By Annie Lane
Dear Annie: I am from Northern California. I went to college back east and worked in New York for three years after school. My wife and I met in Manhattan. About four months after we started dating, I got into a prestigious law school in Northern California, which made the future of the relationship come to the forefront: Fish or cut bait? We stayed together. She moved out to this coast and got a master’s degree, and we slowly built lives together in California. That was eight years ago. Our lives are good. We own a nice home. We have a dog and a kid on the way. However, my wife is not happy. Every few weeks, she gets homesick. Not like slightly melancholy, more like in bed, crying, depressed homesick. She says that she misses her family but also the changing seasons of the East Coast. The monotonous climate that we live in makes her sad. I am a problem-solver. I’ve tried to fix the problem (e.g., nice house, trips to the East Coast, flying out family), but I am at the end of my rope. I am open to moving back, but my career is kind of taking off. Both of our careers are, actually. It would be very difficult to press the reset button. I can’t keep dealing with her and her emotions. I don’t know what else to do. — Geographically Challenged
Dear Geographically Challenged: Though it might seem that your wife gets depressed because she’s homesick, it’s equally possible that she’s homesick because she’s depressed. The debilitating nature of her sadness seems to indicate the latter. I’d encourage her to seek the guidance of a professional therapist to develop habits for a healthy emotional state regardless of her geographical state. After all, wherever you go, there you are.
Dear Annie: Every year, I grow a beautiful vegetable garden. It’s a hobby, as well as therapy, and I enjoy it very much. I generously share my fresh produce with family, friends and many neighbors. However, I have a couple of neighbors who ask repeatedly for veggies (something I would never have the nerve to do!). These “requests” always catch me off guard, so I give in. I feel that it should be my idea when, what, how much and with whom I share my garden bounty. Am I wrong? What can I tell these folks when they come begging? — Mrs. Greenthumb
Dear Mrs. Greenthumb: It seems that these pesky neighbors took your past offers of vegetables as an open invitation. Make a point of closing it. The next time they ask, say that you have no veggies to spare now but that you’ll be sure to let them know if you do in the future.
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