Abigail Hope

Football Widow – Dog Abby

Football Widow – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

Back in high school, I fell in love with our high school football team’s quarterback. We got married a few years after graduation. His only dream was to become a professional player, but he was injured during a college game. He has resigned himself to working an office job, which he’s doing very well at. The problem is that he hasn’t gotten over his obsession with football. During the football season, I cease to exist in his world. I am what they call a football widow. I have brought this up with him several times over the years, only to be told that that’s what I should have expected.

He is already starting to talk about the upcoming football season, and I find myself getting on edge already. What am I to do about this? I know it’s his passion, but I feel like I am a nonentity for all those months. What should I do?

Wisconsin Football Widow

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Widow,

Mom says that your husband is a cheesehead. I do not know what that means, but I do like cheese. I would not want my head to be made of cheese, though, so maybe she means it as an insult. Either way, you may not like my answer: your husband is right.

What I mean is that you knew who he was when you married him. Even though you were very young and may have thought that he was going to grow out of things as you got older together, that is not how humans (or dogs) work. I will always love tennis balls, no matter how old I get. I will also always want to go swimming whenever I see water. It is part of who I am, and you cannot separate these parts out just because you do not like them. You could separate me from water, but it would only make me sad. You can wish people to change, but you cannot do the changing for them, and you cannot make them do any changes for you. Not changes that will make them happy, anyway. Plus, if you are nagging someone to do or not do something that only YOU want, why would they want to spend more time with you? You sound unpleasant.

That being said, there are many things that you can do for yourself and a couple of suggestions for him to consider, too.

First of all, why did he leave football? If he had both a love and talent for it, then he should be sharing that with anyone he can. He could coach for his old high school or college. He could coach for younger kids, or he could even write books. This would make him happier and then he would not have to live vicariously through the other professional players. He would actually be a professional footballer, just not the kind he sits and watches all season — he would be out doing, which is better! I would much rather sit in a puddle myself than watch other dogs swim on a TV show.

If he is happier doing what he really wants to do, you will be happier, too. He may still be obsessed with football, like I am with tennis balls, but he will actually be doing something about it, instead of just staring at something he is not doing.

My first suggestion for you is what I saw mom do with our friend Lexy. Lexy’s husband was into watching all sports — baseball, football, even soccer — so he was really boring for many months out of the year. Instead of getting upset, Lexy got involved with the one sport she liked (baseball), and they would go to games together, either at the stadium, at other people’s houses, or at bars. They would enjoy the game and have fun together. For the other sports, Lexy would have her own parties with the other sports widows. They would drink wine, go out to play pool, paint, have barbeques, or play other games together. Even though it was just mom and me for a while, we would go to these parties and boy were they fun! The guys who were watching the sports would get jealous and join us instead.

While I love swimming and tennis balls, mom and dad like totally different things, too. OK, mom DOES love to go swimming with me, but not all of the time. There are times that mom is writing or doing art or something else, so I go swimming without her. There are times that dad is acting or reading, so mom and I go swimming without him. There are times when both mom and dad are busy, so I go swimming alone or play with my kitties. We are each happy doing our own thing. Sometimes we all go on walks together. Then, we are all happy doing things together.

What is your thing? If you do not have a thing, boy, you better find out! I suggest looking for something that you are good at and enjoy and can do during football season. Then you will not be just a wife or a football widow, you will be a full person.

With love,

Abby

Laws and Chances – Dog Abby

Laws and Chances – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

For ten years I worked for a good company. I was treated and compensated well, but it wasn’t in the field of my choice. I was recently offered a job in my chosen field at another company, and took it immediately. It was a dream job. Well, at least it seemed that way. As soon as I finished training, though, I was introduced to the owner who was, to put it mildly, a jerk. He made insults about me, disguised as jokes. These included jokes about my race and gender (I am a black woman, by the way). Not wanting to make waves right off the bat, I tried to simply let it go. But it has continued, to the point where I am ready to yell at him to stop.

I am not someone with a chip on my shoulder about being black or female, but I am starting to regret ever leaving my former employer. They never treated me like this! I know they would take me back in a heartbeat, but they don’t offer the kind of work this new employer does. What do I do?

Conflicted in Connecticut

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Conflicted,

I am not a big fan of Chihuahuas, but I would never invite one into my home and then feel it is OK to insult her! I say this about Chihuahuas because most have been mean to me, not because I am a breadist. I know, it is almost the same thing, but I am still willing to give each one a chance, which is good, because I now have two friends (Faux and Fauna) who are the most amazing Chihuahuas in the world! I do not understand why humans, who share many of the same breed traits, will be mean to each other in big groups just because of the color of their fur. I mean skin.

