DEAR ABBY: I am an 18-year-old high school senior who is scared about what's going to happen after graduation. For the past three years I have known exactly where I'll be and what I will be doing in the general sense. Now that I have one more year to go, I'm worried that I won't know what to do or how to do it when I graduate. I have talked to counselors and my dad, but they all say the same thing. Do you have any advice? -- UNEASY IN IDAHO
DEAR UNEASY: Sit down someplace quiet and make a list of what your interests and talents are. If necessary, next year visit the career counseling department of your nearest community college or university and take some aptitude tests. This will give you an idea of what direction you may want to take in deciding what you should do next.
Unlike in generations past, people today sometimes change careers several times in their working lives, so don't be afraid that you'll be stuck in some unpleasant rut forever. The more you learn and the more people you meet, the greater your options will be, so stop worrying.Read more in: Teens | Work & School
DEAR ABBY: In 1972 when I was 12, my father found out that I was gay, although that wasn't the word he used. After a severe beating that landed me in the hospital, I realized that to survive I was going to have to live "straight." Eventually I married, and for almost 25 years I was relatively happy. My wife died of cancer five years ago, and now I need to move on.
Can someone my age enter gay society? One thing I have noticed is that it can be more difficult for older gay men than straight. Any suggestions or should I just continue living the lie? -- AT A CROSSROADS IN MINNESOTA
DEAR AT A CROSSROADS: The gay community may be biased toward youth, but that doesn't mean it is impossible to be a part of it. You have "served your time" hiding in the straight world. Contact the nearest gay and lesbian center (lgbtcenters.org) and talk to someone there about your chances of successfully integrating. I'm sure you will be pleasantly surprised because most centers have programs for LGBT people of all ages.Read more in: Family & Parenting | Sex & Gender
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 30-year-old woman. I take care of myself, exercise regularly and have a healthy diet. I'm naturally very thin, and the diet and exercise actually help me to gain and keep weight on my otherwise "skinny" frame.
My issue is people who seem to think my weight is an OK topic of discussion, light ridicule or even harsh accusation (anorexia, bulimia, etc.). I am self-conscious about my "chicken legs" and having a "bony butt." How can I tell people that commenting on my weight is rude without creating an issue or causing drama? -- WEIGHTY ISSUE IN D.C.
DEAR WEIGHTY ISSUE: Of course it's rude, and the comments you're receiving may have in them an element of jealousy. A nonconfrontational way to handle it would be to pleasantly assure these concerned individuals that your doctor has assured you that you are fine. Then change the subject.Read more in: Health & Safety | Etiquette & Ethics
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)