DEAR HARRIETTE: My father recently passed away, and his death has been hard on me. Growing up, we always talked about the future and what it will bring. Everything I have done in my life has been to make my father proud. I was his only daughter, and he wanted nothing but the absolute best for me. He always told me that doctors make good money and I should continue to work hard to be one someday. I am a successful orthopedist, and I am very proud of how far I’ve come.
A few days ago, the realization finally hit me: I have done everything for my dad to make him happy. Making him happy made me happy, but since he is no longer here, finding my own happiness has been difficult. How can I become happy with myself and live for myself from here on out? -- On My Own, Minneapolis
DEAR ON MY OWN: Your father laid a tremendous foundation for you that inspired you to be your best. You will forever have his love living in your heart, which should help in different ways to ease the pain of losing him.
Now is the time for you to remind yourself that you are prepared to live on your own and fulfill the dreams that you and your father had for your life. You don’t necessarily have to think of his loss as you being totally alone. Your father’s spirit will always be with you. You can think of this as the next chapter of your journey.
Make a list of the things you enjoy doing -- for work and for pleasure. Who are the people you enjoy the most? Schedule quality time with them. Expand your circle of friends. Try new activities. You may also want to see a bereavement counselor to get advice on how to handle your father’s death. You can find them at your house of worship or through your primary care physician.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m worried that my best friend may be too loosey-goosey when it comes to money. A couple of weeks ago, we went shopping to pick up some silverware for my new apartment. Once I was at the register, she came up to me with about 10 items in her hand ready to buy. She is a shopaholic, and it is getting out of control. Her house looks like a storage unit with the number of packages lying around from her reckless online shopping. I’m afraid that she is tossing her money out the door and swiping her credit card like there’s no tomorrow. I tried advising her, but she always shuts me down.
I want my friend to be able to save her money so that she can buy her dream car and finish paying her college loans. How can I get her to understand the importance of saving? -- Spendthrift Friend, Dallas
DEAR SPENDTHRIFT FRIEND: You can’t force your friend to change, but you can stop enabling her. Don’t invite her to go shopping with you, and tell her why. Explain that you refuse to be party to her reckless behavior. Suggest that she check out Debtors Anonymous, where she may learn some strategies on how to curb her spending.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)