DEAR HARRIETTE: I went to a holiday party with a large number of guests. Among them was my high school ex. I am now in my 50s, but we have remained friendly over the years. I haven’t seen him in person in a long time. It was so good to see him -- and his wife. They were very friendly and cordial, but it was a little awkward for me. I've held on to some lingering feelings for him, even after we both have led our separate lives. Everything was fine, but I feel stupid for still caring about him. Is that normal? -- Old Flame Won't Die
DEAR OLD FLAME WON’T DIE: When you truly love someone, those feelings can easily last forever. There’s no sin in that. What is not good is if you try to make something of those old feelings long after you and this person have moved on with your lives. Holding on to the lingering feelings is not wise. Acknowledging that this man holds a special place in your heart is OK. You don’t need to share those thoughts with him -- or anyone else.
Check in with yourself. What do you feel today? Beyond the awkwardness that may have been connected to old behavior, have you done anything in the present to warrant shame? If not, just let this man go. Wish him and his wife well within your own heart. Next time you see or talk to him, be grateful for the long-term friendship, and don’t try to turn it into more than that.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been working on a freelance project for two years now. There are aspects of it that I like, but my boss is erratic and temperamental. Plus, the pay is so low that it adds up to less than minimum wage. I have a college degree and wanted to apply my skills to a job, but I want to be paid for my work. I’m kind of afraid to leave this position, but I know I need to make more money. The other problem is that this job takes up a lot of time. What should I do? -- Stuck Below Minimum Wage
DEAR STUCK BELOW MINIMUM WAGE: Start looking online and in your local newspaper for job opportunities. You owe it to yourself at least to poke around and see what’s out there. Brush off your resume and look around. This will help you to determine if you are poised well for a better job.
You can also look at legitimate minimum-wage jobs that might tide you over for a set amount of time while you look for more optimal employment. Staying at a job that is abusive will only corrode your self-esteem over time. Be mindful not to stay there too long.
(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.)