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Dear Abby: Contentment doesn’t equal fulfillment

Dear Abby: I’m 45, employed and earning plenty of money. I’m in a great relationship, my kids and grandkids are healthy and happy, and my parents are alive and well. I enjoy the small things in life, fishing, reading, the beach, minivacations, bowling, etc. I raise funds to feed the homeless.

So what’s my problem, you ask? Abby, I’m not really sure what my purpose is in life or if the way my life is, is normal. I feel content – even happy at times – but I’m troubled because it seems a lot of people do the exact opposite of what I am doing and they all have a purpose. Some of them are going to school, raising kids, having relationship problems, money issues, etc. They seem to be doing so much, and I feel as if I’m doing so little.

What is normal for my age? Should I be doing more? Most times I feel happy, but on a day like today I feel unfulfilled. Do I need to do more?

– What Is Normal?

Dear What: Doing so little? Count your blessings! You hold a job, have a family that I presume you regularly interact with, have a great relationship, hobbies you enjoy and contribute to those who have less than you. I would say you are productive and successful.

However, if you think you need to do more, then it’s possible you do. Take some time, decide what it is and reallocate your time if you feel you need something more to fulfill you. But please stop measuring yourself by anyone else’s yardstick because people who do that are rarely happy.

Dodging relationship bullet

Dear Abby: I fell in love with “Alex” during my last year of college. We had known each other for 18 months. A month before our wedding, he broke up with me. He said that I was verbally abusive.

I admit I had anger issues. When we argued, he would say one thing and then something different later. He would also tell his mom stuff about me and our relationship that I considered private. I had a hard time with the breakup. I tried hard to reconcile or find solutions, but he rejected all of them. Now, he’s blaming me and throwing things in my face.

I am heartbroken and depressed. I don’t know if I should be mad at him for the lies and the heartache he has caused me, or mad at myself for messing up. I have lost my confidence and self-esteem. What do I do?

– Still in Love

Dear Still in Love: Don’t you realize you dodged a bullet? If things had turned out differently, you’d be writing me as an unhappy wife, probably with children to support.

Let it go, get help for your anger issues, and don’t waste more time brooding. There are times that it’s better we don’t get the things we wish for, and this may be one of them.