I posted a question to the senior group social media page I belong to and got some thought-provoking answers I hadn't anticipated. I wanted to know from my fellow seasoned citizens, "What is the biggest source of stress in your life?" They let me know. Some left me speechless.

I anticipated a few smart-ass answers to my query, but what I got was some rather heart-wrenching and honest replies. I sense that some folks were saying these things for the first time to others and perhaps even to themselves.

My interest began with a bit of frustration over someone's behavior that I thought to be rather dramatic. I dislike "drama queens" immensely and try hard to keep as much drama away from my golden years as possible. For the most part, I am successful. The responses to my question left me feeling as though perhaps I was the overly dramatic one and that my concerns were petty by comparison.

I was taken by the sheer volume of responses I got to my question. I posted it on Sunday afternoon, and the parade of replies was steady through the night. They are still piling up.

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Since the replies are still coming in, I cannot give you running totals, but I can say that the three areas of concern for most respondents involve health, money, and loneliness. The number of folks with health issues or concerns about the health and well-being of loved ones was moving.

Those who expressed concerns about having enough money to last them appeared deeply worried about their future.

But the number of people who said their greatest stress comes from being alone or the fear of being alone moved me deeply. Several said they've been abandoned by their grown children and longed for family interaction. One woman couldn't understand why her children don't come to see her any longer.

The next time you get all stressed out about the traffic light or the slowness of the barrister at the coffee shop, think about how petty that all must seem to someone left to spend their remaining days all alone. Or to the old woman who can't stop wondering what happened to her 17-year-old granddaughter who went missing. Or to the man whose tired old body is racked with constant pain.

It puts things in perspective when you take a moment to ask how someone else is doing. Sometimes your problems don't seem as bad as you thought they did.

So, what is the biggest source of stress in your life, SouthCoasters? Let me know under this story on the WBSM Facebook page or through the App Chat or Open Line features on the WBSM app.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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