On my own and lovin’ it

Dear Carolyn:

I’m single. I’ve been single my entire 60 years. I travel alone most of the time, yes, even on vacation. I’m sick of people being shocked that I drove cross-country twice alone. I’m sick of people giving me odd looks and telling me, “Your day will come,” when I am alone on vacation, in the airport, on the plane, at the hotel, in the restaurant. I don’t have a question. I’m just tired of being regarded as bizarre.

— Just Need to Vent

Rightly so.

But I hope someday, if someone gives you the “Your day will come” line again, you say the same back to that person. Because, seriously, way more people manage to get married/paired off than have the courage to be alone with their thoughts, much less alone with their dinner, movie, long-distance drive or vacation.

Which makes you more badass than bizarre, for the record, even though I say this with fervent hope that time and progress will make you less of a badass and more just a person living a life.


Dear Carolyn:

My 12-year-old Lab is nearing the point where we will have to put him down. He’s still enjoying his life but is quickly losing function in his hind legs due to degenerative myelopathy. He is a wonderful, wonderful dog who has been my best friend for 12 years.

We could still have months with him, but I find myself constantly crying, thinking about what it will be like to have him put to sleep, what the house will be like without him there, etc. These thoughts are intrusive and are ruining the time we have left.

I’ve had other pets euthanized in the past, but the anticipation of this one is just killing me. Any tips for how to enjoy the time we have left and get past this anxiety? I do struggle with anxiety generally, and this situation seems to have exacerbated it.

— Dread Losing My Dog

Why don’t you just treat the anxiety like the medical condition it is? Instead of beating yourself up for not being able to push against it on the strength of your will alone.

You are facing the death of a loved one. It’s awful. You’ll get through it, but there’s nothing wrong with accepting that you could use some help with it, too. Treatment might help you enjoy the time you have left with him, too.

Beyond that, be your dog. Seriously. Dogs live in the moment. Take your cue from your dog. Who, by the way, will be happier when he feels your zen.

Dear Carolyn:

I received a Christmas gift from my boyfriend’s mother. (He and I have been dating for seven years.) It was a decorative plate that very obviously had been broken into many pieces and glued back together. The plate was also missing a piece. The family is affluent and the mother is an interior decorator. I am very confused by this gift. I showed it to my boyfriend and he was also confused.

— Confused Gift Recipient

The Christmas question sent to me in the spring gets a very different answer from the Christmas question sent on Dec. 26.

Contemporaneously, you can say to his mother: “Thank you for the beautiful plate. Unfortunately, it arrived broken and glued back together. I’m not upset but I’m guessing you’ll want a refund.” When in doubt, make the assumption that puts your loved one in the best possible light, then respond to it accordingly.

Now, though, that response would be strange; why would you take four months to blame the store?

So your best recourse now is no recourse. The gift was weird, but we can all live with a little weirdness in isolation. If you and your boyfriend notice his mother doing other bizarre or thoughtless things, then please do act — kindly, of course, and ideally on the spot.

Email Carolyn at [email protected], follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

(c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group

Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax

Syndicated Advice Columnist
Advice Columnist Carolyn Hax takes your questions and tackles your problems.

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