Moving On: How to Create a More Meaningful -- and Exciting -- Life

After seven years of being away, I moved back to the country I grew up in, and it has been a nightmare. It's hard for me to reconnect with old friends, and even harder to make new ones. My significant other says that I am becoming a hermit because I never do anything. I've tried to meet people -- honestly. I've taken classes, massage therapy, computer courses, and right now I'm taking French and playing scrabble twice a month with a group of people. But none of these folks are true friends, and the loneliness is making me feel depressed. What can I do to create a more exciting life for myself?

--from karenj888

Question:

Dear Karen,

Thank you for sharing your painful move with us. What I want to suggest is that you stop focusing on how to meet new friends and start to think about how you might use your time alone to grow. Many people have this idea that being alone means something's wrong with them, but it can be a truly beautiful experience. All you need is some retraining to appreciate solitude. If you have the time (and are willing) to look inside yourself, you can start to ask hard questions that will help you grow.

Right now may be the ideal time for you to start this type of self-exploration -- to ask questions and get to know your inner self. To start, make a list of all the things that you can do by yourself, that you love. These should be activities that are precious to you, not necessarily activities that you think will help you meet new people. By shifting your focus away from this thing that you're trying to "fix" -- your lack of close friends -- you will start to see an amazing shift in your mood. You will be taking care of yourself deeply, with fun and love for who you are. In the end, this will help you shift the things you're trying to fix the most. You will make new friends more naturally because you will have opened yourself up.

Questions from the Life Coach

  • Look at activities you are currently doing. Are any of them passionately exciting to you?
  • List three activities that are precious to you. They might include current activities or new ones.
Answer:
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