Dear Annie: I'm a 74-year-old single man who has never been in circulation.
I have relatives, friends and others who keep asking me, "When are you getting married?" I don't even know where to start with dating. I don't know what it is these days or whether it even exists for me. Should I have announcements printed to let people know I'm looking to date? Should I run a notice in the newspaper? Or should I simply tell people at a family dinner? We have a family dinner coming up on Valentine's Day, so I thought then might be a good time to do it. It needs to be known that not all of us are socially active and successful. More than a few of us are simply passed over, ignored or rejected, both men and women. And our chances are not improved by having to tell others that we've never really dated. I was never invited to social gatherings. As a result, I don't have some of the skills needed. I don't know the latest dances, etc. Any ideas or suggestions? — 74-Year-Old Wallflower
Dear Wallflower: It's time for you to branch out from that wall and grow into the person you were always meant to be. Start this process by reaching out to friends and family. Let them know you're interested in dating and looking for guidance. As Bill Withers sang, "no one can fill those of your needs that you won't let show."
You also need to overhaul your mindset from that of a passive spectator to that of an active participant. You mention being "passed over," as if dating were a schoolyard basketball game in which everyone but you got picked for a team. That sort of thinking is toxic and paralyzing — and incredibly hard to shake on your own. A professional counselor could help you open up and get away from that wall you've been clinging to for so long. Make an appointment today.
Dear Annie: I've been wanting to go vegan for a while now, but I'm scared it would have nutritional repercussions. I've eaten meat my whole life, and I want to make sure my body wouldn't miss out on the nutrients it needs if I adopted this extreme diet change. How can I switch my diet to vegan while maintaining good nutrition? Also, I hear that a vegan diet is more expensive than a mainstream omnivore diet. Is that necessarily true? — Veering to Vegan
Dear Veering to Vegan: A vegan diet — one rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains — can be very healthful and affordable, with a little planning. You might be surprised to learn how many plant sources of protein there are, including lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, oats, broccoli, spinach (Popeye knew what he was doing) and many others. Most of the aforementioned are also good sources of iron — and as an added bonus, they're all relatively affordable. If you make such foods the staple of your vegan diet, you'll most likely find yourself spending less on groceries, not more. The one thing you can't get sufficient amounts of from a vegan diet is vitamin B-12, so be sure to take a supplement for that. And of course, the big caveat to all of this is that I'm no doctor. Please talk to a dietitian or your physician about planning a diet that meets all your needs.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]