You said that you are to the point of being ready to yell at him to stop. Do you think that maybe you would be the first to do so? If no one has before, maybe he is just not a very smart man and does not think that he is being a jerk. I remember one time I was playing with my cat, Max, and he got really rough. He bit my ears and I did not like it one bit! I am normally very gentle with my kitties, but this time I let Max know in no uncertain terms how I felt about what he had done. He said he was sorry and did not know that he had been so rough. He never did it again, and we are still best friends. Maybe your boss is trying to be inclusive and does not realize that he is being too rough.

Mom says that people have actual laws to protect each other. She says that she is sad that these laws even have to exist, but in your case, your boss is clearly breaking them. Just like I let each Chihuahua have a chance first, I think you may need to offer your boss a chance first, and see if he takes it. If he does not, then it is time to protect yourself and everyone else who may work for him by letting him know about these laws.

One of two things will happen. The first option is that you will tell him — kindly, gently, and in a confidence — that he is being inappropriate and needs to reign it in, and he does (he may even apologize). You have then done him, you, and his future employees a great service. The second option is that you tell him — kindly, gently, and in confidence — that he is being inappropriate and needs to reign it in, and he does not. If he does not, then begin looking for another job immediately and report him to the people who know more about the laws. You will be doing him, you, and the rest of the company a great service.

With love,
Abby

Teenage Time vs. Dog Time – Dog Abby

by Abigail Hope 0 Comments
Teenage Time vs. Dog Time – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

I recently met a great single woman at a church retreat. She’s intelligent, funny, and (yes) very good looking. We’ve gone out on a few dates, and I can tell she’s just as smitten with me as I am with her. The problem? She is the mother of two teenage boys. I haven’t met them yet, because she is looking for the right opportunity for us to meet. Their father, who by all indications is a good guy, is still very involved in their lives.

Abby, I never had kids of my own, and I’m not sure how we are going to get along. I’m also not sure how much of a father figure I can (or should) be to them, at least early on. I want to take it easy and let things progress naturally, but I am really nervous about this. I don’t want my nervousness to interfere with what may be a great thing. Do you have any advice?

Trembling in Trenton

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Trembling,

When I asked mom what a teenager was, she said that in people-years, I was not yet a teenager, but in dog-years, I am an old lady. Humans seem to live slower than dogs, yet they are always complaining about how long something takes, which is sad, since they have so much more time to enjoy the process than we dogs do. I remember when I was a puppy, mom complained that it took forever for my tail to grow out (I only had short peach fuzz on it) and how long it took for me to learn to go outside to potty. In my world, I just woke up one day with long plumes on my tail and the desire to use the doggy door. It went by so quickly, I did not remember it being any other way. Maybe puppies live faster than grown dogs, too. I bet it is the same for kids and grown-up people.

You said that your new lady friend had teenagers, and this is great. It means that the kids are almost grown up and will not really need you to be a second dad. It sounds like they already have a good dad, and this is great, too! So, not only do you have all the time you need to take it slow, but you will find that the time goes by so quickly, everything will change almost overnight.

While I sometimes get impatient waiting for mom to finish her work so that we can go to the park, I know that the more patient I am and the less I bother her, the longer our walks will be. Sometimes mom will need my help for a photo shoot or to write a part of our books. She comes to me and I do the best I can to do what she asks me to do. If you want to take long walks with this lady, then I suggest that you be patient and give her lots of time. She has a lot to do, with her kids and everything, so help her when she asks for it and do not bug her when she does not ask for your help. You will find that you have more time than you need and not enough time to enjoy it all.

Meanwhile, these teenager boys might be fun to have as friends. Just like with my kitties, if you are kind and patient, and do not try to move too fast, they will warm up to you when they see you are not a threat.

Good luck,
Abby

Cat Max – Bare Arms

Cat Max – Bare Arms

Not to be outdone by his big sister, Max wants to try his paw at answering letters. He did so well last time that we told him no.

 

…so he insisted on chiming in about current events…

 

Enjoy.

 


Greetings and salutations, my friends! For the last few months, I have been hearing Mumsy and Father discussing the constipational right to bare arms. Well, not only do I have 4 bare arms, but my front two paws even have thumbs! So I feel I am eminently qualified to discuss this right.

