Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Woman Wants To Change Career Path

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am an older woman, and I would like to leave the job that I’ve been working at for decades. I find that my creativity and my desire to do something different are not being fulfilled. I fear that it is too late for me to follow my dreams, and I have too much to lose -- I am in my 50s now, and I have a family to support. I know that people say it is never too late to follow your dreams, but I am trying to be pragmatic. I cannot abandon my job altogether, but I fear if I don’t leave now, I’ll be stuck here for the rest of my life. What steps should I take? -- Practicality

DEAR PRACTICALITY: Make a plan. Rather than doing anything rash, think about what you would like to do. Perhaps there is a hobby that you can practice that will allow you the creative outlet that you crave. Sometimes adding an activity outside of the workplace can be incredibly satisfying because it also helps you to nurture your whole life, not just your work life.

If there is a career change that you desire, figure out what it is. Do you have the skills, or should you take a class to get yourself ready? Can you volunteer in that area of interest in your free time? Volunteering is an effective way of gaining skills and a soft entry into a new experience. The point: Don’t give up. Get creative. It is never too late!

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m having second thoughts about how I ended my last relationship. It’s been a few weeks since we’ve spoken, so it seems a bit random to try to rehash anything now, but I feel that I didn’t say everything I wanted to say to my ex. I feel like I was too cold toward her. I don’t have any intention of getting back together, but I think it would be a good idea to have a talk with her and gain some closure. My female friends are telling me that it’s better to just cut off communication completely and let bygones be bygones, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I want to tell her that I’m sorry. What do you think? -- Closure

DEAR CLOSURE: If you believe that you were unnecessarily unkind or rude or otherwise hurtful to your ex, offer to apologize. Be sure not to confuse your message, though. Reach out to her and request to meet or talk. Express your regret for being unkind to her. Be specific so that she knows what you are talking about.

I often say that endings are more important than beginnings. I believe this wholeheartedly, as I have seen how the ways in which people walk away from relationships can be unnecessarily callous and devastating. It is so much better for everyone if you bring your best self to the end of an engagement, whether it is a job, a friendship, a love relationship or anything else. When we begin things, we focus on showing our best selves. Do yourself and others a favor by bringing that great, compassionate you when you are about to close doors, too.

(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.)