Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Teenager Fears College Life Will Ruin Her Perfect Life At Home

Dear Tazi:

My life is very normal. I have two wonderful parents, still married, who never argue in front of me or my sister. Speaking of my sister, we get along great – she is the best little sister anyone could ever want. I have a dog (sorry, Tazi!) who I love to death and enjoy taking for long runs in the park, and I live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. My family is not rich, but I do not want for anything I need; I do well in school; and have great friends who do not pressure me to drink or do drugs. I am a cheerleader for my high school and my boyfriend is one of the Captains of the football team (surprise, surprise huh?). Basically, my life is so incredibly perfect it is positively abnormal!

I guess you are wondering why I am writing to you, huh, Tazi? I will be finishing my senior year of high school later this year, which means college is only a few months away. Both of my parents are legacies from the same college, and they would love for me to go to the family alma mater, as well. I would love to continue with this family tradition, but I am scared to go out on my own! The school in question is three hours from home, so there is no way I could commute every day; I would have to live there, in a dormitory or an off-campus apartment.

Moving away to school would mean leaving behind my dog, my little sister, my friends, my parents, and my entire life! My boyfriend would be going to school nearby, so I would have him to depend upon, but I know he will be busy with his own school and probably football, too (he has been offered a scholarship). I want to make my family proud; I just wish college was closer to home! Do you have any advice to help me overcome my fears and enjoy the rest of my senior year, Tazi?

Signed,
Future Tiger

Dear Future Tiger:

Something I have learned from writing this column is that Southern traditions die hard, so I can understand why you want to continue the tradition of your parents and your grandparents and your…

Moving away from home for the first time can be incredibly heartbreaking, especially when home is such a wonderful place. A three hour drive may sound like a million miles away from loved ones, but the truth is it is not that far – especially nowadays, when there is Skype, and Facebook, and other ways to communicate in real and almost real time.

A big part of growing up and making the transition from childhood to adulthood is moving out of your parents’ house and being responsible for yourself. Moving into a college residence hall is often a first step, a halfway point between living at home and being completely on your own. Living in a residence hall can offer many benefits while in college. In addition to making new friendships it relieves you of several hours a week of commuting time (which can be used for be used for both studying and extracurricular activities); plus it helps you to learn how to be responsible for your own life, without having Mom and dad there to tell you what to do and when to do it. In short, you can learn a lot of important life-skills that the classroom cannot teach you.

The fact that your boyfriend wants to continue your relationship through your college years is the sign of a man who cares very deeply for you – a lot of young men move away to college and forget the promises they made to their girlfriends back home – so he will be one constant in your life that will help you to adjust to your new living situation. Plus, there will be weekends where you can go home for a visit and weekends when your family will come to visit you (I have a feeling the latter will occur most often during football season!).

Just because you are moving away for a few years does not mean that you are moving on permanently; try to keep this in mind as you finish your final year of high school. As the school year winds down, your friends are bound to start firming up their college plans; let yourself get caught up in the bittersweet excitement and the future will not look so daunting!

Snuggles,
Tazi


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Healthy Living Is Making Man Wish For A Quick End

Dear Tazi:

My wife is driving me nuts! At my last annual check-up the doctor told me that I am “entering heart attack country”, due to my age, and should watch my diet and exercise. I have always been one to do things in moderation, which is why my wife’s new and excessive behavior is driving me up a wall!

“Bea” has decided that our pantry will now be a fat-free, low-sodium, health zone. The cream for my coffee has been replaced with fat-free, non-dairy creamer; the butter for my toast is now some sort of cholesterol free “spread”; my eggs have been replaced with Egg Beaters®; my salt with Mrs. Dash®; and my Planters® peanuts with soy nuts, which I won’t touch.

