Don't let skewed version of fun mess up a great life
DEAR ANNIE: I'm a junior in high school. I thought everything would happen this year -- the great friends, the boyfriend, etc. On all of the TV shows, the juniors are having boys over, getting drunk, going on dates, having sex and so much more. I know my life isn't a TV show, but I'm no different than last year.
I want a boyfriend. I want to party. I want to have my first kiss. I want to be a teenager. But I feel as distant from my friends as ever. And there is a boy I really like who is sweet, kind, smart and nonjudgmental, but I'm not allowed to date. I know that being a teenager means disobeying my parents, and though that seems like the worst thing I could ever do, I'm slipping.
I don't know what to do. My grades and alcohol and this boy and drugs are all lurking in my mind. I'm tired of being this perfect little angel. I know I'm only 16, but what do I do? -- TROUBLED IN HIGH SCHOOL
DEAR TROUBLED: Don't believe everything you see on TV. Those programs are an enhanced version of what the producers and writers think is exciting to watch. Seeing kids fall apart is interesting, like watching a train wreck. Most high school juniors are not out partying, drinking, having sex and doing drugs. They are going to school, studying and working at part-time jobs. And the smart ones also are listening to their parents because they recognize that they have a future to consider.
Talk to your parents about dating -- most kids are allowed to do so at 16. You also can discuss these issues with your school counselor, favorite teachers and other adults you respect and trust. We totally understand that you hoped your life would suddenly become amazing, but please don't be foolish enough to mess up the good things you have by letting your hormones run away with your common sense.
DEAR ANNIE: I am a 70-year-old widow who parted ways with my first love 50 years ago. Our only contact since then was five years ago, when I mailed some old pictures of him I had discovered. His thank-you note included an invitation to call "them" if I was ever in his area.
I will be traveling to the city where he lives in April. While I am eager to suggest meeting for lunch, I am not sure this would be proper. I believe he is married, but my intentions are only to catch up with someone for whom I once cared greatly. Should I invite him with his wife? Should I simply shelve the entire idea? -- PERPLEXED IN PHOENIX
DEAR PHOENIX: You are over-thinking this. By all means, suggest meeting for lunch, and please include his wife. If you only want to reminisce and catch up, there should be no hint of ulterior motives. You might even make a new friend.
DEAR ANNIE: "Conflicted Adoptee from Kansas" wanted her birth mother to tell her other children that they have a sibling.
I gave up a son 30 years ago. When he was 18, we got together to discuss why I gave him up. I had to tell my girls that they have a half-brother. Although that part went well, answering questions from my son was a lot harder. It opened up all kinds of wounds. I was worried about his opinion of me, but he was so mature. He said, "I know you are not the same person you were back then."
It is difficult to open your heart to someone, even if you feel they have the right to the information. "Conflicted" should let her birth mother know she isn't judging her, and that she respects her wishes about telling her children. Giving up a child was probably the hardest thing she has ever done. -- MOM ON BOTH SIDES
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to an email@example.com, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.