missing from your life, consider spending some time reflecting on the positive differences you’ve made in the lives of others.

When was the last time you helped someone feel better about themselves? Have you gone out of your way to do a favor to a friend or acquaintance, or lend a willing ear to someone in need? If the answer is yes, start a journal. Write down your thoughts and activities and review it when you feel empty. If you do it for a while, it can give you a different perspective.

Talk about your feelings with your friends, some of whom may have experienced something similar. And make 30 minutes of exercise a part of your daily routine. Exposure to sunlight can boost your mood. But if that doesn’t help, make an appointment with your doctor to make sure everything is okay emotionally and physically.

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

Not surprisingly, my mother and I don’t see eye to eye on anything, and I would never feel comfortable going to her for help or advice. He has paid all my sisters court costs. When I needed help as a student-teacher, she told me I would figure it out. I always did, but I could never understand why she didn’t like me. I guess I’m asking when I should go. – Ready to give it up.

Beloved Prepared: Your mother’s blatant favoritism was embarrassing. Trying to ingratiate yourself with someone who will never give you the love or respect you deserve is a waste of time. When should you walk away? You have my blessing to begin today. I know you will find this therapeutic.

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

Everything teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and living with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus a check or money order for $8 (US funds) to: Dear Abbey, Ten Booklet, PO Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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