Goal Tending

18 Dec

Letterbalm List of GoalsDear LetterBalm: My boyfriend and I have been together for three years, since I was 17 (he’s two years older). That’s when I moved out of my parents’ home, and we moved in together. Since then, things have been mixed. I got my high school diploma and took some college courses, but both of us were laid off from work. Money is tight. My parents are pestering me to return home – they tell me they’ll pay for me to finish college if I break things off with my boyfriend, which I’ve been wanting to do for some time, anyway. I know I’ll have a much better chance at finishing my education and getting a leg-up in life if I do what my parents want. I’m at a crossroads. What do I tell them?

–Confused

Confused? No kidding. First, you move out at the tender age of 17 to live with your boyfriend. Then, you make a half-hearted attempt at college. Then, you consider breaking up with your boyfriend – which you’ve been thinking of for awhile – and moving back in with your parents if they fund your college education because you have a vague idea that the degree will give you an advantage. Ms. L.B. strongly suggests before you do anything, you sit down and figure out the steps you need to take. (A suggestion: Break up with your boyfriend near the top of the list. It’s a kindness to him.) Built into this list should be how you will finance your life goals. For one thing, having your parents finance your education if you leave your boyfriend and move back home smacks of blackmail. After you’ve got things straight in your mind, tell your parents something like this:

Mom and Dad, I’ve done serious thinking, and I’ve come to some conclusions. I’ve set some goals. Jake and I have broken up – it was coming for a long time. I’m working hard to get some jobs on my own. If I have to cobble together several jobs to support myself, I will. I found a smaller apartment that’s more affordable, and, once I put together enough money, I will steadily fund courses at Dixon Community College. Eventually, I hope to use my credits to go to State to get my degree in art history – as you know, something I’ve always wanted to do. I appreciate your offer to finance college for me if I move home. But I think you’ll see that it’s important for me to be an adult and make my own way. 

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