Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Midlife Crisis Sufferer Seeks Relief

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am 47 years old, and I think I am having a midlife crisis. I am financially stable, I'm healthy and I have a great family, yet I am suddenly feeling very unsatisfied with my life. I feel as if I don't know what my real purpose in this world is, and that feeling really scares me. I have tried expanding my comfort zone and explored new hobbies to try to change this feeling, but nothing seems to be working. Is this a normal feeling? Do you have any ideas about how I can find my real passion in life? -- Midlife Crisis, Sarasota, Florida

DEAR MIDLIFE CRISIS: For some people, a midlife crisis is a real and terrifying experience. It can be unnerving to feel like you don't know what to do with your life. You do have choices. It would be smart to seek mental health support by going first to your primary care physician and getting a physical to ensure that your body is healthy. Ask for a referral for a therapist who can help you think through what's happening in your life. If you have a spiritual life, you may want to dive more deeply into your spiritual practice.

Another idea is to take a vacation. Go to a destination that you have dreamed about but never visited. Treating yourself to something you have longed to do may help relieve some anxiety.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My fiance and I have decided to move in together. We bought our first home a couple of months ago, but haven't moved in yet. We are in the decorating stage, and he and I have come to disagree on quite a few things. Basically, we have polar opposite design styles -- everything I like, he does not like, and vice versa. It has become a daily argument on what color the walls should be or where the couch should go. All of this stress does not seem worth it! Do you have any advice on how my partner and I can argue less and make this move-in process more enjoyable? -- Move-In Drama, Las Vegas

DEAR MOVE-IN DRAMA: This is an important challenge that you are facing. Just as you do not share design styles, there are likely other areas where you disagree. It is important for you to figure these things out and learn how to compromise.

Perhaps you can choose rooms that each of you can design any way you want. By having complete freedom in one space, you can exercise full creativity. Beyond that, agree to compromise. Pick colors together. Try the couch out in one area and move it around until you both are comfortable. Mix furniture styles. Yes, you can have mid-century modern and antiques side by side. Get creative with the intention of honoring both of your interests. There is an art to decision-making that you must develop in order to create joy and peace in your life -- especially when you disagree.

(Harriette Cole is a life stylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)