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12:29 AM Wed, Nov. 14th

Dear Annie: Should I leave the kids behind?

Dear Annie: My wife passed away in 2003. We had two children, who were 5 and 7 at the time. They were pretty spoiled. They have children of their own now and never seem to have time to come and visit me but always seem to have time for their boyfriends’ families.

They always break dates with me and then post on Facebook about what a wonderful time they had with their “other” families. They never come around to just visit; it’s always when they need money or something else. I have possibly been given a chance to accept a job halfway across the country.

I have told them about it, but they don’t seem to care. I feel guilty for even thinking about accepting it, but it would mean a better life for me. Should I accept the job if I’m offered it or take my name out of the hat? - Confused and Depressed

Dear Confused and Depressed: First, I implore you to seek counseling, as depression is a serious illness and shouldn’t go untreated.

As for the job, it sounds like an ideal opportunity to reclaim the starring role in your own life. Just think: Instead of sitting at home wondering why your daughters stood you up, you’ll be out exploring the town, trying new activities, meeting new people, maybe even going on dates. As a matter of fact, you could be doing all those things right now. Even if you don’t end up moving, you can and should seek fulfillment outside of your kids. You’ll always love your children, but you have to start living for yourself.

Dear Annie: The letter from “Doing a Life Sentence With No Parole” really struck a chord with me. I, too, got married and later realized I was in a marriage that was not good for me. I looked back and realized that I had ignored the red flags waving right in front of my face. I did this not once but twice, and the similarities between the two marriages were uncanny.

I had to look deep inside myself and identify what it was about me that made me allow these things to happen, and one problem was I never wanted to look like a “bad guy.”

I was 47 when I ended the second marriage, and life has been a series of ups and downs since. But with every “down” came more insight, resulting in a higher “up.”

I am now 63. I retired three years before I had planned to and am enjoying life more than ever. I retired not because I was set financially but because I was unhappy with my employment conditions and realized I deserved better. I found a good way to supplement my Social Security and pension income to maintain a good standard of living and took the plunge.

“Doing a Life Sentence With No Parole” should issue herself a pardon and start living for herself. Alan Jackson recently recorded a song titled “The Older I Get.” Every line of this song is true for me. It could all be true for “Doing a Life Sentence With No Parole,” too. There will be anxiety, insomnia and a lot of “downs,” not to mention the selfish ones who will be trying to lay the guilt trip on her. Nothing worth having comes easy, and I would encourage her to focus on what brings her fulfillment, in addition to the advice you offered. - Thankful and Happy

Dear Thankful and Happy: So beautifully put that I just had to print this letter. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.