:Dear Abby: I am a 65-year-old active woman who still works. I play tennis several times a week and have a loving relationship with my kids. I know with certainty that I have many good things in my life. However, since my sister died last year, I have been having second thoughts about a lot of the decisions I have made over the years — especially regarding relationships and my choice of jobs.
I realize now that more than a few of my decisions were based on low self-esteem, although I don’t come across that way. I’m feeling depressed and lonely, and it’s hard to be positive. I feel like my world is shrinking, and I don’t know how to get back on track and be a positive and happy person again. As it is, I’m faking it with my children, and my friends have no idea how I really feel. How do I improve my life at this late stage?
:Depressed In San Diego
:Dear Depressed: One way would be to be more honest with your friends and fake it less. If they are good friends, they’ll be willing to listen and give you an honest perspective or the benefit of their life experience. That’s what friends do for each other.
You are lucky to be vital and active, because it means your world doesn’t have to shrink any more than you want it to. Because you say you’re lonely, perhaps it’s time to consider enlarging your circle of acquaintances.
The loss of your sister is probably what started your re-evaluation of your life and choices, and that’s normal. But please remember that regret is the cancer of life. You can’t change the past, and you mustn’t allow it to cloud your future. While you may be having second thoughts about choices you made when you were younger, the lessons you learned from them have made you the person you are today.