Dear Abby: Successful in work and marriage, yet feels unfulfilled

SHARE Dear Abby: Successful in work and marriage, yet feels unfulfilled

DEAR ABBY: I’m 45, employed and earning plenty of money. I’m in a great relationship, my kids and grandkids are healthy and happy, and my parents are alive and well. I enjoy the small things in life, fishing, reading, the beach, mini vacations, bowling, etc. I raise funds to feed the homeless.

So what’s my problem, you ask? Abby, I’m not really sure what my purpose is in life or if the way my life is, is normal. I feel content — even happy at times — but I’m troubled because it seems a lot of people do the exact opposite of what I am doing and they all have a purpose. Some of them are going to school, raising kids, having relationship problems, money issues, etc. They seem to be doing so much, and I feel like I’m doing so little.

What is normal for my age? Should I be doing more? Most times I feel happy, but on a day like today I feel unfulfilled. Do I need to do more? — WHAT IS NORMAL?

DEAR WHAT: Doing so little? Count your blessings! You hold a job, have a family I presume you regularly interact with, have a great relationship, hobbies you enjoy and contribute to those who have less than you.

I would say you are productive and successful. However, if YOU think you need to do more, then it’s possible you do. Take some time, decide what it is and reallocate your time if you feel you need something more to fulfill you. But please stop measuring yourself by anyone else’s yardstick because people who do that are rarely happy.

DEAR ABBY: I fell in love with “Alex” during my last year of college. We had known each other for 18 months. One month before our wedding, he broke up with me.

He says I was verbally abusive. I admit I had anger issues. I had to plan most of the wedding alone because we were four hours apart. When we argued, he would say one thing and then something different later. He would also tell his mom stuff about me and our relationship that I considered private. After the breakup, I found out he had lied to me about his religion. I had a hard time with the breakup. I tried hard to reconcile or find solutions, but he rejected all of them.

Now he’s blaming me and throwing things in my face. I am heartbroken and depressed. I don’t know if I should be mad at him for the lies and the heartache he has caused me, or mad at myself for messing up. I have lost my confidence and self-esteem. What do I do? — STILL IN LOVE

DEAR STILL IN LOVE: Take off the rose-colored glasses for a moment and consider what the reality of a marriage to Alex would have been like.

You would have had a mama’s boy for a husband, one you couldn’t count on to tell the truth and who blamed you for anything that went wrong. Don’t you realize you dodged a bullet? If things had turned out differently, you’d be writing me as an unhappy wife, probably with children to support.

Let it go, get help for your anger issues and don’t waste more time brooding. There are times it is better that we don’t get the things we wish for, and this may be one of them.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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