This is the latest column from Lucy Saunders, who provides a regular agony aunt feature - Ask Lucy.
Dear Lucy. I am 63 years old and unemployed and have been to the job centre recently and am deeply upset the way they dismiss me as almost being too old. This has made me feel like I am over the hill and worthless to society, can you help?
Lucy. I am sorry you feel the job centre made you feel like that as you are definitely not over the hill. I personally don’t like the term ‘old’ and one should only give up working when one feels too tired or ill to work anymore. As people are living longer there will be many more mature people in the work place, so don’t be disheartened as there are companies who actively employ mature people. Feel confident about your age and just think of all the qualities you can bring to the work place like reliability, wisdom, knowledge and experience. On a practical note you might like to take your job hunting into your own hands. Friends might have businesses you could try. You could also look online for local job recruitment agencies. There is a lot of help on the internet to revamp your CV and make it look up to date and many people hand CVs into places directly. You should not feel discriminated against because of your age. Try to feel confident about your age and your abilities and I’m sure something will surely turn up.
Dear Lucy. I have been having sexual fantasies about other men while making love to my husband of 19 years. I feel so guilty and disgusted with myself shall I tell my husband? Please help.
Lucy. For a start I don’t think you should feel disgusted with yourself as it’s normal to have sexual fantasies and I definitely don’t think you should tell your husband as it could cause jealousy and rivalry. Fantasies can enhance one’s love making and it’s normal that one can go through periods of feeling not so stimulated in your sex life, especially if you have been with a long time partner. I think the best thing to do is try and let go of the guilt. Sometimes the needing to fantasise could be coming from your own sense of feeling stagnant with your own life and the stresses and routine of everyday life. I think it might be time to rekindle your intimacy within your relationship. Couples need to occasionally be more open with each other about their wants and needs and finding some special time together can bring back the old magic.
Dear Lucy, I am approaching my thirties and looking for meaning in a world that seems absurd. I’ve tried many philosophies and meditations, theories and theocracies. I guess my question has something to do with meaning, ‘why?’ It also has something to do with ‘how’ I might go about quelling my agony. I am not sure whether I should approach life as something that can have meaning that I create for myself, in which case what meaning do you find in existence? Perhaps, you see no point in fabricating meanings in an absurd existence and embrace the absurd as a defiant catharsis? How do you express your challenges with the knowledge of your own mortality? To cut to the chase, I would like to ask, how may I become wise? And of course, leading on from there, why?
Lucy. I am sorry you are struggling with the meaning of life, this is a huge question that philosophers and theorists are still pondering over and I am sure it will be a continuing question for many years to come. I am afraid I do not have the answer, however I can say that accepting yourself and knowing ‘who you are’ is in my opinion, ‘wisdom’. We tend to punish ourselves with ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ and that puts enormous pressure on ourselves to live our life how we feel we ‘ought’ to, as opposed to following our own intuition. Wisdom comes from working at trying to know yourself and that you have your own responsibility to realise how you want to live your own life. I was wondering if you have ever thought of having psychotherapy where you can explore this deep issue further? My own experience has taught me that the more I learn about who I am, the more I can make sense of my own world which can then be integrated into the collective world. I hope this makes a bit of sense for such a huge question.
Lucy is a BACP Accredited Qualified Counsellor. She previously worked in the media as an actress.