Q: I admit to being a disorganized hoarder who is addicted to estate sales. I am still able to get my car in the garage, but some time soon things have to go. Since I've been retired I've had much more time for fun, and I've found that shopping at estate sales distracts me from my worries. For me it's like a treasure hunt. Often I just stand back and compare the family's lifestyle with mine. It's like watching a real-life episode of "Antiques Roadshow."
My family and friends laugh as they wiggle through my house, and they make comments about how much happier I would be if I got rid of about half the contents in my garage. There's no doubt they are right!
What do you think?
A: I have a similar addiction to estate sales. However, it is important to know your cash limit and space availability. Both yard sales and estate sales offer opportunities to find gifts for friends and family; they can be a good distraction and a place to meet new friends and find items that can't be found elsewhere. You'll find the most items on opening day, but prices are often dropped down on the second day. Remember that large furniture, antique silver, heirloom vases and other items that need maintenance are not the best-sellers. Personally, I'm of the belief that messy individuals enjoy life more than others. — Doug
Q: My wonderful wife died 8 months ago, and I have been feeling very lonely ever since. I'm finding it hard to do activities I once enjoyed with her, as I don't have anyone to do them with. Although my friends and family have been lovely and supportive, I still feel that there's a huge gap in my life.
I'm thinking about dating again. Do you have any advice?
A: Dealing with grief is a difficult process that we all experience differently. The absence of someone you love is a very deep feeling that takes time to fade.
It's very good that you want to move on with your life, but it seems that you may not be ready quite yet. The instinct you have to avoid wallowing in grief is important.
Before seeking another relationship, focus on yourself and your grieving process. Many experts say that people should wait at least one year after losing a spouse before making any major life decisions.
It's important to establish a sense of equilibrium in your life before changing your life substantially, as there's always an element of shock that comes with change (even during less difficult times). It's much harder to deal with this shock when you feel unsteady in other aspects, and many people find it more emotionally challenging to adapt to change.
It can be especially emotionally turbulent trying to find a new partner, so take your time and focus on getting back on your feet. Take care of yourself before diving into anything new. — Emma, Doug's granddaughter
Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.