Q I feel like nothing is going right in my life. I am busy with work, which is good, but it just feels like a treadmill. I get up, and it seems like the week whizzes by. I don’t do anything much for fun. My husband and I live in the same house but barely talk to each other. My life is boring and just ... nothing.
I listen to my co-workers talk about the fun things that they did on the weekend or after work. I do nothing. I’m beginning to think that my life isn’t worth it. Like, what am I working so hard for if I never to anything interesting? I think this is an unhealthy state of mind, but I don’t quite know what to do next. — Unmotivated
A The moment of awareness is when you can do something about it. Take stock of your interests. If you ever had hobbies, what were they? What did you do for fun? Can you resume one of those activities now? Especially if those interests could involve other people, go for it. For example, I used to crochet a lot. I would go to certain yarn shops and sit with others who knitted or crocheted for company. Those types of engagements are starting again. Look for like-minded gatherings.
Invite your husband out on a date. Break up the monotony of your household routine. Coax him out to do fun things with you that take you out of the house and out of your comfort zones with the goal of simply having fun.
You can also find a therapist to help you sort through your thoughts and feelings.
Q My son will be going off to college in the fall, and I’m feeling a wave of panic come over me. He is prepared — that is not the problem. A good friend told me years ago when my son was born that the most important thing I could do for myself was to ensure that my marriage was tight after I had my child. I didn’t really do that. I poured everything into my child. Now that he is about to go, I have the mess of my marriage left to deal with.
Whenever my husband and I have had issues, I have tried to get us to address them, but he has refused therapy and generally blown me off when I have pointed out things that bother me. I’m tired of turning a blind eye to the things that tick me off, but I don’t want to have to put up with this stuff anymore. I don’t know that I want a divorce. I do know that I don’t want what we have right now. What can I do? — Turing Point
A Find a therapist for yourself, and sort through your feelings and state of mind. What do you want for yourself now? What are you ready to do to manifest that? What can you do to inspire your husband to meet you where you want to be? What will you do if you cannot get him to do anything? Invite your husband to join you in therapy. He may surprise you this time.
Ultimately, you have to decide if you are willing to stay where you are or make other choices. Don’t stay in purgatory. Make a conscious choice for your life and then put everything into it.
Q My former best friend called me the other day and told me she needed to speak to me about something important. She hosts a popular podcast series and told me that her newest episode would be about our friendship and the reason we grew apart. She briefed me on what she said about me. (The show had already been recorded.) She said she wanted to give me a warning before it aired because she didn’t want me to be blindsided. I gave her my blessing.
I listened to the episode after it aired, and it was nothing like what she warned me it would be like. She made me out to be such a bad person. She didn’t mention my name, but it was so obviously about me. Should I tell her to take it down? Should I confront her? — Take It Down
A Make this an opportunity to clear the air with this woman. Call her and tell her that you listened to the podcast, and you would like to get together and talk to her. Have a conversation with her about your friendship. Tell her that your recollection of what transpired between you is dramatically different from what she said about you. Describe your recollection of what occurred between you. Ask her if she remembers any of the details that you put forward.
Challenge the stories that you do not agree with that she shared in her podcast. Bring up specific stories and describe what you remember in comparison to what she said. Tell her that her portrayal of you does not seem accurate to you, and it makes you very uncomfortable. You can ask her to take it down. If you are up for it, you may want to suggest that the two of you talk about what happened on the podcast so that you can set the record straight.
Q My aunt has never paid any bills in her life. She has been with her husband since she was 18 years old and never had to work if she didn’t want to. Being a stay-at-home mother is all she’s ever known.
I recently expressed my desire to move out of my parents’ house the other day (I am 25), and she completely discouraged me from doing so. She told me I have no idea what it takes to be on my own and that I would be crazy to live in a major city without a roommate on my current salary. I didn’t find this conversation helpful. She is the only person in my family who completely discouraged me from moving out. Ironically, my aunt is also the only person in my family who has never paid any bills. Should I tell her that her advice is meaningless? — Didn’t Ask
A Rather than shooting the messenger, listen to her advice to see what you can learn from it. How much does it cost to rent an apartment where you live? Based on your current salary, what can you afford to pay? If she is right about that point, consider getting a roommate. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that option. You could also look for a neighborhood that’s a bit farther away where the prices are lower.
The point here is to hear what your aunt had to say as you make your plans. Ultimately, you have to decide your next steps for yourself. Do not discount her counsel, though. Her life’s trajectory does not necessarily mean that her opinion is worthless. Everyone who offers advice has a perspective that you can consider as long as you remember that none of those people has the power to make you do anything.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.