I must start with a serious question: What on earth would possess a human, a cat, or any other creature to forbid another to use their arms? I need all 4 of mine simply to walk around! And Father would not be able to do his myriad jobs without using both of his arms. Can you imagine writing, acting, or shooting photographs with only one arm? And how could Mumsy gesticulate in her inimitable fashion when speaking or teaching without the full use of her arms, let alone write her wonderful books? The tyranny of those who would stop my beloved parents from using both of their arms to bring home the kibble is an assault on all of the values we hold dear.

I simply cannot fathom the mentality of someone who would limit the full movement of another’s body parts, especially their arms. After all, how would I be able to cover my messes after relieving myself without the use of my…

…Mumsy just informed me that I may perhaps have misunderstood the Second Amendment. Carry on.

Sin City and Yak Blepping – Dog Abby

by Abigail Hope 0 Comments
Sin City and Yak Blepping – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

A week ago, my wife went on a trip to Las Vegas with a few of her friends. Things were a little tight for us financially, but I wanted her to have a good time. So in addition to working out the costs for food and lodging, we worked out what I thought was a reasonable gambling budget for the five days she would be spending there. But when she got there, under the influence of her friends (and, I presume, alcohol), she not only blew through her gambling allowance in a just a few hours, but she maxed out one of our credit cards in cash advances to continue feeding the machines! This credit card was intended for emergencies only! I only found out about this when I got an alert from our bank. It took hours for her to answer her phone, and when I finally reached her and confronted her about her spending, she got defensive and said I was ruining her vacation. I shot back that she was ruining our finances. She hung up on me before we could finish the conversation. She gave me a feeble apology when she got home, but I was not in a forgiving mood, and I loudly told her so. We have hardly said a word to each other since.

Abby, I am angry as can be, but more importantly, hurt that she would disrespect me and break my trust so quickly and completely. It’s going to take at least two or three months to “right the ship” with our bills. The woman I married is just not this inconsiderate and irresponsible. Did I do something wrong? Or am I justified in having these feelings?

Seething in Seattle

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Seething,

We love living here in Las Vegas. There is a lot to do and people come to visit from all over. Dad has told me stories about how Las Vegas has changed over the years, but he says that there is one thing that never changed, and that is the nick-name, “Sin City.” Dogs do not understand sin, but dad says this means that people can drink, eat, and gamble 24 hours a day here and they are not allowed to at home. For most people, this is not a big deal. For others, though, it can be a huge problem. Mom says that there are some people who have what she calls addictive personalities. She says it means that some people get so excited at the possibility of “winning big” that they spend more money than they should. Winning, for some people, is very similar to drugs or drinking, or eating too much, so you can see how some people should not be surrounded by all three.

This reminds me of my cat, Max. He is really smart and my best friend. He goes on walks with me, plays with me, and he talks. A lot. Mom and dad say that he is a very good kitty. I think so too. But, there is something I have seen Max do over and over that is not a good kitty. He will eat too much, too fast. When mom or dad gives him a scoop of wet cat food, he will plow into it and then do what mom calls the, “Yak/Blep” all over the carpet. Even though he does not like doing the Yak/Blep, he still wants to eat some more right afterwards! Mom and dad always tell him no. Since Max is not very good at controlling himself, mom and dad have learned to only give Max a teeny, tiny bit at a time — enough to make him happy, but not enough to make him sick. They do not mention this to Max so that he does not get embarrassed. This may be what your wife needs.

In your letter, you did not mention if your wife had ever been Sin City before. Maybe it overwhelmed her, like if someone put out an entire can of wet food for Max. She may have liked it so much that she could not stop. It could be that she is one of the personalities mom was talking about, or it could be that she just lost control this one time. I believe that she is feeling ashamed for what she did, but when people (or cats) are confronted, they will sometimes lash out. You wrote that you called her while she was in the middle of her vacation. Can you imagine what would happen if you tried to take a meal away from a tiger while he was eating it? Max thinks he is a tiger, and he acts just like you would expect a tiger to when it comes to food. I think your wife did the same thing. She did a Yak/Blep of her budget, and then came back for the credit card. It would have been easier to quietly cancel the card and then talk to her when she returned, not when she was in the middle of it and could not stop. She dug her claws in like any tiger would do.

In your letter, you sounded surprised by your wife’s actions, and this is a good thing. This means that what happened was out of character and most likely will not happen again. Be honest with her and voice your concerns without being mean or accusative. Then, LISTEN CAREFULLY to what she has to say, and do not interrupt her. Max has a tendency to interrupt people, but mom says that is a cat thing, so people can do better. Your wife will need to get everything out, so let her. Then, and only then, will you be able to work things out. If this is a problem that she knows she has, then she should not do it anymore, or, she should only be allowed a teeny, tiny bit at a time so that she does not Yak/Blep again.

