It’s OK to stop fol­low­ing par­ents’ plans

The Saline Courier - - OPINION -

“Congress shall make no law ... abridg­ing the free­dom of speech, or of the press ... . ” — From the First Amend­ment to Con­sti­tu­tion

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have al­ways done what­ever my par­ents told me to do. I took the ca­reer path they rec­om­mended. I chose to live in the neigh­bor­hood my fa­ther thought was right for me. It’s not that their ideas were bad, but now I’m 30 years old, and I feel like I’m liv­ing the life they wanted for me in­stead of the life I want for my­self.

Hon­estly, I don’t re­ally even know what I want for me. I have some ideas, but my fa­ther never said they were valid. He al­ways told me I should do some­thing re­spon­si­ble. I’m do­ing that, but I’m not happy. How can I step out on my own now? It feels like it’s too late. I’ve been fol­low­ing their rules my whole life. -Step­ping Out

DEAR STEP­PING OUT: Good news: You are at the per­fect stage in your life to sep­a­rate from your par­ents. You do not have to be an­gry with them or re­sent­ful or any­thing else. In­stead, rec­og­nize that you are com­ing into your own, and it is time for you to think about next steps purely from your per­spec­tive. As an adult, what do you want to do with your life? Where do you want to live? What feels like your path, in­de­pen­dent of your par­ents’ de­sires?

This doesn’t mean, by the way, that you have to ex­tri­cate your­self from the val­ues that you were taught that have helped to guide you to this mo­ment. It does mean that it is time for you to fully ac­cept re­spon­si­bil­ity for your­self, for your choices, for your life. It may also mean that you have to stand up for your­self and tell your par­ents your in­ten­tions and ask for their bless­ing -- even though you should pro­ceed whether or not you get it. •••

DEAR HARRIETTE: My hus­band and I are com­ing up on a big an­niver­sary, and our kids sug­gested that we have a party. They are su­per gung-ho about it, but my hus­band and I are luke­warm. Our life is pretty bor­ing these days, and while we are to­gether, I don’t think ei­ther of us feels like cel­e­brat­ing. I’m not say­ing that we want to get di­vorced. We just don’t want to make a big deal out of some­thing that feels like ev­ery­day life. Our kids are so into it, though, that we don’t want to dis­ap­point them. How should we han­dle this? -- Not in the Mood

DEAR NOT IN THE MOOD: Day-to-day life is not su­per ex­cit­ing for most peo­ple. That’s nor­mal, and it in­cludes cou­ples who have been mar­ried for a long time. While you do not have to agree to a party, con­sider that it could be a lot of fun. Hav­ing loved ones gather who will cel­e­brate your life and their var­i­ous in­ter­sec­tions with you can be up­lift­ing. Your chil­dren are ea­ger to do this and may be in­spired to share high­lights of your life to­gether that will spark joy­ful mem­o­ries that all of you will en­joy.

An an­niver­sary party does not need to seem like a re­newal of vows. It can sim­ply be a party where peo­ple who love you gather to sing your praises and en­joy one an­other’s com­pany. I say go for it, but re­mind your chil­dren that you would like for it to be low-key. •••

Harriette Cole is a lifestylis­t and founder of DREAMLEAPE­RS, an ini­tia­tive to help peo­ple ac­cess and ac­ti­vate their dreams. You can send ques­tions to askhar­ri­[email protected]­ri­et­ or c/o An­drews Mcmeel Syn­di­ca­tion, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.


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