DEAR ABBY: Do you ever feel sometimes that your life is going backward instead of forward? In my early 20s, I had a life. I was engaged, going to college, hanging with my friends, loved my family, had standards for myself and goals in my life.
As I have gotten older, I feel like all I have is a graduate degree, a good job, my health, a truck that's paid for, and wonderful, generous parents for letting me once again live with them. (Another relationship gone bad.)
Somewhere along the way, I kept losing the things that mattered to me, that kept me together, that made me who I was. And now, here I am at 28, and if I died tomorrow the only people at my funeral would be my family and some co-workers.
I am lost and I can't seem to find my way back. I don't even recognize the girl in the mirror anymore. And the saddest thing is I am a licensed therapist, trying to help other people put their lives back together while I'm still searching for mine. Ironically, I'm amazed at what I do and have a deep-seated passion for it.
Abby, how do you get a life when you've lost the one you thought you were living in? -- AT SEA IN WISCONSIN
DEAR AT SEA: All of us have down days when we feel like we are going backward instead of forward. How can we appreciate a bowl of cherries if we don't encounter a few pits from time to time? Or a worm?
Being a licensed therapist (or an advice columnist, for that matter) is no guarantee that life isn't going to have its ups and downs. As human beings, we are as vulnerable to depression as the next person -- and people in the helping professions are not except.
If you want to figure out where you lost your way and how to get back on track, then your best bet is to find a colleague you can talk to. (Many therapists do this.) Accept that you need a dose of therapy and embrace it. You're in the perfect position to get the help you need, so stop procrastinating.
DEAR ABBY: I am wondering what the rule of thumb is as far as giving your roommates notice that you're moving out. I know it is usually a 30-day notice, but I never signed a lease. All I do is rent a room from a couple of my friends who own the house.
Would it be all right if I gave them a week's notice and offered to pay to the following month's end? -- CLUELESS IN ILLINOIS
DEAR CLUELESS: That seems fair to me. It would be the equivalent of a month's notice and would not cause your friends any inconvenience. However, be sure to give your notice in writing. It will eliminate any misunderstandings.
DEAR ABBY: Is it true what people say while drunk, or not? Does alcohol cause one's true feelings to come out? -- LINDA IN CRESTVIEW, FLA.
DEAR LINDA: Drinking lowers a person's inhibitions. When that happens, things he or she would not say under normal (sober) circumstances can come out. Are they a reflection of the person's true feelings? Yes, often they are -- but not always. Drinking can also distort one's sense of reality, causing the drinker to become defensive -- or offensive -- and react to a threat, insult or "invitation" that exists only in his or her addled imagination.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
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