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My sister will not get a COVID vaccine, despite the fact that she is eligible because she (ironically!) works in health care. She has been struggling with infertility and is concerned that getting a vaccine could somehow jeopardize her chances of conceiving or even harm her future not-yet-conceived child. I have been consistently sending her articles that dispel these concerns based on scientific findings and recommendations, as well as pointing out the importance of vaccination both for her family and for the world. But I cannot persuade her, and she has now let me know that she doesn’t want to feel judged or lectured by me anymore on this topic. I’ve complied but am resentful that she is clinging to these irrational views. How should I handle this?
Of course you are resentful! Your sister is misinformed and mistaken. But at the same time, we all get a little crazy when faced with something as primal as fertility or lack thereof. And as women, we tend to blame ourselves for, well, just about everything (is it something I did, ate, thought?). So she may really be a little off her rocker right now. Or, maybe she is fast becoming an anti-vaxxer, God forbid. Hard to know at this point. Have you asked her what her health care provider recommends? I can’t imagine s/he wouldn’t advise her to be jabbed (as they say in the UK). Hopefully she will come to her senses. If she doesn’t, you may have to bring out the big guns and tell her that if she is not vaccinated (once everyone is), she will not be able to see you and your family and/or aging parents (if that applies). That is up to you of course. I commend you for respecting her wishes, as misbegotten as they are, and urge you to take up kickboxing.
My office has a casual dress code and during the summer some of the men wear shorts. I’m not a man, but I want to wear shorts too. The thing is, I have super-hairy legs, which I don’t shave. I’m very confident with my hirsuteness when out in public, but I feel conscious of contradicting some sort of professional code by airing my gorilla legs at work. What is your advice? Should I “person up” and break out my shorts? Or should I stick to pants for the duration.
If men in your office can wear shorts with unshaven legs, then so can women. Go for it. But if it makes you uncomfortable for any reason (sometimes we absorb/incorporate cultural dictates even though in principle we virulently disagree with them), you do you. Maybe capris would be a happy medium. Or should I say midi-um?
My college age children are angry about the state of the world, the environment and capitalism. How do I acknowledge their anger and direct them to have a sense of agency?
Who can blame those brilliant children of yours? There is plenty to be angry, depressed, and despondent about, the environment and capitalism but two of them. However, there is also plenty to do about it. I agree that the first thing to do is acknowledge their anger and hear them out. They may rail against conservative politicians, tax loopholes, or our entire generation for falling down on the job. But then, after they are all worn out, it’s time they roll up their sleeves and get cracking. The best way to feel better is to work toward change. You are just a click away from thousands of possible activities. Volunteer for a political campaign, join an environmental group, lobby for human rights, protest inequity, raise money for your favorite non-profits, listen to the podcast “How to Save a Planet,” start a food drive, interview people you admire and see if you can be of help to them, run for office. Start small: school board, local government, neighborhood issues. Join Books and Breakfast and start your day reading to elementary school kids. Every part of us benefits when we exercise. Exercising our civic duty to contribute to the greater good feels even better than running a marathon (well, I have never actually run a marathon, which sounds horrible, so I guess I should rephrase: nothing feels better than doing what you think is right for yourself and others), so subtly encourage, lightly cajole, or do what all us parents do and guilt them into it!
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Friday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with wit. And a pinch of snark. She is not a trained therapist by any means, but has seen and loved many in her day. Her aim is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and queries and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how much it may diverge from hers. Write to Gabby at firstname.lastname@example.org.