Dear Annie: I'm not writing in about any problem you can solve. This letter is about a much bigger problem — namely, the state of the world today. It's impossible to turn on the news without getting depressed, whether because of natural disasters or the bitter state of politics in our country. Addiction to alcohol, opioids and other drugs is rampant, and everyone is addicted to smartphones. No one can civilly disagree anymore. People are ruder than ever. And from the way things are going, it seems everything will just continue to get worse. It makes me glad I decided not to have children.
It seems as if the end of the world is imminent, and at this point, I'd welcome it. When did things start going so wrong? How is anyone supposed to care about anything these days? — Realist, Not Pessimist
Dear Realist, Not Pessimist: What's the use in scrutinizing the world's problems if you have no intention of being part of the solutions? That attitude contributes nothing but stomach ulcers.
Volunteer with an organization you believe in; organize neighborhood cleanups. If you're down in the dumps, try therapy. Even if you're not down in the dumps, try therapy. Go out and be the change you want to see in the world, or at least change the way you see the world. You can weed your garden by digging up every plant you don't want or by looking at the dandelions differently.
Dear Annie: I have been meaning to send you a follow-up note about a situation you helped me with a little over a year ago.
I initially wrote to you about my family's gift-giving tradition during the holidays and how it was, well, basically sending me to the poorhouse because of new additions to the family, such as new babies and significant others.
Your advice was spot on. You suggested that I speak with my siblings, as you had a feeling that I was not the only one affected by our growing family.
I was prepared to speak with my family at our next family gathering, and I was pleasantly surprised. Two of my sisters had had a conversation about this very thing and approached us all with a new gift-giving plan that worked out well for our entire family. So you were right. I was not the only one feeling the pinch.
I am happy to report that we have incorporated the new plan and, as a result, none of us is spending as much money as before. After all, the holidays should be for the gathering of family and being grateful for one another. We have been able to get back to that, and I wanted to thank you for your help. — Not Broke Anymore
Dear Not Broke Anymore: I am so glad to hear that the situation solved itself and that you indeed were not the only one thinking it was time for a change.
"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]