Dear Annie: My boyfriend broke up with me pretty suddenly and over the phone right after spring semester ended. We haven't talked over the summer, and now that school started this fall, it's been pretty awkward. I still have feelings for him and a lot of questions. Since we haven't talked to each other for about four months, I don't know how to start talking to him again. I don't even know if talking to him is a good idea. After he broke up with me, he said he still wanted to be good friends, and I told him that I honestly didn't think I could be friends with him. I don't know what to do. What do you think I should do? -- Uneasy at University

Dear Uneasy at University: I think you ought to listen to your heart, which seems to be saying that it needs more time to heal. So, be cordial when you run into your ex-boyfriend -- wish him all the best -- but put your energy into nourishing friendships, interests and your sense of self. One day you might be able to be friends with this ex, but that day is not today. And that is 100% OK.

Dear Annie: I was shocked to read that "Fearing the Future" is so pessimistic at 67. I am 91 and recently wrote the following poem: "The Optimist"

"Why live to one hundred?" asked my friend.

"Isn't ninety enough to make a good end?"

"I think of the things I would miss," I replied, "If, at ninety, I stopped and simply died."

Thousands of mornings to see the sun rise In a glorious blaze in the eastern skies.

Moons to wax and wane anew, Trillions of stars in the midnight blue.

Ten springs to see the lilacs bloom As their fragrance drifts across my room.

To see new leaves on the maple tree As the birds return and sing to me.

Ten summers to feel the ocean breeze As whales cavort in blue-green seas,

To watch the hawks on the thermals rise Into the blue of summer skies.

Ten more harvests to celebrate Of apple and peach and pear and date.

To anticipate the vintner's wines From fresh new grapes on ancient vines.

Ten more autumns in which to see The change of color on every tree,

Russets and golds and reds ablaze To brighten the ever-shortening days.

Ten winters of freshly fallen snow On mountains above and valleys below.

Of cherry-cheeked children on skis and sleds, Of blazing hearths and soft warm beds.

Ten Christmas seasons of church bells rung, Of mince pies eaten and carols sung.

Of families gathered to celebrate The wonder of that age-old date.

Ten more New Years to welcome in, To wonder what the year will bring.

Will there be a new baby for me to see? A great-grandchild on my family tree?

I strive for another decade of living, Of hoping and praying and loving and giving.

And, if I reach one hundred, what then? Why, I'd plan to live to one hundred and ten!

-- Beryl in Keizer, Oregon

Dear Beryl: Thank you for lighting the way with optimism. Your poem made my day a little brighter, and I'm sure it will do the same for many readers.

Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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