Dear Annie: I’m writing to you about something that I’m not sure is a problem. Really, I think it’s just a habit. But my husband told me I should ask you for your thoughts on this. Every night when I get home from work, I have two glasses of red wine. I drink one with dinner and one while I watch TV or read a book. I never feel drunk, just slightly more carefree. It helps me wind down so I can fall asleep at night, something I’ve had trouble with all my life.
If I am driving home and know we are almost out of wine, I’ll stop at the store and get some. I can tell that my husband is a little worried I’m being unhealthy, but there seem to be reports coming out all the time saying that red wine is good for you.
Is this something I should worry about? I definitely am not an alcoholic, but I do drink every day.
— Wine-ding Down
Dear Wine-ding Down: Conflicting reports abound about the healthfulness of moderate alcohol consumption. Though the science might not be settled on that issue, one thing is for certain: You don’t need to be physically addicted to something to be mentally reliant on it. And that seems to be the case with you and your two nightly drinks. Though you might not be an alcoholic, if your relationship with alcohol is causing unease in your husband and you, it’s time to take a break.
Replace drinking with another de-stressing ritual, such as a bath, meditation, yoga or an evening stroll. And try other methods for helping to fall asleep at night, such as breathing exercises or herbal sleep aids. These will actually leave you feeling more rested the next day, as alcohol intake is associated with decreased quality of sleep.
Dear Annie: “Really Not Conceited,” a highly educated 48-year-old homemaker and mother of two, asked you whether she’s wasting her talents. Raising children is important, but when they are grown, she should do something for herself.
Case in point: I always loved dancing and would have liked to have been a dancer, but there weren’t many jobs of that type available in the Midwest in the 1950s. So I held a few general jobs, got married and raised two children. After my children were grown, my husband and I became involved in square dancing, which led to ballroom dancing and line dancing. I took more lessons and became a dance instructor in ballroom dancing, round dancing and line dancing. My husband, who had always been interested in music, became a square dance caller.
We spent 25 years in our new avocation. After retiring from our day jobs, we were involved in dancing full time. Maybe making people happy wasn’t a big contribution to the world, but we had a wonderful time, and so did most of our dancers.
We retired three years ago and no longer teach or dance, but “Really Not Conceited” should do something she wants to do. No matter what it is, she will be glad she moved on.
— Dancing Grandma
Dear Dancing Grandma: Beautifully said. Making people happy is indeed a big contribution to the world. Thank you for following your bliss and making more joy for others.
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