Dear Amy: I am 32 years old.
For a multitude of reasons, my personal growth was stunted after high school, and it took me twice as long to finish college as expected.
At that time, circumstances (like the pandemic) led to my parents’ early retirement and a quick move to The Villages, Florida from northern New Jersey.
Not having started my career, I was forced to leave with them. Shortly after, I was able to find a job that I can do remotely and am paying well.
Over the next couple of years, I got used to spending most of my time in isolation, because I feel like there’s not much a person my age can do in the largest retirement community in the country.
I’d like to move, but the inability to form meaningful relationships with my peers is starting to wear me down, and with the economy as it is, I don’t know if my plans will remain viable.
To be honest, I never made an effort to build real relationships at home either.
My friendships were only made at work, and now I’m starting to feel that regret.
The only professional contact I have now is with my boss, and the only other person I know locally is my personal trainer at the gym.
I feel like I’m holding on to straws and I need advice on how to avoid losing any social instincts I might still have.
– Early retirement
Dear Early: My advice? Get out of the villages, stat.
I looked at a lot of demographic data published by worldpopulationreview.com.
According to this source, in 2022 this famous Florida community has just over 84,000 inhabitants.
The median age is 73 years old.
Someone your age could develop friendships and have a rewarding life in this community, but that’s not for you.
Since you work remotely and have probably saved money living with your loved ones, I suggest you spend the next few months researching communities that might be a better fit for you.
I would bid for college towns, which tend to offer lively cultural events and volunteer opportunities. If you’re ready to go back up north, Philadelphia is a great city for people your age.
Moving won’t magically solve your social isolation, but it’s a start.
It is also a courageous and positive choice to make. Once you arrive, you’ll need to keep bravely going out into the world – joining a gym or clubs, volunteering, and (ideally) finding fulfilling work that you can enjoy in person.
Dear Amy: My younger sister and I have a difficult relationship.
She and our father are currently feuding and because I didn’t take her to our grandmother’s funeral, she cut me out of her life.
I don’t mind, but my 13 year old daughter has only one cousin, my sister’s toddler.
We live far away from my sister, but plan to visit other relatives in her city soon.
I really don’t want my sister to know we’ll be in town, but because my daughter wants to see her cousin, I feel like I should.
What do you think?
– Dysfunctional family in Iowa
Dear Iowa: If your daughter wants to connect with her little cousin, you’ll set a good example for her by reaching out to your sister.
Your sister is also likely to hear about your local visit from other family members, and so if you contact her using a neutral tone then she can decide how to respond. Try: “Hello, just to let you know that Tiff and I are planning to visit the Murray cousins next month. She can’t wait to see her little cousin, so let me know if it would be possible.
If your sister is determined to continue this feud, she will. This really is a case where you could be “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.
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Hang on and carry on.
Dear Amy: Often you offer advice on how to deal with a family member’s heavy drinking.
As a person who likes to play sports, teaching professionals told me what to do to improve myself. However, for me and others, the best way to learn is to see our mistakes on video.
Would it help if family members took a video of their drunk loved ones and showed them the evidence?
Dear Coachee: Many readers have suggested this, and yes, video evidence could be a red flag.
©2022 Amy Dickinson.