I’m gonna let y’all in on a little guilty pleasure of mine – I’ve been reading Dear Abby for nearly as long as I’ve been able to read.
I was about tween age (although they didn’t call it that, back then) when I first discovered her advice column in my hometown newspaper, The Staten Island Advance. At the time, the comic section, the word games and Dear Abby were about all I read. (although I would still flip through every single page, regardless if I read anything on them or not – including the sports section [I had no interest in any sports. Still don’t. Sorry not sorry.] and the classifieds. I was a weird kid.)
Dear Abby was the pen name of Pauline Philips since she started the column in 1956. Her daughter, Jeanne Philips, began writing the column with her in 1987 and took over entirely by the early 2000s, after it was revealed that her mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Dear Abby has given replies about all sorts of topics. Aging. Etiquette and ethics. Family and parenting. Friends and neighbors. Holidays and celebrations. Work and school. Loving and dating. Money. Religion. Teens. And yes, travel.
A person recently wrote to Dear Abby about a “travel and marriage” problem:
DEAR ABBY: I’m 62 and recently retired. My wife is 56 and still working. We have been married 32 years. She will retire at 60 to get a full pension from her company, and we have several million dollars in our retirement savings.
We travel together internationally once a year for about 10 days. I have talked to her about my desire to travel more often by myself or with my retired friends, since now is my “golden age” and I’m still physically able to do it. I enjoy classical operas/music and would like to go to some music festivals, such as the Salzburg festival, etc.
My wife thinks I’m selfish since she still works. I have explained to her that we can’t predict our future physical abilities (my knees are deteriorating). If, by the time she retires, I’m no longer physically strong enough to travel, I may regret it forever.
If the situation were reversed and she wanted to travel by herself or with her friends after she’s retired, I think it would be selfish of me to insist she not do it. Is she right? Is my desire to travel more before my wife retires selfish? — PONDERING IN PENNSYLVANIA
Well, if *I* were Dear Abby, I know what I’d tell them – tell your wife to chill. And then take those vacations alone, with friends or other relatives, etc. Make sure she knows she’s more than welcome to do the same, if not for week-long trips because of work responsibilities, perhaps for long weekends.
Joe and I have been married for over 20 years but that doesn’t mean we’re always attached at the hip. We both have some interests that are very different. So for a few years now, we’ve gone to places without each other. Sometimes it’s just to a concert in the next town over. But other times it’s real, actual traveling for days at a time. Neither of us ever regret our spouse going away without us; we’re happy they’re happy, and our turn will come soon enough.
Here’s what Dear Abby said to PONDERING IN PENNSYLVANIA:
DEAR PONDERING: I don’t think so. You have worked hard for many years to be able to afford the luxury, and you should be “allowed” to enjoy the benefits of your labors with her blessing. In a few more years, she will have the same freedom.
P.S. I hope your health will allow you both to take many more vacations together in the future. And don’t count yourself out because of your “deteriorating” knees. As I’m sure you are aware, knee replacements are common now. Several individuals I know say the procedure has greatly improved their lives. (Hips, too!)
Yep, I always did like Dear Abby. 😉
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