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Ask Ellie: It's the time of year to shape your own future

A reader asks: What is it about New Year’s Eve that causes me so much hype and tension?

Dear Ellie: What is it about New Year’s Eve that causes me so much hype and tension? When I was young and single, it was all about going out, having a date, drinking too much, then wanting the guy to just get me home.

Now, at 33, I’d love to see good things happening as soon as the calendar hits Dec. 31.

But instead, I’ll be alone that night, with only my bills from buying Christmas gifts for others and spoiling myself.

I need to change something but don’t know what. I’ve dated some decent men, but nothing clicked between us. A couple were recently separated from their wives and every conversation was about their troubles. Just what I don’t need!

How do I get through this holiday that only depresses me?

Joyless New Year

Look beyond the calendar date and start the steps to shape your future from right now.

If you have any friends who enjoy trying new things, get together on affordable plans, whether watching favourite movies together at home, or joining a one-shot cooking class. It’s hard to beat being creative and also eating together.

You’ll also need other approaches to shake your low mood. There are different practitioners of ways to bring a new outlook to your life — e.g., social work therapists, life coaches, psychologists, and others focused on mental health issues.

Some are connected to free support services, such as Canada’s free access to a mental-health professional one-on-one call through 1-866-585-0445 or text Wellness (741741 for adults).

See your family doctor at the start in case there’s some other health factor negatively affecting your mood and energy.

Then, it’s up to you to shape life-enhancing goals. Is it finding a partner that matters most, or being proud and confident about yourself?

I say, choose yourself, and the results will include friends and potential partners to share mutual respect and trust.

FEEDBACK regarding the grandmother who suspected her granddaughter of stealing (Dec. 8):

Reader —“Ellie and Lisi, all your advice was really great.

“Something along these lines has happened to me twice where a young family member stole a substantial amount of cash from me.

“In one case, I was 100 percent sure that it was one of four kids (either of my children or one of their cousins). I announced that this money was missing and could the person kindly return it sometime in the next 24 hours so we wouldn’t have to have an investigation or an embarrassing showdown. The money was discreetly returned.

“Again, some cash went missing which I’d earmarked for something essential. I was 99% sure my adult daughter had taken it as no one else had been in the apartment.

“I explained to her that it was missing and gave her an out: I pretended that I’d stashed it somewhere but couldn’t recall where.

“Her guilt was apparent by how overly concerned she became about this “missing” money.

“She spent hours “looking” for it with me as we ransacked the house. A few hours later I saw the little stack of 20s, ­sticking out from between two books.

“Our children need to know there’s no victimless crime and that they’ll be accountable for their actions.

“But still, we need to save face and not shame them. There are deep psychological motives for stealing. Once they know they won’t get away with it, their need to steal should be compassionately addressed.

“I know. I used to steal.”

Reader’s Commentary regarding the second wife who fears financial pressures on her husband from visiting his ex-wife in another country, and doesn’t want to accompany him (Dec 6):

“I’d be very careful going to a foreign country under some kind of pressure from the person who lives there.

“I’d want to know, is this considered a safe country, are there any Canadian government warnings about going there, do I or my husband speak the language there?

“Also, the man’s son, 30, can travel on his own to visit his father.

“Also, why is this woman still pressuring an ex-husband from so long ago? Are there mental-health issues?

“I’d do a very thorough investigation before I went to visit this country under these circumstances.

“As Canadians we can take the law and order we live under for granted, but many countries have very corrupt police and governments, and very different laws and customs from ours.”

Ellie’s tip of the day

It’s not the calendar that’s negative, it’s how you see yourself. Seek counselling and ­mental-health supports (some are free).

Send relationship questions to

Follow @ellieadvice.

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