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home : columns : dear harriette May 24, 2016

4/26/2014 3:35:00 PM
Reunion attendee worried about state of her life

DEAR HARRIETTE: My school reunion is coming up. It's a big year for us, and I am nervous to go back. I used to go to reunions when I first graduated, but I haven't gone for about 15 years. I also used to be cute. I was tall and thin and had a great figure. I was one of the so-called "popular" girls, and I know I thought I was "all that." Fast forward to now, and I am divorced twice, seriously overweight and fairly broke. I lost my job about six months ago and haven't had steady work since. Talk about eating humble pie! I am definitely not on top of my game. People might not even recognize me if I went back. I feel like I shouldn't go since I'm not in the best place. But then I wonder if that's crazy. Maybe they would welcome me as I am. Chances are some of them are having their fair share of problems, too. I don't have time to lose weight or rewrite my story. Should I go anyway? -- Afraid of Reunion, Shreveport, La.

DEAR AFRAID OF REUNION: I can guarantee you that you are not the only one who is feeling skittish about attending your class reunion. While there will likely be some who are "sitting on top of the world," there will be plenty of others who are simply living their lives and doing the best they can -- facing ups and downs like everybody else. Whether good or bad, most Americans gain weight over time, so you will probably see quite a few people who are overweight.  

My point is that you should go. Do your best to be in the moment. Do not judge yourself or others as you greet one another. Say your name as you see people, not so much because they may not recognize you, but because they may not remember your name. Be humble and kind. Choose to enjoy yourself. You may find that not being the most popular girl will allow you to notice people who could be great connections moving forward.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I always give my children money when they go to hang out with other children for play dates. I tell them to offer to pay for their meals or whatever else costs money when they are out with these children and their families. And they always come home with all of their money. They say that the parents never accept it. My problem with this is if I take a few friends with my kids to hang out, I can't afford to pay for all of them. I need them to help pay for it, but now I don't know how to bring it up. How can I entertain these kids without going broke? -- Play Date, Brooklyn, N.Y.

DEAR PLAY DATE: Plan activities that you can afford. This can include at-home fun, or going to the park with a lunch that you pack for them. You can also tell parents in advance if you are planning a special event that has a cost, and be honest: Tell them that you need them to pitch in for a particular amount.
Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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