Tazi, I have always been one to watch my weight and exercise three times a week. I have never been more than 10 pounds overweight. I drink in moderation. Bea insists that because my father died of a heart attack I am at higher risk of one myself, and therefore must take extra precautions such as the ones she is implementing. I try to remind Bea that my father weighed over 300 pounds; his favorite meal was a double bacon-cheeseburger with extra everything and a side of fries; and the only exercise he ever got was getting up to change the channel on the TV when nobody else was around to do it for him. Bea is deaf to my defense.

Short of getting a note from my doctor telling Bea that my new diet is excessive, can you think of any I can get Bea to see reason? All of this “healthy living” is killing me!

Signed,
Too Much of A Good Thing

Dear Too Much of A Good Thing:

One thing is obvious, your wife loves you and wants to see you among the living for several years to come; if she didn’t, she would be fixing you double bacon-cheeseburgers with extra everything and a side of fries and changing the TV channel for you every time the remote was lost.

Your mantra of everything in moderation is a good one, if lived by religiously, not just in moderation! Your idea of having your doctor explain to Bea that her intentions are sweet but extreme is a good one. I suggest that you write a list of the changes in diet that Bea has made; review them with her for accuracy and agreement; and take the list to your doctor. Together you can discuss with him/her what changes are necessary; what changes are recommended; and what changes can wait until the future. Once Bea hears it from the doctor that such extreme measures are not necessary she may be inclined to lighten up on the lightening up! If not, you can always hide food around the house!

Snuggles,
Tazi

P.S. The pendulum swings both ways; if the doctor regards Bea’s changes as reasonable and necessary, you will have to abide by your wife’s new diet plan for you.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Atheist Teenager Seeks To Explore Religion

Dear Tazi:

I am twelve going on thirteen. All of my life I have been raised an Atheist, but since starting middle school I am starting to question these beliefs. I have friends who are Christian, Jewish, and Islamic; and I am curious about their lives and their religions. They are firm believers of their faith and while they have always respected the fact that I am Atheist, I still feel different.

Whenever we have a tough test, I can see many of my friends bowing their heads in a quick prayer. I am not certain if it is the prayers that help or just their belief in prayer, but they always seem less stressed and manage to do better than they thought they would. When times are tough, they put their faith in their god that things will be okay and have friends praying for them. Again, I am not certain if it is the prayers that work or the sense of community outreach, but these people seem to have a sense of serenity that I lack during my own difficulties.

I would like to explore the idea of religion and spirituality in my life, but I do not know how to tell my parents. I am not looking to join a particular organized religion, but I am curious about god and the idea of a God. I know that my friends would gladly help me on this quest; I am not so certain my parents will approve, though. Do you have any ideas on how to convince them to let me explore these ideas?

Signed,
Looking Into It

Dear Looking Into It:

Most parents are concerned about their teenaged children losing their religion, not gaining it. Your situation is different than most, so I am glad you have a supportive network of friends to help you through this time and to answer any questions you might have about their own religious beliefs and the place their religion plays in their lives. Take advantage of this support group and soak up as much knowledge as you can; it will help you to decide where you stand on what must be a very confusing – and touchy – subject.

As for how you should approach your parents, it has been my experience that most Atheists tend to have more liberal viewpoints on life. This means that although they may not respect your choice they will not stand in your way of exploring it. This does not mean that your parents will support your choice (i.e. drive you to religious services or even to the library to research various religions), but they may surprise you.

You are approaching a time in your life where you will find yourself parting ways with your parents’ beliefs on a variety of subjects; it is a part of growing up. You may find that your beliefs remain your own, or you may discover yourself circling back to the beliefs with which you were raised. This is all a part of your journey to adulthood, and something every parent comes to expect from their child. When you are ready to make a decision, swallow your fear and approach your parents. The strength of your convictions will give you the strength you need to do this.

Snuggles,
Tazi

P.S. According to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18, the right to freely express and practice one’s religious beliefs (or lack thereof) and to change one's religious beliefs is a human right guaranteed to all. Just a bit of trivia to lift your heart!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.