Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Must Focus on One Passion at a Time

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am 23 years old, and when people ask me what I want to pursue in life, I am unsure how to give the proper answer. This confusion is not because I cannot find a passion, but because I have too many passions that come to mind. None of them really relate to the others, so I feel as though I cannot simply list them because it makes me sound scrambled.

My first passion is music. I played violin for eight consecutive years in middle and high school, and I have gained a love for music of all genres because of it. I want to perfect my skill and play professionally. I just did not choose to study that in college, so getting a job in that field is on pause. Next, I love cooking and want to open a business one day with my family recipes perfected. However, I have no real restaurant experience and no consecutive culinary arts courses under my belt. Lastly, I want to study holistic medicine and become a practitioner who can help others heal naturally. This is personal to me because my health issues were diminished thanks to holistic care, and I want to pay it forward.

Each passion requires focus and attention, and I hate having to choose to explain what I want to do in my life. Sometimes this is because I fear I will not be able to accomplish it all. -- Passionate Thinker

DEAR PASSIONATE THINKER: You have three strong ideas. Choose to develop one at a time. You may want to look for work in a restaurant so you can learn the business from the ground up. Look for restaurants that are similar to what you want to open, and apply there. In the beginning, just about any job could be OK. You should learn all positions if you want to run a successful restaurant. Meanwhile, practice your music and possibly start taking lessons again. Continue to read and do independent research on holistic care.

When you talk to others, lead with the restaurant. See if you get any traction around that. Give yourself time to build your knowledge base. You may be able to enjoy each of your interests at different stages in your life.

DEAR HARRIETTE: Every time I see one friend of mine, I bring him a gift of some kind. There’s no rule about it. I just love him and always want to bring him a token of my love. The thing is, he never gives me anything. He is nice to me when we are together, but he is pretty aloof otherwise. I like the attention I get when we are engaged, but I think I am too pliable. He doesn’t have to do anything but show up. Should I stop bringing him gifts? Am I going too far? -- Selfish Friend

DEAR SELFISH FRIEND: If you are feeling taken advantage of, slow down on your giving. You cannot expect your friend to pick up your practices. You are the one who likes to shower him with gifts. But if that doesn’t make you happy anymore, stop it. You also need to acknowledge that your friend is the way he is. If you have been accepting him unconditionally, it may seem jarring to him if you suddenly change.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist 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.)