DEAR HARRIETTE: I am what we call middle-aged. I just turned 50, and it is unnerving me. I thought my life would be different than it is. Don't get me wrong -- things are OK. I am a single mom of an irritable teenage daughter. I have a good job and a nice home, but I am kind of bored with my life. When I was younger, I thought I would be living very differently by now.
I hate that I sound like I’m having a midlife crisis. I’ve heard about that, of course. Now I’m thinking there must be some truth to it. I am stressed and sad most of the time. I snap at my daughter on a daily basis, and I don’t know how to get out of this spiral of emotions. -- SOS, Dallas
DEAR SOS: Questioning your life’s choices and value is common for men and women around your age. And, yes, it can be daunting to live through a period when things seem hopeless, stagnant or boring. Add to that a child who is discovering herself and pushing the boundaries, and you have a recipe for daily discomfort. One thing that could make you feel somewhat better is acknowledging that you are not alone. Many people suffer from similar feelings and attitudes at this stage in their lives. That said, if you cannot shake off the negativity, get some help. That can include professional support, like going to a therapist. You can also add an activity to your schedule that you consider fun. Pick a hobby, class or outing that you can do every week, either alone or with a friend, that will break your current patterns and get you to think differently about your life.