DEAR ABBY: I retired a year ago from a stressful job because I couldn’t take what it was doing to my health. Despite a divorce after a 35-year marriage 10 years ago, I had recovered financially. I was lucky to have landed a job in my early 30s that had an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan, and I contributed to it for 34 years, putting in as much as I could. I am able to collect enough Social Security and withdraw a small amount from the 401(k) to live as I did when I worked.
I always had hobbies, interests and things I wanted to do but never had time for. I have been very happy and busy ever since. During the quarantine, getting groceries was a bit of a challenge, but I live simply and had no problems.
I am shocked at all the furloughed people who are having fits and complaining that they are bored out of their minds. This should be a wake-up call that they need to get a life. For these people, retirement is going to be really hard. Also, they need to plan for the future and have a six- to 12-month emergency fund.
I have put old home movies on DVDs, reorganized photo albums, cleared out a lot of stuff to simplify my life, put in a vegetable garden, made a quilt. COVID or not, I am a busy woman. Can you encourage all those bored people to learn a new craft, try a new recipe, make a birdhouse, SOMETHING other than call this busy woman and distract me from my projects? — LIVING IT UP IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
DEAR LIVING: No, but YOU should certainly consider doing it. You can also make yourself less available to the complainers by putting your phone on mute during the hours you prefer not to be disturbed. This is not to say your suggestions aren’t good ones, just that I have urged readers for years to prepare well in advance for retirement and discuss with their spouse (if they have one) how the realities of daily living will change when it comes to chores and conserving personal space.
DEAR ABBY: A man has been reaching out to me on social media for three years. He claims to be in love with me (after having met me once, briefly), and I think I believe him.
It’s hard to explain, but I think I may feel the same way toward him. The problem is, I have ignored him for the last three years. I blocked him on all social media, but he keeps finding ways to contact me. He even had flowers delivered to my house. To tell the truth, I ghosted him because I’m terrified of what our “love at first sight” connection could mean. I have been hurt in the past, and I know a relationship of this magnitude could destroy me emotionally.
I feel terrible for ignoring him, but my friends and family insist that he is a stalker, and they would never understand if I decided to pursue a relationship with him. I feel paralyzed. What should I do? — CONFUSED OUT EAST
DEAR CONFUSED: If a relationship of this magnitude could destroy you emotionally, then I do not recommend pursuing it. Sane individuals who have been ignored for three years usually take the hint and walk away. Listen to your family. What this man has been doing is, to say the least, unusual and could, indeed, be considered stalking.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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