Reaching Out

By Doug and Emma Mayberry

May 21, 2018 4 min read

Q: Now that I'm in my 60s, I see myself as a mature woman who has missed many opportunities to share her life with others. Because of my fear and shyness, I've trapped myself into a corner of loneliness and unhappiness.

Is it too late to change?

A: No, but you have to put in the effort.

We all need people in our lives who we enjoy and look forward to seeing. Amazingly, if you open up to others, they will likely quickly open up to you. Part of getting to know the people around you is rejecting your fear of exposure.

On a cruise I took several years ago, I came to a realization that I was probably never going to see any of my fellow travelers again. It freed me up, and I told them my whole life story. You'd be amazed to hear the interesting stories I heard in return!

We can easily re-energize ourselves, learn new things and find commonalities with others. When you say hello to a stranger, what's the worst that could happen? The person will either react negatively or positively, but it's not a reflection on you. Depending on the response, you can move forward form there.

An inevitable part of the aging process is losing some of our friends and family. Disengaging from the world is a mistake that will only compound itself. By encouraging new relationships and focusing on the future, you are choosing to live.

Most people around you will reflect your newfound positive attitude. Give it a try. -- Doug

JOURNAL KEEPING

Q: Recently, one of my friends in my retirement community mentioned that she has kept a daily journal for years. Going around the room, many others nodded in agreement. I've never had my own journal, and I was surprised to find that I was in the minority. Who knew that journaling was so popular?

Listening to them talk about it, I found myself wondering why they all viewed journaling as so important. What do you think the benefits are?

A: Journaling is a fantastic tool for ordering your thoughts. When we decide what's worth mentioning and what isn't, we have to look internally and try to better understand ourselves.

By setting time aside for contemplation, people who keep a journal are enabling themselves to organize their mind and engage in self-reflection. Once you get in the swing of things, it can be addictive. Two very important elements of journaling are having a routine and prioritizing mindfulness about what we do and think.

The act of writing forces us to commit words to the page, which can be very difficult when starting out. By making yourself think about your day, you might have to exercise your mind in unfamiliar ways.

There are many ways and reasons to keep an account of yourself. You can vent about your frustrations, record joyful moments and make note of your thoughts.

Looking back at entries from the past, we can be surprised to find the ways in which we gradually changed and learned new things throughout the years. We're making a timestamp about ourselves by recording both big and small events in our life.

Some of the major benefits of journaling are increased emotional intelligence, better communication, improved memory and comprehension, and creativity. For doing it only a few minutes out of your day, there are many wonderful results. -- Emma, Doug's granddaughter

Doug Mayberry's weekly column, "Dear Doug," can be found at creators.com.

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