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Home ยป A Happy New Year to All as Opportunities Await – Dear Abby – Dear Abby

A Happy New Year to All as Opportunities Await – Dear Abby – Dear Abby

DEAR READERS: Welcome to 2023! A new year has arrived, and the last one is behind us. As always, this new year brings with it our hopes for a new beginning.
Today presents an opportunity to discard destructive old habits for healthy new ones, and with that in mind, I will share Dear Abby's often-requested list of New Year's Resolutions — which were adapted by my late mother, Pauline Phillips, from the original credo of Al-Anon:
JUST FOR TODAY: I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once. I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will decide to be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things that I can correct and accept those I cannot.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I'll not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking. Just for today, I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will do something positive to improve my health. If I'm a smoker, I'll quit. And I will get off the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it's only around the block.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my own actions.
And now, Dear Readers, allow me to share an item that was sent to me by L.J. Bhatia, a reader from New Delhi, India:
DEAR ABBY: This year, no resolutions, only some guidelines. The Holy Vedas say, "Man has subjected himself to thousands of self-inflicted bondages. Wisdom comes to a man who lives according to the true eternal laws of nature."
The prayer of St. Francis (of which there are several versions) contains a powerful message:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
And so, Dear Readers, may 2023 bring with it good health, peace and joy to all of us. — LOVE, ABBY
DEAR ABBY: I'm a single man who has a close female friend who is also single. We live about a half-hour apart, so for the last 25 years, much of our relationship happened on the phone. We talked almost daily.
Two years ago, I noticed she had stopped calling me unless it was to make plans to get together. Then I noticed that when I called her, she'd let it go to voicemail and not return my call for days. About a year ago, she stopped returning my voice messages altogether. I tried reducing my calls drastically, but no dice. I also tried switching to texts, but she doesn't respond to those, either.
You might conclude that she's unfriending me, but that's not the case. We still get together often for dinner or a movie, usually at her suggestion via email, and she still acts like we are close friends and nothing is wrong. But not returning, or even acknowledging, my calls or texts sure feels wrong to me. I have tried asking her about it, but she brushes it off by saying she "didn't hear the phone." Or she's "bad at checking voicemail and texts."
Her latest excuse is, she's "just not good on the telephone." Abby, I know phone etiquette has changed and young people rarely use the phone these days. But we are in our 60s, and for 25 years our relationship was largely on the phone. It's one thing to want to cut back on that, or even to stop calling me. But ignoring my (now infrequent) calls or texts seems hurtful. Is this normal, and should I still consider such a person one of my closest friends? — GHOSTED IN THE WEST
DEAR GHOSTED: A sudden change in pattern is not normal. Something has changed. Because you can't get her to explain what has caused this change in her behavior, consider taking a page out of her playbook. Communicate with her via email only in response to her emails to you, and find some other friends who will treat you courteously.
DEAR ABBY: I am a widow, and I miss my husband very much. We used to go out to dinner together often. I have friends I have dinners with, but sometimes I go out by myself. Every time I do, after I say I am dining alone, the host or hostess asks, "Just you?" It is like an insult — just me? Like I need a reminder that I am alone without a husband.
I recently mentioned this to a friend who told me he experiences the same thing when he dines alone. He, too, considers it insulting. Please share this with readers who work in the hospitality industry. — JUST ME IN COLORADO
DEAR JUST ME: I'm printing your letter, but I think you may be reacting to a question that may be more about procedure than a social commentary. Your host or server may ask that question because they want to know whether the extra place settings should be removed from the table.
DEAR READERS: As I reflect back on this past year, I also want to wish you a happy, healthy 2023. Did it fly by for you as quickly as it did for me? I will join you tonight in "toasting" a new year that, I hope, will be a less stressful one for all of us. If you are celebrating tonight, please take measures to protect not only your own health, but also the safety of others. Happy New Year, everyone! — LOVE, ABBY
DEAR ABBY: I was married to a man whose family always seemed to be in each other's business. His 18-year-old niece already had two children when she became pregnant again. She hid it from everyone. When she was eight months gone, she came to me and told me she wanted to adopt the baby out to a family who couldn't have children, because she couldn't handle raising another child.
She begged me not to tell anyone except my husband (her uncle) and asked me to watch her two children overnight while she was at the hospital delivering. She also asked to meet the potential adoptive parents at my home and said she planned to have an open adoption without ever telling her parents. I told her she needed to talk with her mother, but she told me she was desperate for help, so I reluctantly agreed.
Two months after giving birth and placing the baby for adoption, she told her family about it. They became very upset with me. They said I should have told them she was pregnant and that it was my fault they "lost" the child. This ultimately led to my husband divorcing me. To this day, the niece is happy with her decision and participates in the open adoption. Was I wrong to help her and not tell the family? — CONFIDANT IN COLORADO
DEAR CONFIDANT: Your letter proves the truth of the adage, "No good deed goes unpunished." Your ex-husband's niece was an adult at the time her third child was born. You were NOT wrong to help her. That she would betray you after begging for your help shows she wasn't mature enough to handle the responsibilities of parenting yet another child.
You were not responsible for her baby being adopted — she was. Her parents have transferred their anger and disappointment in her to you. That it resulted in the failure of your marriage is a shame. I would offer my sympathy, but perhaps you should thank your lucky stars that this dysfunctional family is in the rear-view mirror.
DEAR ABBY: My neighbors and I are lucky to live in a beautiful community, which is quiet and peaceful. Most of us are retired. Four of us have dogs, and we enjoy meeting up and walking them down our street in the mornings. We never walk before 7:30. Quiet hours in our neighborhood are from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Naturally, we chat as we walk our dogs — at normal voice levels. One of our neighbors likes to sleep until 9 a.m., and he keeps complaining that our conservations wake him up. We try to talk softly. But he complains constantly — and nastily — about "the dog walkers." How can we handle this tactfully? We feel we have the right to enjoy our beautiful neighborhood. — CO-EXISTING IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR CO-EXISTING: Of course you do. However, in the spirit of neighborliness, consider walking your dogs in the opposite direction. Either that, or stop chatting when you are near his house and resume once you have passed his bedroom window.
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