What Do the Lonely Do?

By: Chaunte McClure

It’s deemed the most wonderful time of the year, with the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you be of good cheer. But what do the lonely do at Christmas? I know, the holiday season has passed, but there are women who suffer from loneliness this time of year heart-ribbonbecause they don’t have a mate, yet they want one.

Many single women (and probably men too) don’t like to be alone on Christmas or ring in the New Year solo. I’m sure it doesn’t help when they have to scroll through Facebook or
Instagram images of others celebrating with the one they love. And the icing on the cake, or the insult to injury, is probably seeing the relationship status changes from single to engaged. Yep, I saw quite a few engagement announcements on my timeline last week.

Those lonely feelings will subside for a few weeks, but with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, they’ll return. I remember those days of wishing I had someone, hoping he’d come along soon, wondering when he’d come, and imagining what he’d be like. I think it’s normal, unless something was wrong with me that I wasn’t aware of at that time. (Please, don’t say it aloud if you think so.)

So what do the lonely do at Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day? My advice: Love and enjoy yourself and the people you currently have in your life. I know, easier said than done, but there is no need to feel sorry for yourself, become jealous of others’ relationships or subconsciously get mad because you don’t have one.

I’m certainly no expert on this. I’m just reflecting on what it was like for me, and sharing my thoughts and experiences in hopes of helping you.

One day your status may change. While you wait, prepare for that lucky guy.

Let me hear from you. Are you single? Not dating anyone? Lonely? What do you do during the holidays?

By the way, Happy New Year!

How Weight Loss Changed Me

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

“Are you dating anyone?”

That was the third question my internist, Dr. Brad Word, asked when I stopped by Columbia Medical Group for some blood work.

His nurse, Teresa, shot him a dirty look and said, “Why do you ask that just because she’s lost weight? She’s still the same person she was before she lost weight.”

In his defense, Dr. Word always asks me that question; it’s usually about the third one. He is a family doctor in every sense of the word, no pun intended, and when one of us see him, it’s like we all see him. He always asks about the family first; in this case, he asked how my mother and sister were doing. Dr. Word isn’t hitting on me, nor is he a nosy doc; the question and my resulting answer, he says, gives him a barometer my mood.

Back to his question, “Are you dating anyone?”

I laughed it off and gave one of my usual flip answers: “No, can you believe it?” or “Why? Do you have someone in mind?” But later that night, I recalled his nurse’s reaction and wondered if I was really the same person I was before I lost weight.

To quote Madonna, “No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.”  When I compare my self of today with my self from 85 lbs. ago, I’d say that I’m the same, but a little better.  Mary Pat 2.0, if you will.

My fundamental self, that person I am deep down, has stayed the same. I still root for the underdog, play Devil’s advocate and use humor to avoid familiarity. I procrastinate. I am competitive, obsessive-compulsive and rebellious. I don’t like the status quo, and heaven knows, I still have the same hips, just a little smaller.

On the flip side, since I’ve lost weight, I’m more direct and stand up for myself more. I am more confident. I take a few more risks. I’m more forgiving of my mistakes, not as hard on myself as before. While my sister would say that I still seek the spotlight, I’d say that I’m more comfortable staying behind the scenes and giving credit to others. On a superficial note, I’m smaller, and my clothes look better. And after years of short styles, I’m growing out my hair.

Not all of the changes have been positive. I find myself less tolerant of those with unhealthy lifestyles. Because I had such an unhealthy lifestyle for so long, I have a hard time understanding that one. I’m also less social because I have less free time and still haven’t figured out how to manage social events that revolve around food and drink.

As I move into the second year of this new lifestyle, the changes are evening out. I’m working on losing the last five pounds and building strength, but the physical changes are slowing down. The things that were first so challenging and disruptive at first – grocery shopping, cooking, working out – have become more comfortable routines. The overwhelming high of “finally losing the weight” is being replaced by the steady satisfaction of attaining wellness and enjoying the resulting benefits. Finally, I’m getting used to the person that I see in the mirror.

But am I dating anyone? Why? Do you have someone in mind?

How have you changed as a result of a lifestyle change? Was that change temporary or permanent? Were the changes welcome or disruptive? What advice can you give someone who goes through a significant lifestyle change?