Q: After six years of retirement, my husband and I find ourselves in a rut. Neither of us has a fulfilling hobby. Luckily, we are both in good health. We have tried golf, yoga, dancing and other activities, but none of these has fit the bill for us. We are aware that our routine of watching hours of mindless TV, taking too many naps and other frivolous activities is a waste of time. What can you suggest that might prove to become more productive and make a difference?
A: Change your focus and routine. Rather than concentrate on what makes you happy, direct your energies to what makes other people happy. It works. Doing it as partners is a bonus.
Here are some suggestions that offer happiness:
--Volunteering as caretakers and, for example, shopping for others.
--Checking on neighbors on a regular basis.
--Choosing a faith and joining in.
--Offering to drive an individual to the doctor.
--Visiting the library.
--Inviting friends to movies.
--Joining a reading club.
--Secretly leaving cookies on a doorstep.
--Delivering for Meals on Wheels or working in one of the organization's kitchens.
--Helping to hold a yard sale.
--Repairing a household item.
--Carrying out trash, keeping a watch for possible burglars and taking in the neighbors' mail while they are on vacation.
Those and many other ideas can be helpful. Many senior citizens need help -- even with opening restaurant doors. Having the time and willingness to volunteer with your positive and grateful attitude reflects how much you care for others and teaches others how happy and rewarding it can be for them to help others, too.
Who's Right? Who's Wrong?
Q: My husband and I are becoming concerned about where our elder son's marriage appears to be heading. Our daughter-in-law seems to be overly involved with his brother's wife.
When we get together as a family, after a couple of glasses of wine, our daughter-in-law appears to begin flirting with our other son's wife. Possibly it is quite innocent, but recently another family member commented about how obvious it has become to other family members. Should we get involved?
A: No. Marriages are owned by their partners. It may well be that what you are judging is innocent and not a major issue in their marriage. What you are witnessing may just be the enjoyment of a good time and should not become family gossip.
If your son comes to you and expresses negative comments about his marriage, you may be asked for advice and counsel. Be wise. Suggest professional counseling. Otherwise, you might later find you misjudged the situation and negatively impacted your relationship with your son, your relationship with your daughter-in-law and perhaps even your relationships with your grandchildren.
A marriage is a relationship in which both partners share love, companionship, friendship, financial responsibility and usually children. How partners choose to do or not do so is their choice.
Doug Mayberry's weekly column, "Dear Doug," can be found at creators.com.