Should I follow my mother and settle down, or be fierce like my grandmother? Ask Ellie
Q:My grandmother is a fierce woman. She had a hard life growing up poor and has remained fierce because she’s never trusted that life could remain safe and pleasant.
So even though the man she married bought her a house, thinking they’d have babies and a backyard garden to grow vegetables and fruit, she rented out several rooms to keep income arriving.
It meant that she’s always busy, dealing with her renters, cleaning up any messes they leave behind when they move, and organizing repairs.
Throughout her whirlwind activity, she has always intimidated my mother who lacks the same determination and strong constitution.
I used to be afraid of my grandmother, perhaps because she was so tough on my mom. But, now, in my late 20s, I’ve decided that it’s better to be fierce.
I’m not wanting to scare or dominate anyone. I just want to be strong in my beliefs, hold fast to my principles, be prepared to be good to others who matter to me.
I also want to be equally prepared to cut off people who repeatedly waste my time with trivial concerns, and/or have no backbone regarding where they stand on important topics/current events.
Recently, I’ve been dating someone my mother thinks is a “perfect choice” for me. He’s good-looking, has a solid good job (if anything is truly a “solid” job), and says he loves me.
But he’d rather stream current macho TV series than get informed about the devastating war in Eastern Europe. My mother says it’s none of our business.
My grandmother says it’s my future happening and to prepare to know how to deal with it. From which of those two do I take my relationship cues?
Need Relationship Advice
A:Forget the bare bones of the choice — his indifference to everyday happenings and their import — and go instead to the heart of your feelings.
You’re not your grandmother so don’t model yourself after someone who felt she had to be fierce to survive.
You’re living/maturing in a different time and situation, interested in the larger world, not just your immediate home life and personal comforts.
You don’t have to be driven like your grandmother to thrive. You just have to weigh the choices (and close people) you can live with and who/what you can’t.
I suspect you’ll eventually find a different partner from the one who’s staring at the macho series while a major part of the world is in turmoil.
Q:Our family’s facing a dilemma. It’s taken us several years to agree on getting a dog. It’s not that any one of us didn’t want a dog, just that we’re all very busy and dogs need time and caring.
But we went ahead, with a now-or-never surge of action. Two of us (one adult, one teenager) went scouting for dogs, two others (both parents) went for the drive.