Dear Annie: Being 76 years old and in the twilight of my life, I have truly "been there, done that" in so many ways. I have seen much, done much and still search for much. I give thanks to all those who have helped and empowered me over my lifespan. I give thanks to all those on whose backs and shoulders I have stood all this time. Only in America could have I been so blessed and fortunate in receiving all my gifts of love, laughter and life.
I still see America as being "half full," rather than "half empty." America is still great, because she has an innate strength and enduring stamina to heal her bruises and cleanse her wounds. America is still great, because she steadfastly promotes optimism and assertively overcomes pessimism. America is still great, because she indefatigably promotes inspiration and consistently defeats alienation.
I firmly believe that most Americans want what is best for our fellow citizens and our country: fairness, opportunity, responsibility, education, respect, equality, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We are all in this together. Yes, we can overcome the hate, racism, greed, selfishness, anger and fear. Let us come together and be all that we can be. We can do this, for America is (still) the greatest! — John, Retired Sergeant Major of the U.S. Marine Corps
Dear John: I hear from so many people who have had falling-outs with family members over politics in recent years. If more of us adopted your radiant optimism, perhaps we could brighten the times and bring people back together. Thank you, sir, for your service and your wisdom.
Meeting new people
Dear Annie: I've never written to an advice column, but here goes nothing. I have to envy "Too Fast for Me," who has so many close couple friends. My husband and I really don't have any. The last time a couple asked "just us" over was more than four years ago.
We moved to our current town for school several years ago and then stayed for work. We're now in our 60s and seem to be ignored by everyone. The people I worked with were 20 years younger and now I don't hear from them. My church members live 15 miles away and several have rebuffed my efforts at friendship. We have only a little money for entertainment. I'm also a part-time freelance writer, an isolating, frustrating occupation. Sometimes I feel downright lonesome. — Lonely in Virginia
Dear Lonely in Virginia: Making friends is hard for most of us. People are generally so wrapped up in their own lives that it doesn't occur to them to reach out. Don't think this is a reflection of some defect you have. It's just human nature.
Double your efforts. Check out Meetup, a website that connects local people around shared interests — hiking, reading, knitting and thousands of other activities. Volunteer somewhere. Do anything that gets you out of the house and socializing and taking a break from a seemingly solitary life. And to that last point: I know how isolating the work of a writer can be. You might feel lonely, but you're not alone.
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