Editor’s note: Annie Lane is off this week. This column was originally published in 2019.
Dear Annie: Without trying to sound arrogant, I am smarter than the average bear. Not quite a genius but certainly up there. I won all kinds of academic awards in school and hold three degrees.
But my problem is this: I am now 48, the mother of two children with special needs. I have spent most of my life being their caregiver (for which I do not blame them at all because they needed help and I’m their mother) and a full-time homemaker. I feel disappointed somehow, as though I wasted my talent. I don’t know how to describe it. I feel as though I was given this talent and I didn’t use it to the fullest.
Do I have a responsibility to use my gifts? Did I let myself and/or others down because I didn’t really? Do I need to set a goal for myself, and if so, what?
— Really Not Conceited
Dear Really Not Conceited: No, you haven’t let anyone down. You’ve raised two kids and made a loving home. So please stop beating yourself up for not having pursued all of your dreams yet. You are only 48 years young. There is still plenty of time. Many famous writers and artists got started after 40 — though this isn’t about chasing after fame. It’s about honoring the part of yourself that wants to shine more light onto the world. I can’t tell you what your specific goal should be, as I don’t know what’s in your heart. But you should make it a priority to carve time out of your day for creativity, by journaling, drawing, taking a class — doing anything that nurtures the part of yourself that you feel heretofore has been underfed. You won’t be satisfied until you do.
Dear Annie: I’d never had trouble with my eyesight until recently. My job involves staring at a computer screen for eight hours a day. That’s a lot of blue light. My distance vision is still great, but my close-up vision is suffering. Would wearing prescription lenses while I work on the computer help? I want to be proactive about this so that I can prevent further loss of eyesight.
— Blindsided by Blue
Dear Blindsided by Blue: You’re wise to be vigilant about your vision. For many of us, good eyesight was one of those things we didn’t know that we had until it was gone. First and foremost, you should see an optometrist. Generally, computer use causes myopia, or nearsightedness, so it’s significant that you’re experiencing farsightedness.
Aside from seeing an eye doctor, here are some tips: When you’re working, be sure to look away from your monitor and at something in the distance for about 20 seconds and blink rapidly. Do this preferably every 10 minutes but at least every 20 minutes. There are web browser plug-ins that will remind you to take these breaks.
Keep your monitor at least 20 inches from your face.
Adjust the monitor brightness so it’s close to the brightness of your surroundings.
Adjust the color temperature of your monitor so that it’s warmer-toned, which will cause less strain.
Continue to pay attention to any changes in your vision. Your peepers are precious.
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