Dear Harlan — I’ve been dating my high-school sweetheart for two years now. He’s a year older than me, so last year he was at college two hours away and only came home every once in a while when he could.
It worked out pretty well, and we still love each other a lot. So, this year I’m in college, only at a different one than him, and we’re now three hours apart.
I applied to his college but didn’t get in, so that’s why I’m not there.
But I was thinking — would it be bad if I transferred to his school next year and lived with him in his house, or should I stay at the school I’m at and keep going strong like I’ve been doing? — Loving From a Distance
Dear Loving — You should send that admissions counsellor who rejected you flowers. That person gave you the chance to have a life independent of your boyfriend. Take this gift and use it. Running to your boyfriend and living with your boyfriend would be the opposite of using this gift. Take the next six months and work to create a life for yourself while still loving this guy.
Use this time to create a world where you create friendships, develop interests (other than him) and live life on your own. You can’t do this by running to see him every weekend and having your life revolve around him.
Take this advice and you’ll be a better girlfriend and a much more interesting, attractive and confident woman.
Whether or not you marry this guy, you will always have a life. And that’s the greatest gift you could ever give yourself.
Dear Harlan — I am a 27-year-old man, and I have hit a wall in my life. I’m an intelligent guy with seemingly limitless potential for happiness and success, yet cannot find a career (or hobby) that feels worthwhile. I am a laid-off service technician for an irrigation company. It is a thankless job that has taken a mental and physical toll on me. I have taken a few college courses and enjoy learning, but do not know if it is financially feasible to return to school. I’m sure I have a lot more to offer this world than fixing leaks. Any suggestions? — Hit a Wall
Dear Hit a Wall — Don’t panic. Don’t beat yourself up. Breathe deep. Take a walk.
And take a break. Your passion is there, but you’ve just spent so much time starving your soul that you’ve buried it. Use that intellect and irrigation skills to unearth it. If you’re not working, consider volunteering helping kids learn to read or spend time giving of yourself to those who can benefit from your gifts. Read a book that speaks to you, build something tangible, meditate and surround yourself with people who are living their passions.
Make an appointment with the financial-aid advisers at your local community college, or look into online programs.
Non-traditional students are becoming traditional. Investigate scholarships and grants. Use this time to build equity in yourself and relationships with people who can inspire you.
With some training and new life experiences, you’ll unearth your passion.
You’ve spent so long ignoring yourself that it might take time to grow into the person you’ve always want to become.