DEAR AMY: Over the past four years my parents have taken the entire family (daughters, spouses and kids) to their tropical island time share twice.
This past spring we were in the process of planning a third trip for everyone. Long story short, my mother picked a fight with my sister, and that evolved into the trip being canceled. My mother told everyone that the tropical locale was ruined for her.
After many months of tension, my mom and my sister made up. Then my parents announced that they were going to their time share on the "ruined" tropical island.
That's all fine and well. The time share is theirs to do what they want with. However, they left last weekend, and my mother has been sending my sister and me photos of their trip via email.
We receive at least half a dozen photos each day chronicling what they are doing and how much fun they are having.
The easy answer would be to hit "delete" and just ignore further emails, but my mother just sends more emails if you don't answer her, asking if you got her messages and photos.
Do you have any advice as how to politely tell her that we don't want to see what a great time they are having on the vacation they uninvited us from? — Not On Vacation
DEAR NOT: I suggest responding with a combination of stiff upper lip, passive aggression and humor. This way, even if your mother doesn't get the message, you can at least enjoy sending it.
You and your sister could stage two or three photos — of you and the kids dressed in multiple layers standing forlornly in the snow in the driveway.
Create an electronic postcard and email it to her along with the message: "Greetings from Frozen Hell. Wish you were here!"
Longer term, you and your sister need to decide whether a tropical vacation (if offered) is worth being a pawn to your mother's manipulations. It's a tough trade-off.
DEAR AMY: I'm 25-years-old with the professional career I have always wanted. However, this past year has been a rocky road for me. My partner of over two years and I broke up, and this makes my world feel like it's been shaken up.
Lately I have been thinking it might be time for me to dream bigger and set my sights on something greater.
I am scared to even entertain the idea because I love my job and would hate to walk away from it unnecessarily, but I think I may have outgrown my environment, like Alice in her house in Wonderland.
Would it be foolish of me at 25 to try something brand new, or should I further myself in my current position and keep things steady and stable? — Dream Bigger
DEAR DREAMER: It is the very essence of human experience to wonder about what else is out there. Going back to childhood, elemental questions to ask oneself are: "Who am I?" and "What do I want?" Answers should change at different ages and stages of life.
Dreaming about something bigger, greater or just different is exactly what 25-year-olds are supposed to do.
Along with the dreaming, making wise, considerate and calculated choices are what adults are supposed to do.
So I vote for dreaming, followed by planning, followed by doing.
Do not pre-emptively leave your job until you have a plan in place (including a way to adjust your spending and/or replace your income). Your workplace may offer you a leave of absence if you want to pursue a world-changing volunteer opportunity and return to work afterward.
Otherwise, you can start small and take your dreams out for a spin by taking some night classes and weekend adventures.
DEAR AMY: The letter from "Frustrated" made me crazy. This guy says he's "traditional" and wants marriage, and yet he has one baby (and one on the way) with his girlfriend.
I was shocked you didn't take him to task for this! — Disappointed
DEAR DISAPPOINTED: I agree that his view of what's "traditional" was skewed. Also that he needs to figure out how to stop making babies if he doesn't intend to stay with the mother.