Q: My son's marriage was falling apart for nearly a decade, and he and his wife finally decided to pull the plug. They agreed that she would get the house, and he moved into an apartment close to my home.
He comes over to visit me several times a week — for dinner and on the weekends. At first, it was nice to see him more often, but now it's frustrating. He's usually negative and talks about his divorce all the time. I want to support him, but his moping is getting on my nerves. I prefer being around positive people.
Is there a way I can encourage him to start moving on with his life?
A: Everyone goes through hard times in their life, and a common solution is to turn to loved ones for support.
While seeking support is a positive thing, it can wear other people out. It's frustrating to see people who don't help themselves and keep on doing the same counterproductive things.
You son's relationship and life were suffering for a long time. His divorce wasn't a sudden event, but instead, it gradually wore him down. He may have learned some very negative coping techniques, which can make it hard to move on.
Many people need a push from the outside in order to get themselves going.
Getting out of his funk will probably take a lot of effort on his part, but you can give him a gentle shove. Be direct and give him a reality check: What he's doing isn't working.
Your son may not realize how he's coming off to other people. Once we get into a rut of negativity and stay there, it's hard to see ourselves objectively.
Encourage your son to get out there and live his life. Having new experiences and meeting new people forces us to get out of our comfort zones and adapt.
Even though you like spending time with him, you need some personal time of your own. — Doug
Q: The air quality in my area has been horrible this week. There have been a series of fires, and you can see the ashes affecting the air; the sun and sky are visibly darker. You can even smell it!
Luckily, the fires aren't so close, and I don't have to worry about my home. That doesn't mean I'm unaffected though, as my lungs and sinuses are having trouble coping with the air.
What can I do to avoid breathing problems?
A: Stay inside as much as you can and wait it out. Older adults and those with health conditions are especially affected by poor-quality air.
Keep your doors and windows firmly shut in order to seal yourself off from the outside air. If you're using your air conditioner or heater, check if it's bringing in air from the outside. You may be able to recirculate the air instead.
It's especially important to avoid strenuous physical activity outside, as you'd be breathing in a lot of particles. Keep your activity level light, and exercise inside for the time being.
To keep an eye on the changing conditions, you can check the EPA's air quality forecast online. Go to http://www.airnow.gov and enter your ZIP code. You can check out their air quality meter and find some suggestions about how to take care of yourself.
As a last resort, you can consider taking a short trip out of town. Stay safe! — Emma, Doug's granddaughter
Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.