With love,

Abby

Abby at the Downtown Las Vegas sign

Party time and kennels – Dog Abby

Party time and kennels – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

My husband and I recently went on a much-needed vacation. We left our only son, a fifteen-year-old, in charge of the house. We thought it would give him an opportunity to exercise some responsibility and show his trustworthiness. We should have known better.

Only two days in, we got a phone call from our neighbor. He said that my son was throwing a house party, and he threatened to call the police because his friends were being loud and unruly. We apologized and said we would handle it. We ourselves called the police. They broke up the party.

Abby, our boy doesn’t know that we know about this. We want to give him a chance to come clean. Is this the right thing to do, or should we simply confront him when we get home in a few days?

Angry in Amsterdam

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Rightfully Angry Mom,

My mom says that dogs have an overdeveloped sense of guilt, and we will feel bad about something even if we did not do it. This is true. All she has to do is use “disappointed mommy voice” and I am feeling sad and guilty right away — even if I do not know why! Mom also says that some people are just the opposite, and they never feel guilty no matter how wrong they are. She says that sometimes people have to be taught why something they did was wrong by showing them who they hurt and how. Then, once they understand why what they did was wrong, they have to go to those people they hurt and make it right any way that they can.

This is the first step. Be honest with your son and let him know how disappointed you are in him and why. Use that disappointed mommy voice, and do not yell, or he will just yell back. Let your son know that he hurt you and his dad (by being distrustful), that he hurt the neighbors (by being loud enough to have the cops called), and he hurt himself (by destroying his own reputation). He may have even hurt his friends, as I bet several of them got into trouble with their parents, too.

What do you do going forward?

As I have gotten older, I have been getting more and more scared of loud noises. Our neighbors are very mean and like to set off fireworks all year round. Sometimes, when I am home alone, it scares me so much that I run to mom and dad’s bedroom and tear up their bed. Mom and dad have called the cops on the neighbors and spoken to them several times. The neighbors are just too mean and will not stop. So, after the third time that mom came home to shredded sheets and a beat-up blanket, she decided that I will no longer be allowed in the bedroom when I am left home alone. Now, mom and dad lock that door before they go anywhere without me.

Your son may have the opposite reaction to what I am facing — he may be LESS likely to tear up the house as he grows older and he becomes more responsible and aware of how his actions affect others. Until then, do not let him have access to the areas that he has proven he cannot be trusted with alone. I do not know if they have people kennels, but I would look into it for your next trip.

With love,
Abby

Your five closest friends – Dog Abby

by Abigail Hope 0 Comments
Your five closest friends – Dog Abby

Dog Abby:

I recently ran into a high school friend of mine. We had lunch together and got caught up. After high school, I had left town, gone to college, and became a long-time officer in the Army. I then got married and started a business. Abby, my friend never left town, works as a clerk at a local store, and hasn’t done much with his life. He wants us to keep in touch, but I don’t really feel like we would have much to talk about. Am I being overly judgmental here, or is this friendship okay to let go?

Cornered in Conyers

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Cornered,

Mom and dad often talk about the friends they left behind in Seattle when we moved to Vegas. I left many friends, too. When we moved, mom and dad made lots more friends, and so did I! There is always more room in your life for more friends, and things like texting, phone calls, and Facebook make it easy to catch up and stay current.

Mom talked to me about one friend she had made all the way back in Junior High School. I remember her because we did lots of walkies together and often doggy sat for her. Her doggy has crossed the rainbow bridge, and she was one of my best friends, and I miss her. Mom and her friend do not really talk anymore, not because we moved or they are mad at each other, but because their lives and their attitudes are very different. This is OK. People grow and change and often will grow apart.

More to your point, dad said to quote a man named Jim Rohn who said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This applies to income, attitude, and success. Mom says that her friend is sad a lot because she makes very bad choices. She does not live in her own home and she does not have a career at all. Her friend gets mad toward and jealous of those who choose differently. Mom says that she still loves her friend, but it is not healthy for her to be close anymore. Her friend has not made any effort to stay in touch, so mom just let her go. She still thinks of her fondly and prays for her and her family, but she knows that it would not be healthy to be around her.

I am a dog, so I am lucky that my five closest friends are my mom and dad, my two kitties, and anyone who is as happy to see me as I am to see them. Because I am the sum of my five closest friends, I am happy almost all of the time.

