DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm currently separated from my wife, and she invited me to have Christmas dinner at her parents' house. I'm not too keen on the idea of spending my holiday with her family, and I don't feel like answering questions regarding my relationship with my wife. I know this may be the first step toward reconciling my relationship with my wife, but I don't think it would be a great idea to spend time with her family. What are your thoughts? -- Thanks But No Thanks, Newark, N.J.
DEAR THANKS BUT NO THANKS: What are your thoughts about reconciliation? Do you remember the details of why you and your wife chose to be apart? The two of you need to deal with the key issues in your relationship, not filter them through the prism of her parents' thoughts, feelings and urgings.
Instead of spending time at your in-laws' home during the holidays, request a meeting with your wife to talk about where your relationship stands and where you are headed.
Thank her parents for the invitation. As you decline, let them and her know that you think it is best for the two of you to work through your relationship alone.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Today marks my 15th year working at the same company. I'm having mixed feeling about my tenure at this company. I became comfortable with the money and the perks. I never chased my dreams, and I think it may be too late for me to become an entrepreneur. My wings have been clipped, and I'm afraid to step out on faith and follow my dreams. I see a better life for me, but I'm afraid. -- A Dream Deferred, Chicago
DEAR A DREAM DEFERRED: I want to congratulate you on your 15th anniversary. That is no small feat in today's economy. Rather than feeling sad, be grateful for what you have achieved. Your attitude is essential to any future success you hope to have.
Your gratitude doesn't mean you need to be complacent. If you think you really want to do something else, figure out what that is. Write down your dreams and goals. Think about the things you never allowed yourself to consider in the past. What entrepreneurial pursuits get you excited?
Now do some research. You can gain some knowledge, perhaps by taking a class, and perhaps even start a side business that will whet your appetite for what you want to do next.
You can start small by making your entrepreneurial idea a second job. See what happens as you focus on this idea. Perhaps you can grow it into something profitable that will allow you to leave your job one day and pursue your dream full time. Even if that's not the case, just doing the thing you have wanted to do for so long may fill the creative hole in your life, making you feel more fulfilled personally, which in turn can make you tackle your longtime job with renewed gusto.