By Carolyn Magner
I think I’ve done a good job in my career and family life. I work hard, and when I’m home, I try to give 100 percent to the family. The thing is, when I get home, I feel so disconnected from the daily routine of their life. I’m on the road for two or three weeks at a time. We stay in touch by phone and e-mail, but when I walk in the door, I get hit with every single thing that went wrong while I was gone. It gives me a knot in my gut just to think about it. Is there anything I can do to make the transitions easier?
Reentry is one of the trickiest parts of long-distance family life. Set a routine that includes a “no complaining” rule for the first few hours you are back – and it goes both ways. You can’t whine about the jerk who cut you off! Make the first few hours a time to ease back into family life. If everyone makes this one small change, things will start to improve. Give it a try and let me know.
I’m just say’n.
I’m marrying a guy who was married to a friend of mine for about 12 years. She had it pretty rough. He was a total jerk back in the day. He skipped from job to job and basically never grew up. She divorced him and is now married to a great guy (so don’t worry about her). Anyway, a few years went by, he hit rock bottom, and believe it or not, he changed. He bought a truck, runs his business very efficiently and has made all kinds of progress in every area of his life. We are getting married in a few weeks, and I couldn’t be happier.
I know you always say that people can’t change but they can grow up. Don’t you think? She was first, but I get the benefit of all her hard work!
The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese!
I’m just say’n.
I’m in a downward spiral and can’t seem to stop bad things from happening to me. It all started when my wife left me for a guy she works with. Not long after that, I fell out of my truck and crushed my ankle. Next came a series of accidents, mistakes and complete screwups. I’m still driving, but I don’t know if I’ll ever get back on my feet. Believe it or not, I used to be a pretty optimistic guy until my whole life blew apart. Now, I can barely keep it together. Sometimes I’ll go a whole week without talking to anyone other than my dog, Blue.
Is this how it’s going to be?
Yes. As long as you expect bad things to happen to you, you’ll probably be right. Now, I’m not saying that things aren’t rough right now. You’ve caught some bad breaks, that’s for sure. But starting right now – this very moment – decide to tap into that old optimism you used to enjoy. Think about how you were then. Focus on a few things that make you smile, even if it’s just the sight of Blue looking out the window or running after a squirrel. When you change the channel to something positive, you’ll see how much better that feels. Oh, and when you see the doctor again about the ankle, make sure you tell him what’s going on in your life. He should know.
I’m just say’n.
Carolyn Magner is not a professional therapist, shrink or even a very nice person. Her advice is meant to entertain you, not solve your terrible, desperate problems. Nothing shocks her. If you are really in trouble, please call someone who has gone to school for a long time. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.