Hop off the hamster wheel
Dear Annie: I guess my question is more just about the state of my life. I went to great schools, played college sports, got married to a wonderful woman, and we have four terrific children. We live in a nice house.
Despite these outward appearances of success, I don’t feel satisfied. It is as if I work and work, get the house and then want a bigger or new house. No matter what happens, it’s never enough.
I finally get that promotion and make a lot more money, and within a year I am complaining that my income is too low. I treat myself and buy a new sports car. It feels good for the moment, and then I am onto the next yearning. It is this feeling of never enough.
I started seeing a therapist, and I told her that I feel like a hamster running and running on a wheel. I am trying to get to a state of peace, and yet all I do is run around and around, never getting anywhere. — Never Enough
Dear Never Enough: Thank you for writing to me. Most people in your situation continue running and running until they finally collapse. The truth is that you have the power to get off the hamster wheel. All you have to do is change your perspective. Instead of focusing on the next thing, focus on appreciating the here and now, starting with your wife and children.
Why were you attracted to your wife? What makes her special? Remember when each child was born — how you held them and loved them? Don’t let go of those feelings.
I am encouraged that you are seeing a therapist. The more you can dissect what is causing you so much pain, the more you will appreciate the great things in your life — starting with yourself. You have achieved a great deal, and you are becoming aware of how your self-criticism isn’t getting you anywhere. By continuing to go to therapy, and continuing to share your struggles, is only a matter of time before you appreciate the life you have created, and that those appreciative thoughts about your beautiful life become louder than the yearning thoughts.
Dear Annie: I have a problem with my sister. We are both in are 60s and lost our younger brother to cancer several years ago. I was divorced then.
My sister set me up with her best friend, who had been divorced for several years. We ended up getting married and are very happy.
The problem is that my sister and my wife used to talk on a daily basis for hours. She would also talk to me once a week. But she no longer talks to me or my wife. I’ve texted, and I’ve called and left messages for her.
We have gone over to visit her, as she lives less than a mile away.
I love my sister and miss out on how close we used to be, and my wife is heartbroken. Help me get my sister back. — Broken Brother
Dear Broken Brother: Let’s take your broken wing and repair it. The best way to do that is to tell your sister exactly what you told me — that you and your wife miss her.
Maybe she is feeling a little left out, so continue to include her in things. Also, encourage your wife to continue her friendship with your sister independently of you. She sounds like a kind sister who may be feeling a little torn — or jealous. On the one hand, she is happy for you that you found someone you love, but on the other hand, she probably misses her best friend.
(Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com. This column is syndicated by Creators Syndicate columnists. Visit the website at www.creators.com.)