DEAR ABBY: I'm frightened that I will become homeless and won't be able to pay my bills. I'm afraid of getting older and ending up a homeless woman, freezing to death on the streets. I worry that the college degree I'm working toward will be useless.
I see the challenges older people go through: house bills, medical bills, student loans, car bills, trying to save for retirement. I'm accused of being a cheapskate, but I'm terrified I will never have enough. Sometimes the future seems bleak. While other people see possibilities and adventure, all I can see is a homeless death on the streets.
I struggle every day to find a reason to get up. I distract myself with simple goals: go to class, finish homework, get a college degree, and then get some kind of job. But there are so many bills to pay just to live -- so many problems in the future that are right around the corner.
When you're a single gal alone in this world, the melancholy begins to seep in. I ask myself, is this life worth it? What is the point of getting up day after day knowing that when I graduate from college there's nothing ahead of me but a life of constant bills and misery? -- EVERYDAY STRUGGLE
DEAR EVERYDAY STRUGGLE: It has been some time since I have seen a letter filled with as much negativity and depression as the one you have written. One of the benefits of being in school is you have access to the student health center. I urge you to go there and talk to a counselor who can help you cope with your fears before they become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Decades ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." This applies to you. We all have moments of doubt about what's to come, but when fear about the future destroys the present, it's time to seek professional help and an attitude adjustment. Please do it, because if you do, I'm confident you will feel better.
DEAR ABBY: Twenty years ago, I inherited eight place settings of china that belonged to my great-grandmother. I had no place to display it, so I carefully wrapped each piece in newspaper and put them inside a hard-sided plastic tote.
When I moved into my current apartment five years ago, my mother was helping me unpack, and we wanted to put the china set in a cupboard above the refrigerator. When we started unpacking, we found many of the pieces had become stained from the ink in the newspaper.
Abby, my mother and I are heartbroken. My great-grandmother collected each piece of this set with Green Stamps during World War II, and I hate that it's now damaged. Do you know of a way I can safely get this staining out of the china? -- HEARTBROKEN IN MINNESOTA
DEAR HEARTBROKEN: I researched your question at HowToCleanStuff.net and found several suggestions for removing newsprint stains from dishes. One involves using a pencil eraser; another, a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol. However, if you are afraid these methods could further damage your china set, call the nearest art museum and speak with someone in their restoration department. I wish you and your mother good luck.
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 $8 (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.)