December 29, 2010
You made the tough decision to give up your career and retire early to move in with Dad. You're glad you did and your siblings were relieved and appreciate your sacrifice. But you're lonely. What do you do?
Your situation calls for brutal honesty. You need to tell your siblings how you feel. Practice on a friend if you must work up courage to talk with your siblings. If you don't think you can get your message out verbally, send them a note or e-mail.
If they respond positively, ask for specific ways that they can help you. A general plea for help may overwhelm your siblings; a specific request may be easier to meet. Before you approach them, think about how they could help you. Make a list of things that your siblings could do that would support you, even if they don't live close by. Perhaps they could help you find and pay for community resources that would give you a much-needed respite. More frequent visits home could also be an option.
You could be pleasantly surprised. Your brothers and sisters may have been waiting to hear from you, afraid to seem like they were interfering if they offered unsolicited advice.
When you have the opportunity, get more involved in the community. Set up a Facebook page and re-connect with friends from your past. Then it will be easy to take the next step and schedule coffee or lunch. Contact your local bookstore about joining a book club or invite a friend to coffee. If you were part of a church or synagogue, try to renew acquaintances. Another way to get involved would be to check your local newspaper—print or online—to find out what's going on in your community each week.
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