Dear Annie: I have been married to my husband for 15 years. During that time, I have had several retail and grocery store jobs. Currently, I do not work because most retail and grocery store jobs have me working nights and weekends, and when doing that, I hardly ever see my husband, since he works long hours and travels.
When we first met, I owned my own house, had savings and no debt and was working as a waitress. I had the same amount of money going into the marriage as he did. My husband makes good money, and I am really good at budgeting and saving. So our current arrangement works fine for us. My problem is that when I’m introduced to people and they ask what I do, I’m not sure what to say. I can’t say I am a stay-at-home mom because we have no children.
I now try to avoid meeting new people because most of the time it goes badly. Where I live, people are networking all the time so it is common for them to ask where I work within the first few minutes of meeting me. Before, when I told people I worked in retail, some made condescending remarks. My husband’s family has consistently snubbed me because of the retail and waitressing jobs I’ve had and my lack of a college degree. What should I say?
— Unemployed and Uncomfortable
Dear Unemployed: When people ask what you do, tell them what you do — your hobbies and passions — and don’t shy away from sharing your work history. There’s nothing wrong with working in retail. An office job does not make someone a better person: for proof, just look at your in-laws, who, despite all their college degrees, sound pretty darn ignorant.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Regretful Mom,” who says she was a neglectful mother and her adult children cut her out of their lives. Depression is a very serious problem, but can be overcome with self-reflection and a determination that life can be more joyful and happy. Brain chemistry can be changed with a change in diet, exercise, changing thought processes and with the knowledge that God loves you and wants you to be healthy mentally, emotionally and physically.
Forty years ago I suffered from depression because of a failed marriage and an overwhelming feeling that I would never be happy again. Before marriage, I had been happy, so what had changed? I grew up with a strong sense of God’s presence in my life but years of negative emotions and feelings of worthlessness took its toll.
I changed my diet, started taking vitamin B complex for stress, exercised and did yoga regularly, went back to church and surrounded myself with positive people, thoughts and the things I loved and needed. Gradually, I worked my way out of my depression. It won’t happen overnight, but little by little, “Regretful” will become an example of positive behavior for her children, and they may come back around. She needs to get busy making new memories and a great life for herself and her children.
— Blessed and Happy Woman
Dear Blessed: These are all wonderful tips for improving one’s mood and overall health, alongside the counsel of a doctor.
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