If your friend makes you happy, that is great. If your friend makes you sad, then he is not much of a friend at all. If your friend is reaching out to you as a mentor or a role model, this is really, really cool. Maybe he knows about the five closest people thing, and he looks up to you. You can help lift him up. If he just considers you a friend because you lived in the same town or went to the same school, well, that is not enough. He will recognize it and will probably back away, too.

People are not really that much more complicated than dogs. If you look around at the people you spend the most time with, and you realize that they are not good for you, then you are not even as smart as a dog. We dogs look around, and while we do not always have a choice as to where we live and who we live with (like humans do) we know who makes us happy and fulfilled. Whether it is drive, intelligence, fun, patience, or a common goal, friends that walk the same path are very important. You can always wave at friends that are walking different paths, but you do not have to jump to their path.

You are never too old – Dog Abby

You are never too old – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

I recently turned 50 and I’m starting to feel like my life is over. My husband passed away last year, I’ve been on my own, and it’s given me more time to reflect. Is there life after 50?

Signed,

Old in Omaha

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Puppy,

I just turned 11 human years on St. Patrick’s Day. Mom calls me an old lady. She says that I am 67 in “dog years,” but I still swim, fetch, and feel like a puppy myself. Dad says that he married mom when he was almost 50, so you are just getting started!

Mom told me a story about her grandma. She decided that, even though women did not typically get advanced degrees in her days, she wanted to get her Masters. So, when she was approaching 60 and already had a long career as a school music teacher, she finished her Masters. Why? Because she wanted to, and it made her happy. She also inspired a lot of younger women to do it, too. What makes you happy? How can you inspire others to be happy, too?

Mom tells a story in her book, Get Over It & Get Started, about how she had dreams but she felt she was not worthy. She had not given up, though, so even in her darkest hour, she still held on to those dreams. Instead of giving up, she worked her tail off. (It’s true — mom literally does not have a tail!) She has since published several books and travelled all over the world because of her speeches. Mom said to tell you that she is almost 50, too, and she did not even start college until she was 36.

I am so sorry about your husband, I understand how it is really hard to go on when someone you love goes away forever. I remember a couple of years ago when my kitty, Jr. Barnes, got sick and did not come home again. We all missed him very much. We still have pictures of him and talk about him a lot. We can never replace him, and we do not want to. It took a while, but now we use his memory as a way of feeling good, not bad.

My first dad disappeared after mom got hurt and we moved. I never saw him again, and it made me sad, but my dad, Jim, has been around much longer and he loves me as if he had been there all along. He sings me songs and takes me on car rides and gives me lots of treats. I am glad that both mom and I gave him a chance, because he has been awesome. We never would have met him at all if mom had not picked herself up and given other people a chance.

I have a book named, “Nose-to-Nose Networking.” Well, mom wrote it, but it has lots of pictures of me and stories about me. One of the things she talks about in her speeches and workshops is how to make friends and build networks. Mom has a lot of friends through Toastmasters and her improv group. Dad made a lot of friends through theater and the Eagles club. I make friends at the park by talking to anyone I meet and sometimes sharing my tennis balls with them. Maybe you just need to get out and play fetch once in while!

As a real old lady, I can tell you that there is a lot of life left for you! Each day, enjoy a swim in cold water, a roll in warm grass, and the people who love you. Go out and explore new places, and make sure you do what you love as much as you can.

With warmth,

Abby

To manage or not – Dog Abby

To manage or not – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

I have been employed with the same company for over 5 years, and about a year ago I was promoted to the position of accounts manager. The company was recently bought out by a larger company. The new ownership’s philosophy and business practices are a reversal of many of the original company’s approaches, which I had always cherished. I am not alone in feeling this. Morale here is at an all-time low, and I don’t see it getting better soon.

Although I love my coworkers and the type of work I do, I decided to give my notice on Friday. (I have managed my money well, and I have enough money saved up to pay my bills for at least 6 months.) Just as I was about to do so, I was called into the office and was offered a promotion with a substantial raise. I was shocked, and told them I needed to think about it. They were surprised that I didn’t say yes immediately, but told me that I could let them know on Monday.

Abby, it’s now Sunday night, and I am still torn. This new position would grant me prestige and a comfortable income, but I think I would be much happier somewhere else, even if I wasn’t making as much money. I also have a spouse and a six-year-old child at home, so my decision will affect them as well. What do I tell them in the morning?

