Dear Annie: I have a full-time job, and I love it. However, I'm never happier than when I'm traveling. How do I make peace with the fact that I probably can't travel more than twice a year now that I work a 9-to-5? Is there some way I could travel more than that? My job is really important to me, but I don't want to stifle my biggest passion. — Wanderlust While Working
Dear Wanderlust While Working: It can seem like a mean paradox. When you have the time to travel, you don't have the money; when you have the money to travel, you don't have the time.
Really, though, there are plenty of ways to scratch your itch to travel while still working full time. Look into weekend trips that are driving distance from your town. Often, there are more amazing things than we realize just beyond our backyards. Plan ahead to maximize use of long weekends, and consider using vacation days to extend them. If you have been at your job for a while and feel that your boss knows you and your work ethic well, it's worth having a conversation with him or her about the possibility of sometimes working remotely (assuming that's doable with your type of work).
If you're offered a new job down the line, bring up vacation days during the salary negotiation. Sometimes companies will offer more paid time off in lieu of higher pay. The worst your boss can say is no. Whatever you do, don't lose that sense of adventure. It's good for the spirit.
Dear Annie: I am late coming to the conversation, but I came across your columns with the survey about whether people would have children if they had it to do over again. My husband and I have been married for 50 years, and we chose not to have children for a variety of reasons. I have often been asked when meeting someone new, "Do you have children?" I answer, "No, my husband and I chose not to have any. Tell me about yours." And then the conversation happily turns to the pleasure of their kids.
I phrase my comment so that no one is left wondering whether we tried and couldn't have them, we had one and something happened or some other situation prevented us from having children. What I have found amazing is the vast number of times someone responds to my comment with something like the following: "I love my children, and I'd be devastated if something happened to one of them. But if I had it all to do over again, I wouldn't have any" or "I'd only have one (or two or three or whatever the case may be)."
I am the fourth of five children, and I suggested once to my mother that given the economic times, the work, the time constraints and the other difficulties five children bring, it might have been better if she had stopped with only three. A confused, amazed and questioning look came over her face, and she said, "But what would I have done without you?" I guess I was lucky. — No Kids, Thanks
Dear No Kids: Your way of responding when people ask whether you have children is stellar — a graceful way of directing the conversation. Plus, asking others more about themselves is a sure way to be an artful conversationalist in general.
Based on the results of the survey I conducted earlier this year, the majority of parents feel the way your mom did. It was sweet to read their joyous letters.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]