Dear Feelings Doctor: I have a problem with a friend I have known for 25 years. Our relationship has become really one-sided for the past five or six years. All he talks about is his life and his world. I know men probably aren't supposed to get their feelings hurt, but it's a real bummer! What do I do to fix this?
— Bummed in Santa Barbara
Dear Bummed: Change is the one thing in the world that continues to happen, even when the good things come up missing. If you have shared your feelings on this subject with your longtime friend and it hasn’t gotten any better, perhaps it’s time for a rest. Sometimes we grow out of friends (and I know that is a bummer) just like we do our favorite T-shirt or cozy slippers we’ve had forever.
Our needs and desires change as we grow, so if both of you are all right with that, then perhaps the new “you” can be something different and special in the now, and if not, you have those fun times to remember. Always wish the best for people, and it will come back to you.
Dear Feelings Doctor: I have a good life and will be 50 soon. My children have been my focus for so many years, and they are healthy and happy. My husband and I are in our routines every day, and it feels as if there is no point to anything right now. I don't feel like getting up in the morning, and I cry a lot these days.
I could never tell anyone in my family any of this.
— Stacy in Santa Barbara
Dear Stacy: When life is good and going along just fine, we still need challenges that help us grow and feel a sense of self-worth, whether it’s the beginning of an empty nest or feeling that new change in your life.
First, make a visit to the doctor to get a clean bill of health. When the activities and pleasures we used to enjoy no longer seem fun, that’s a shift that needs to be looked at. Next, find out what that voice is saying to you, the voice that has been pushed to the back of the room while you were happily raising your children — that voice that calls to you and says, "What about this fun project, or this amazing adventure you always loved to do?”
It’s your time now. Everyone has been taken care of; it’s your turn. Happy 2014.
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Imagine This ...
Seek what you have
Dive before the watercourse shrinks
Find the thread that unravels back to
the shirt you are wearing
Travel south of anger, west of resentment, north
of desire and east of envy—
Find the center of your own silence
Use every word as if it were a mud brick you shaped
with your own hands
Stack them carefully—
Celebrate your birthday every day, save the one you were born on
At night, find a bridge to sleep beneath
Watch for the prize ... it will float in the dark silent silk river just
feet from where you dream
In the morning, bathe in its glassy silence and feel the new skin
packing you in like a gold bar swaddled in
— Dennis P. Slattery