Saturday, April 21, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Make small steps before making huge life changes

Evaluate the small parts of life before making big changes

Q: When I'm unhappy, I tend to want to change everything — job, relationships, etc. — at once. It's hard for me to decipher where I'm unhappy and what the best ways are to change things, rather than blow up my whole life. Are there ways to start to unpack all of this?

Time to Leave?

A: When you have the urge to blow up everything, the most prominent common denominator is you. So, the question is, why don't you feel like you're living the right life for you?

Big stuff. That's why the best place to start is with small steps toward getting healthy. Are you getting enough sleep, being conscientious about health issues, eating well, making an effort not to be sedentary?

If you're maintaining your physical health, then move on to your emotional health: Are you putting effort into the people who are good for you, and distancing yourself from takers, criticizers, enablers or those who otherwise bring out your worst? Are you saying "yes" when you should, and "no" when you should? Are you using time productively? Are you playing to your own strengths?

If your physical and emotional habits are solid, then move on to temporary rut-busting: vacation, a weekend road trip, a day trip, or just lunch with a friend you haven't seen lately.

If you have the persistent blahs, then it's time to weigh the big, external pieces of your life, like where you live, what you do for a living, whom you befriend, date and trust.

But even then, start small: Can any of these be tweaked? If tweaks don't work, are there any changes that can be easily made or reversed? Can you walk away from anything temporarily, via sabbatical, temporary reassignment, trial separation, "a break"?

Should you get this far without relief, you'll still have information toward understanding why demolition is your first impulse when you're unhappy. After all, the blow-up solution pretty much assures that you can avoid facing that thing, whatever it is, you so badly want to avoid — whereas a methodical approach, honestly executed, will take you right to its door.

How to tactfully ask for money instead of wedding gifts

Q: My fiance is European, I am from the United States, and after our fall wedding we will be living in a different country. Our wedding guests would like to know if we are registered anywhere for gifts. Since where we live next depends on where both of us get our next jobs, we can only specify two continents with any certainty. That is why I would like people to make a donation to our relocation fund.

My fiance says he feels uncomfortable asking for money, but I feel like that would be the best use of our friends' and family's generosity. Is it ever okay to just ask for money? If so, how can we do it without sounding tacky?

International Affairs of the Heart

A: Since you need to provide some kind of answer to gift inquiries, you have a practical option: "Thanks so much for asking — we didn't register, because we've got an international move (or several) coming soon." In this case, saying "4" may be rude, but saying "2 + 2" is appropriate.

You can also ask your close relatives and friends — i.e., those whom guests traditionally approach for gift ideas — to convey that no-registry message. That is, if they even need to. An international crowd is more likely than a strictly American one to equate "wedding gift" with "cash."

Comments
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of April 23-29

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of April 23-29

St. Anthony’s Triathlon: World class athletes and Olympians race around St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Park on Sunday ($160-$180), while kids and novices race Saturday in the Meek and Mighty. A free kick-off celebration Friday has a concert by country artist...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain talks breakup, reunion, getting sober and returning to St. Petersburg

Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain talks breakup, reunion, getting sober and returning to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — HGTV fanatic that he is, Spencer Chamberlain sees a metaphor for his band in the ever-evolving St. Petersburg skyline."When you go downtown and you look at the ONE, that used to be a dirt parking lot," said the singer, referring to a...
Published: 04/20/18

Tell Me About It: Family reconsiders taking group trips

Q: Should there be expectations about taking vacations/trips with other family members? We have two issues:(1) We have three kids, including teenagers, and my brother and wife have two kids. The younger is 6. My wife and I find it hard to plan someth...
Published: 04/20/18
On its 20th anniversary, Disney's Animal Kingdom credits conservation with longevity

On its 20th anniversary, Disney's Animal Kingdom credits conservation with longevity

ORLANDO — When Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened 20 years ago, it was light on thrills and heavy on conservation. On April 22, 1998, Earth Day, the Orlando park had a single thrill ride, Countdown to Extinction, and a handful of shows like ...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Tell Me About It: How to deal with conversation dominators

Q: We have a few relatives, including a sibling, who we don’t see or hear from often, as we are busy or live far away. We meet over a meal or for an hour or so, or at family gatherings requiring a drive, and I am so frustrated that they dominate the ...
Published: 04/19/18
Huge concert week in Tampa: Foo Fighters, Kenny Chesney, 98 Rockfest, more

Huge concert week in Tampa: Foo Fighters, Kenny Chesney, 98 Rockfest, more

PURE NIRVANA: Foo FightersDave Grohl may be America’s last unquestioned rock god. He’s played with Kurt Cobain and Jimmy Page, Tom Petty and Trent Reznor and St. Vincent, and he also leads a pretty decent group — perhaps you’ve heard of them — called...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Plan your weekend: Kenny Chesney, ‘The Producers’ in the park, Mainsail Art Fest, Sugar Sand Fest, Earth Day

Plan your weekend: Kenny Chesney, ‘The Producers’ in the park, Mainsail Art Fest, Sugar Sand Fest, Earth Day

The top things to do April 20 to 22 in Tampa, St. Petersburg and the whole Tampa Bay area.
Published: 04/18/18
The newest trend for Tampa date nights? Indoor ax throwing

The newest trend for Tampa date nights? Indoor ax throwing

Axe Throwing Tampa and Raider Axe Lodge are bringing the axe-throwing trend to the Tampa Bay area.
Published: 04/18/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay: Sugar Sand Festival, Record Store Day, ZooBrews, Beerfest

Top things to do in Tampa Bay: Sugar Sand Festival, Record Store Day, ZooBrews, Beerfest

BEER: ZooBrews and BeerfestAs if we needed any more proof of the craft beer craze, this weekend brings two events with a smorgasbord of samplings. • The newly renamed ZooTampa at Lowry Park is calling ZooBrews a new event that appears to be an awful ...
Published: 04/18/18
5 things to do under $5: Taste of Science talks, free ‘Field of Dreams’ screening

5 things to do under $5: Taste of Science talks, free ‘Field of Dreams’ screening

1 Field of Dreams: Kick off baseball season with Tampa Bay Rays mascots and a movie that makes every baseball fan cry. Raymond and DJ Kitty will be at Tampa Theatre for photos and you can join in a Take Me Out to the Ballpark sing-along on the Mighty...
Published: 04/18/18