DEAR AMY: I am in my late 40s. I have a wonderful husband and great kids. I'm very happy with my family life. My kids are older, and now I feel like I can detach a bit and focus on work and other personal aspects of my life. I have been burying some insecurity issues that recently erupted. My life is pretty unconventional — I'm not career-minded. I moved around a lot by choice. I love to travel. In my 20s, I met a woman through work. We became friends, but her confident, cool and magnetic personality made me envious. I eventually broke off the friendship due to a combination of her high-maintenance personality and my jealousy. Recently, I saw her name mentioned in a book written by a famous person. I instantly felt the pangs of jealousy rush through me. Since then, I often think of her success and what is most likely a pretty glamorous life. She is involved in an industry I would like to get back into. I hate my reaction to her. I hate that I compare myself to her. I'm happy for other friends' successes. I'm trying to be levelheaded and rational. I'm lucky and grateful for my life. I called my insurance regarding therapy sessions, and was told that I don't have immediate coverage. I know that I need to do some self-examining, but I plummet deeper because I don't know what to do or where to start. I'm ashamed to talk to my husband or friends about this. Feel free to tell me to JUST GET OVER IT!
DEAR INSECURE: GET OVER IT!
There, feel better?
I suspect that a perfectly natural "midlife crisis" has collided with, or been triggered by, this random reminder of someone who brings out the worst in you.
Most of us have someone on the periphery of our lives who irrationally solicits strong feelings of jealousy or schadenfreude.
Social media can more or less "weaponize" these glancing encounters, because of the filtered way some people present their story.
Yes — talk to your most empathetic friend about it. You might feel embarrassed, but you shouldn't feel ashamed. Own this. Admit it. Get it out.
Other adults who love you will affirm your good choices and listen as you start to unravel the mystery of what you should do next. And yes, therapy would help; if you live near a university, check with their psychology department to see if you might be able to see someone for a few sessions for less money.
You should also read Po Bronson's inspiring book, "What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question" (2003, Random House).
DEAR AMY: I just received an Evite to a wedding that I've been told will be lavish. The couple is in their 50s and 60s. They've been together for over a decade. They have requested no gifts other than monetary contributions to their honeymoon. They have traveled extensively, including to the honeymoon destination. Is their request tacky? Am I living in the past?
DEAR WONDERING: The Evite and the request for money don't scream "lavish" in my mind, so you might adjust your expectations somewhat before attending this wedding.
And the "no gifts, except for money" instruction is misleading.
This couple, it seems, wants to have many things both ways.
Honeymoon registries are a fairly recent phenomenon. Although they present challenges for traditional people, when you think about it — at a wedding you want to give the couple a gift they will use and enjoy.
If this couple had set up a honeymoon registry, guests would be invited to contribute to specific experiences, such as: "breakfast for two," "ziplining through the forest" or any number of other experiences related to their trip. It is simply more satisfying to fund a specific experience, versus forking over cash.
DEAR AMY: "Won't be Bullied" was threatened by her sister-in-law. I think it might be advisable for her to reach out to her brother. If the brother's wife is willing to behave that way in the "public" setting of a family gathering, it's likely that her behavior is even worse in the privacy of her home, where the husband may be suffering in silence. I suffered through abuse from my own wife for several years before I broke the silence. If a friend or family member had reached out to me, I may have started the healing process sooner.
DEAR HEALED: Absolutely. Thank you.