DEAR ABBY: Have you any advice for handling nostalgia? While it can be pleasant, lately I have been getting very down when I think about my past. I’m sad that I can never relive those experiences, and I’m wondering what’s wrong with my life now that makes me feel this way.
I’m 25 and have a lot of life ahead of me. Now that I think about it, I have always had the habit of thinking the past is better than the present. Then, a few years later, I end up missing THAT time in my life — even though at the time, I didn’t appreciate it.
How can I start enjoying and appreciating my present and treasure my past, but not let it hold me back? — NOSTALGIC IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR NOSTALGIC: Try this: Each morning, before getting out of bed, take a few minutes to consider the things in your life that you are grateful for and that you enjoy. Picture them one at a time in your mind — whether it’s your parents, your friends, your health or perhaps a recent experience. If you do, this will put you in a positive frame of mind to begin your day.
If you find your thoughts sliding backward into negativity at any point after that, remind yourself to return to reality and stay in the moment or concentrate on something you have to look forward to. It may lift your spirits. However, if this doesn’t help to improve your outlook, then it’s time to consider talking to a licensed mental health professional about it.
DEAR ABBY: Three weeks ago, I invited a friend to attend a dinner party I am throwing. She promised to check her calendar and let me know if she was available. Twelve days went by and, because I had heard nothing, I assumed she wasn’t available and filled the table with someone else.
Now she’s calling to say she IS available, but I already have a full table. What do I do now? — ONE TOO MANY IN NEW YORK
DEAR ONE TOO MANY: It shouldn’t take 12 days to check one’s calendar. Your friend was rude in not letting you know right away. Call your friend and explain that when you didn’t hear from her, you assumed she couldn’t make it, so you invited someone else. And don’t apologize for it, because she owes you an apology.
DEAR ABBY: I have a question I have never seen addressed before. I have a lot of collectible toys stored in my attic that I bought for my stepson more than 30 years ago. Now that he knows they’re worth money — which he doesn’t need — he wants me to return them so he can sell them. Is he entitled to demand them back? — STEPDAD IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR STEPDAD: I think so. When the toys were given to him, they became his property. On the other hand, because they have been in your attic all these years, it seems only fair that you be compensated for the “storage fees.” Whatever is decided, I hope it won’t cause a rift in your family.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)