My husband and I are in our late 50’s. We’re empty-nesters, so he and I have settled into a “new normal” of work, and a somewhat predictable schedule. Last week, after watching a documentary on kids in “the system”, my husband told me he thought we should consider fostering a teenager! This came completely out of left field, and I’m still reeling. We just finished parenting our youngest a few years ago, and now he wants to bring in a troubled teen? Despite being married for nearly thirty years, I feel like I don’t know my husband at all!
Dear Mid-Life Wife,
Did you hear that? That was the sound of your husband’s bomb dropping. Without knowing anything else about your marriage, I can already tell you that you two don’t communicate enough. While I commend your husband on wanting to help children in need, even “troubled teens in the system”, I can’t help but wonder if he’s trying to tell you something. Maybe your life is a bit too predictable? When’s the last time you two went salsa dancing, or on a fun vacation? Give him an unexpected compliment, gift, or BJ as he’s getting out of the shower. Marriages change over time, and both of you have to change in the same general direction and remain focused on each other. If he really needs another soul to care for, find an animal in a rescue shelter. They’re more easily house-trained, cheaper, and easier to pawn off on sitters for when you go on that sexy cruise you’re planning behind his back.
Life is so hectic- I have two teens in high school, a husband, two dogs, an aging parent, and a full-time job. I have so much stress and no time to myself. When I go to the grocery store, I find myself taking an extra five minutes in the car in the parking lot, just so I can have some downtime. My mind is unfocused, but my to-do list is a mile long. I don’t know what to do. The strain of it all is really getting to me.
Overwhelmed in Oklahoma
Dear Overwhelmed in Oklahoma,
Well, damn- I’m exhausted just hearing about your life! But, after careful consideration, for about two seconds, I believe the answer to your problem is to DELEGATE. I know….no one is as good at cooking as you are, and you can’t trust anyone to buy the right toilet paper, or stick to the budget. You don’t trust anyone to look after your parent as you would, and no one gets the dog hair up from the carpet like you. But what’s the alternative? They’d be worse off if they had to stick you away in a padded cell. Truly, it will be okay if they get the one-ply TP or the generic refried beans. Surely, two high schoolers can do their own laundry, and cook one night (each) a week. And certainly, your husband isn’t so dysfunctional that he’s unable to make the bed, even if it means no hospital corners. Do yourself a favor, and let go of your control issue. And if they won’t step up to the plate, simply stop doing their laundry, or cooking for them, and see how long they hold out. Hunger is a strong motivator.
After six years of solitude, following the passing of my twenty-year partner, I’m ready to begin dating again. But so much has changed! I used to meet people all the time, and it seemed so easy to find a relationship. Now, everything is electronic, and you have to make a good first impression two-dimensionally, or you just get passed by. How do I “date” in the 21st Century?
Single And Searching
Dear Single And Searching,
Dagnabit, I wish I had an easy answer for you, but I don’t. Meeting people today is like being forced to live in the Jetsons’ cartoon, but without the benefit of having been born into that world. The good news is that old folk like us (who remember the Jetsons) are more likely to be interested in meeting the old fashioned way. So get out there, and take that basket weaving class you’ve been eyeing, try 80s music karaoke or the hula hoop tricks course. At the very least, you’ll get out of the house, save your eyesight from staring at the computer all day, and make some new friends. At best, you’ll meet that next someone for whom you’ll waste your next twenty-year. Cheers.