Dear Amy: I am blessed to have retired before the age of 50.
I’m now in my mid 50’s and my life is amazing, but my in-laws think I need to get back to work.
We had a pretty OK relationship before my retirement, but now that I’m around them, they tell me I’m too young to retire, and that’s caused a break in our relationship.
I did not know that there was an age requirement to retire as long as one is financially secure.
How can I respond to this?
Dear enjoy: I suggest you respond with a version of “Aren’t you cute?” before you move your in-laws away from you as a topic of conversation. One way to do this is to ask a question, “Do you remember how old your own parents were when they retired?”
They might say, “Our people never retired!” which would give you an insight into their background history and point of view.
There’s nothing wrong with a little interruption between generations, but I do not hope you will let this difference of opinion grow into more than that.
Dear Amy: My friend is a drunk. It’s disgusting to look at.
At several times over the years that I have traveled with her, she has found ways to drink while a passenger in my car, often from a “water bottle” that has vodka in it.
If I was stopped by the police and they found liquor within reach inside my car, I would be fired from my job immediately.
I have discussed this with my friend, but she has still violated my trust.
She has gone to rehab, tried cold turkey and been hospitalized. She lost her job because of her alcoholism.
She is an educated, lively, loving, caring friend who stood by my side as life kicked me in the head and heart as I dealt with the loss of my mother and as other friends withdrew. I love our friendship.
I recently hosted a holiday party. I thought I was on alert, but I did not notice how much she drank. I looked across the table and saw (once again) the half-mast eyes, mouth agape with food dribble out, down into her dress and onto the floor. Her face was almost in her plate. She spent the night fainting on my couch.
I’ve reached my limit. I talked to her the next morning. She apologized violently, but I realize it does not matter.
I would be horrified to be in that state of intoxication, but she does not seem to be ashamed at all.
I want to have her with me when I entertain or go out with other friends, but I do not want to see her get drunk or have to take care of a drunk. I do not want to have to lock my liquor inside when she’s at my house. I was not supposed to be the “liquor police” with her.
What is left to do?
Dear disgusted: You say your girlfriend has no shame and yet you seem determined to shame her.
Think of her as an addict, not a “drunk”. Put your disgust and replace it with compassion for someone who has a disorder that is currently raging out of control. See what she’s lost!
Yes, you should lock your liquor when she is at your house. You should not drink in front of her or with her. You should not serve alcohol to her, or have it available, and expect her to be able to control her drinking. Because she obviously can not.
You can not save her from her addiction. But you do not need to activate it either.
Stop chastising her. Tell her that you love her and that you appreciate the gift of her friendship, but that she has gone back and you are worried about her. (Relapse is extremely common).
She needs professional help and rehabilitation, as well as your continued compassion. Offer to explore opportunities with her and encourage her to participate in a program.
Dear Amy: Thanks for your “Book on Every Bed” column. I love this idea.
I recently returned to the workforce and worked with low-income preschoolers. Every day before bedtime I read the same very sweet book.
For the holidays, I gave each of my students their own copy.
I hope I have helped instill the love of reading and a good book.
Happy my little ones
Dear Happy: Your preschoolers will appreciate this book. Thanks for encouraging reading skills.
You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.