Merged Out in Memphis

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Merged,

We dogs live by a simple code: be happy! Unlike our human friends, we never force ourselves to be sad. We just do not know how, and I do not think I would like to learn. My heart feels happy most of the time, and mom says that is why I am living a long life. I turn 11 next week, so she must be right. I hear that is really old for a Golden Retriever.

The other day, dad talked to mom and me about the job he recently left. He was a manager there, and he liked it for a while, but then he realized that his employer’s main client was “immoral” and “capricious.” I gave my dad my best question eyebrows because I did not know what those words meant. He told me it meant that they did bad things and kept changing their minds about how they wanted things done. Dad said a lot of his coworkers had quit because they no longer felt good about the job and did not want to do it anymore. Many others had been fired for no good reason, so everybody was scared. After realizing that he could not do good in his manager job, dad stopped being a manager there and then began looking for a better job. He felt good when he could finally quit. He now has a job he likes, run by good people, and he plans to stay there for a long time.

Mom and dad say it is important to be happy, but it is also important to be responsible. It is good that you have money saved up in case of an emergency. It is also good that you are thinking about your family. Mom says that often grownups have to do things they do not like to do very much so that they can help those they love. She also says that it is always worth it.

You did not say what you actually do at your job, but you did say you liked the work. Mom said to consider the idea that becoming a manager would put you in a position where you could change the company from the inside and make it a better place, more like it was, or maybe even better.

When dad was offered his new job, he had to wait two whole months until they were ready for him to start. He continued to work at his old job to make sure he was doing his part to take care of us. Mom told him that it was OK to be unhappy as long as he was doing something about it. She says that to people all of the time, and even put it in her book, “Get Over It & Get Started.” So that is what dad did, he looked for something better while he did a good job at his old job.

Take the job and the raise. See what you can do to help others and yourself. If you still hate it, look for another job WHILE you are working at your new job. This way, you are moving forward, not sideways or backward. This will also let you hold onto the money you saved in case of a real emergency. You can even add to it with the higher amount of money you will be making.

Mom added one more thing, she said that it is always easier to get a new job when you already have a job.

Love,
Abby

College Woes – Dog Abby

College Woes – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

When I was younger, I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps and become an engineer. My parents happily saved up to put me through school. But now that I am two years into university, I have discovered that I really have a passion and an aptitude for writing, and want to pursue that avenue instead. When I told my father that I was planning to change majors, he got upset with me. He implied that I had deceived him and my mom just to get into college on their dime. Abby, I had no such intentions, and I am very hurt. I know I would be a decent engineer, and would probably make more money doing so. Should I abandon my plans, and stick to engineering?

 

Concerned in College

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Concerned,

 

Today mom and dad took me to my favorite park in Las Vegas. It has a large lake with ducks and geese, lots of walking trails, and lots of grass for rolling around in. Mom and dad usually let me go without a leash because I normally behave around other dogs and people. But it had been a long time since I had been to this park, so I got really excited and did not listen when dad called me. He put me on the leash, and most of the rest of our time at the park, I had to stay on the leash. Dad did not stay mad for very long, though. When we got back in the car, he called me a good doggie and I still got a treat when we got home.

Just like my dad being upset, it is possible that your dad will only be angry for a while. After all, most moms and dads want their children to be happy.

My mom and dad both say that successful people are the ones who are the most passionate about what they are doing. It looks like you are not so passionate about engineering. You said you knew you would be a decent engineer, but that does not mean you would be happy doing it. If your true passion is for writing, then you should pursue it — with the understanding that passion is not all that you need. As much as I would like to be a Frisbee dog, I am bad at catching things in the air. I can be passionate about it, but I also need to be talented at it. Whether you are an engineer or a writer, you will need the talent on top of the drive and passion to succeed.

Here is a third way to consider. If you truly believe that you would make a decent engineer, you can finish your engineering education and then continue to take writing courses while you are working in your new field. You may even find that your niche is writing about engineering. Many successful writers have worked other jobs while doing what dad calls “moonlighting,” or writing as a second job when not at their main job. That is what mom did after she got a degree in accounting. It turns out that mom was good at accounting, but really hated it. She was also good at writing, but her parents discouraged her from pursuing it when she was younger, much like your parents are doing to you. Mom thinks it is funny that she has now made more money writing and speaking than she ever did as an accountant. Grandma even ended up being proud of her, which was cool.

You can always find a way to pay your parents back the money if that is really important to them. No matter what, in the end, you need to do what makes you feel most secure and happy. Talk to your mom and dad and be respectful and loving. They will do the same for you.

 

With love,

Abby