Dear Annie: Two years ago, at the age of 62, I was forced to take early retirement from my teaching job. My pension is miniscule, and despite trying to find full-time work, I have only been able to string together part-time jobs. I have been divorced for 20 years, so there is no one else in my life to depend on financially.
My days are consumed with trying to make ends meet, and as a result, I have no time or money for a personal life. I can't afford to travel, my grown children are busy with their own lives, and my friends have spouses or grandchildren who keep them occupied. I can't even attend church, because I need to work on Sundays.
I spend evenings, weekends and sometimes holidays alone, so I turn on the TV or radio to simulate human voices. I'm fit, intelligent and in good health. I want to know what I'm supposed to do with the rest of my life, because it appears I am going to spend it alone. How can I get out of this rut? — Indy
Dear Indy: Take some of that time spent in front of the TV and do something that doesn't require money. Volunteer at your local hospital, library or veterans association. The Salvation Army welcomes volunteers on holidays. You might make some friends in the process, but regardless, instead of feeling lonely, you will be out helping others, and that will take your mind off of your problems and lift your spirits.
Dear Annie: My sister has a friend whose son is getting married. The woman is also an acquaintance of mine, but I never hear from her, and I've not seen her son in three years.
My mother received an invitation to the bridal shower, and my name was also listed on the envelope. My mother is on a fixed income, and we could not afford a gift, so we didn't attend the shower. A couple of weeks later, a wedding invitation arrived with my mother's and sister's names on it. When I didn't receive an invitation of my own, I assumed I was not invited. I didn't give it another thought.
Well, the friend called my mom, and I picked up the phone. She asked whether I was coming to the wedding, and I stammered and handed the phone to my mother, who said she was sorry but neither of us could make it. The friend then told my sister she was very hurt that I hadn't responded. She said the reason I didn't get an invitation was because she didn't have my address, which is a load of baloney. She sent the shower invitation to me at my mother's.
Should I feel bad about not responding to a wedding I wasn't invited to? I've thought about sending her a note of apology, but I don't think I've done anything wrong. — Tired of the Drama
Dear Tired: It sounds like this friend invited your mother, and when you picked up the phone, she felt obligated to say she intended to invite you as well. But you are right that she easily could have obtained your address from your sister or mother. No, you do not have to RSVP for a wedding you were not invited to. But it might help smooth over the hard feelings if you send a card to the bride and groom with your very best wishes.
Dear Annie: As a recently retired physician, may I add to your advice to Slowly Falling Out of Love?
A patient once came to me with severe fatigue and lassitude, saying, "I can barely put one foot in front of the other." He turned out to be profoundly hypothyroid, and treatment with gradually increasing doses of thyroid medication gave him his life back. Slowly's husband needs a complete medical evaluation by a thinking physician. — Patricia
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.