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by Abigail Van Buren

Change in Man's Personality When Drinking Threatens Wife

DEAR ABBY: I am a happily married woman. After 45 years of working full time and raising three great children, I decided to retire. I loved working and raising my children, and I am now thoroughly enjoying my retirement.

I do not yet have grandchildren, and my days are quiet and simple, which is fine with me. My husband and I enjoy little things -- the crossword puzzle, discussing the news, going to a play or concert and enjoying the company of our children and extended family when we get together.

The problem? My working siblings and their spouses constantly ask, "So, what are you doing with your time?" If I say, "Enjoying each day as it comes," they scoff and say, "So, you're just doing nothing?! Are you ever going to work again?" It makes me feel sad and judged, and I don't know how to respond. What can I say to these folks who think I'm "doing nothing"? -- LOST FOR WORDS IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR LOST FOR WORDS: You can feel sad and judged only if you allow it. All you have to say to these people is, "I'm finding plenty of things to devote time to -- spending more time with my husband, chief among them -- and I'm wallowing in it!" Then smile.