A: You should be amused, glad and looking forward to future discounts. But instead your vanity is rearing its gray-haired head. Heck, be grateful that you’ve even made it to 57. If the senior discount situation is your problem then life is sweet indeed.
Q: I work full-time from home but somehow cannot convince certain family members that it is an actual job. They call me, drop by when they’re “in the neighborhood,” want to have lunch, etc., and seem offended if I can’t fit them into my schedule. I’ve tried the nice, polite approach with them, but it’s not working. How do I assert my boundaries with these people?
A: Don’t answer the phone. Let them leave a message, and return the call during a break or after your work is done. Don’t answer the door either. Protect your work hours from personal intrusions as you would if you were in a corporate cubicle with a boss looming nearby. Let the family know that you’re there for them but just not between certain sacrosanct hours. They keep invading your space because you keep allowing them entry.
Q: What do you do about a person who makes up outrageous things about herself to make her life sound more interesting than it really is? Do you go along with it even though you know she is lying and you don’t want them or anyone else to think you’re stupid enough to believe it?
A: Do not go along with it. The truth must count for something. To pretend that you believe her makes you an accomplice and a liar. And it fuels her sickness. We are in each other’s lives to teach and love and help, especially when it’s uncomfortable for us to do so. Tell her in a gentle way that you don’t believe her. Then explain that her life is more than sufficient in your eyes and that she’s good enough as she is. Expect her to be defensive and hurt. It will take time for her to process what you’ve said. We cannot live well until we are our authentic selves. In fact, the path to bliss is in figuring that out and cultivating our real talents and gifts for the highest good. As Carl Jung says, “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” She is cheating herself and everyone around her. Get your courage up, and be the one who rejects the deceit. Your action will impact far more folks than you can imagine. You’ll be a model for the friends, family, and colleagues who have been going along with her ruse. Look at it this way: you’re inviting her to fill herself back up. Perhaps she’ll eventually choose her genuine goodness over a hollow life of fantasy.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of “The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life” and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at www.thecrackerqueen.com.