Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Seeing Old Friend Brings On Wake-Up Call

DEAR HARRIETTE: I saw a woman over the holidays who I had not seen for about 15 years. It was so nice to see her and to reconnect. One thing that bothered me, though, was that I could see that when she looked at me, she noticed that I have gained a lot of weight. She didn’t say anything, but I saw her see me. I feel bad enough that I no longer have the figure I had when I was younger.

I now have a child and never had a good exercise routine, so I’ve basically sat on my butt for many of the years since I have seen my friend. Well, not exactly -- I have been taking care of my active son.

Anyway, her glance was a wake-up call. I would like to get healthier. I hope it is not too late. It is hard to commit to it, though. Any ideas for how I can change my attitude and get fit? -- Wake-Up Call

DEAR WAKE-UP CALL: Consider the fact that you ran into this woman a blessing. Who knows what she was thinking? What you think is what matters. One thing that could motivate you to move your body more and get healthier is your son. If you want to be able to be strong and vital as he matures, you must take good care of yourself. That includes moving your body every day, eating well and paying attention to your health.

Go to your doctor and get a physical to find out if there are any medical concerns that you should address. Ask your doctor for recommendations for a fitness routine and nutritional program. You may be referred to a dietician. Follow your doctor’s directions. Whenever you feel yourself slipping, think of your son. Let him be your constant motivation.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently moved to New York City, and I have a car. I like being able to drive whenever I want to get out of the city or go to another borough, but I get way too many parking tickets. Either I forget to move my car for alternate-side-of-the-street parking, or I inadvertently park in the wrong space. It is so confusing.

I’m thinking of selling my car. My friends are up in arms about this. They love that I have a car and can drive to places that we otherwise might not visit. They aren’t willing to help move my car or pay for tickets -- not that I would feel comfortable even asking them -- but they are pressuring me to keep my car. They have offered to chip in to pay for a garage, but that’s expensive, too. What should I do? -- Car in the City

DEAR CAR IN THE CITY: Evaluate your budget so that you are clear about what you can afford. Search for affordable garages. If you look in remote neighborhoods, the price for a parking lot goes down. Or you can recommit to paying closer attention to street parking so that you stop getting tickets.

In terms of your friends helping to foot a parking lot bill, you can consider that. But make sure that you understand their expectations. Will they expect to have access to your car at their leisure? Will they want to drive it? Outline what the parameters and boundaries are. You can try this shared payment for parking for a few months. Evaluate it carefully to see if it works for all. If nothing works, you can give up your car and choose to rent when you need wheels.

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