Dear Madame Olivia:
I am a middle-aged woman with a burning desire to be a country singer, a real one, with recording contracts and everything. Though I have a decent but boring day job, I sing when I can and have gotten a few local gigs. People tell me I’m really good. Not to be immodest but I look pretty good for my age and have long blond hair so the externals are OK too. I’ve saved some money and my partner has been supportive so far but I think I really need to give this a go in Nashville. My friends tell me this is a midlife crisis and that it will pass and that I’m crazy to drop everything. Should I ignore them and make it happen?
Madame Olivia is going to be unequivocal here: YES, you should do it! And as soon as possible. You say you think you could swing it financially and that your partner has been supportive “so far.” Those are two crucial elements. Madame Olivia suggests putting a time and/or money limit on the enterprise for your own sense of safety. It will be essential to stay open with your partner and in touch throughout with periodic arranged meetups.
Professional help will be well worth it: a coach to navigate you through the waters in Nashville; someone to help you produce a fabulous demo CD; maybe even a stylist. Give yourself every advantage. You will of course do as much research and connecting as you can before you go. And don’t forget Madame Olivia’s famous dictum: one thing leads to another. Madame Olivia envisions you for example going to a small venue to hear somebody sing in Nashville and discovering that you’re sitting next to a record producer. This really does happen.
Your adventure may work out exactly according to your dreams and Madame Olivia ardently hopes so. It may also work out positively though not exactly as you dream. Or it may lead you down an undreamed-of path! Whatever happens, you can’t lose. You will have done this marvelous thing.
Sending you supreme energy and confidence!
Dear Madame Olivia,
I love my work as a psychologist. My private work has decreased this summer. I applied for a part time hospice job and I am awaiting a formal offer. If this is where I am meant to be I gladly accept. If not, where and when? I hope you can tell me what I need to know.
In Need of Knowing
Dear In Need:
You wrote this some months ago and Madame Olivia has thought about your question for all this time, even though she didn’t manifest an answer. She sends her apologies but at the same time wants you to know she never forgot you or your question.
Here are some thoughts. First, if you got the job offer, congratulations to you. If that didn’t happen, then consider this: you say your private work decreased this summer. This suggests that your energies were not directed toward marketing and beating the bushes for new referrals. Madame Olivia wonders if this reflects a weariness, conscious or unconscious, with your practice. The hospice job sounds perfect for you and Madame Olivia hopes that the offer came through. If it did not, however, ask yourself how strongly hospice resonates with you. If the answer is “strongly,” then keep trying. Go to workshops and conferences on hospice. Explore online. Take a class. Subscribe to newsletters and blogs. It really doesn’t take a huge and steely resoluteness: merely following a lot of leads and putting yourself in the stream of hospice news and jobs can lead to wonderful results.
Sending very best wishes and warm and activating energy to you.
Dear Madame Olivia:
Can you please tell me whether the book I am writing is the right thing to be doing? It offers confirmation to humanity that an edition of an ancient myth is available in America today which will encourage all who are interested in the next step of psychological evolution in the feminine archetype (and therefore men are also affected). My discovery is that I have LIVED this since my birth, that is, I think, I know, I believe, I live is the progression of development, the last stage only recently being revealed. Thank you so much for your interest and assistance.
Writer in Need of Affirmation
Madame Olivia confesses that she doesn’t entirely understand your premise but finds the idea of enlarging on the feminine archetype very interesting. Much more importantly, if you are seized by this project then yes, you should be writing it.
Here are several bits of advice for you: 1) Write every day, and if you can’t, at least read or interact with your material. 2) Join a writing group. This is not for everybody, given the challenge of balancing what other people say with your own instincts, but Madame Olivia senses that such a group would be helpful to you. 3) Keep plugging away. As the old English saying goes, It’s dogged as does it!
Sending hopeful wishes and good writing energy your way.
Dear Madame Olivia:
I am at a crossroads in my job search. If i work for someone or place that i believe in and they in me I am the most loyal enthusiastic employee. If not, I get unmotivated. I have a new opportunity to start new employment with a small office. This would be a different direction for me, and a fresh start for this doctor. My concern is a one on one relationship with a male employer. I have been harassed by past employers, and I so want a strong professional working relationship. We both share some of the same past personal setbacks, which I hope will be an advantage and not a disadvantage. Any vibes on this pairing?
Well, this is a very interesting question indeed. And Madame Olivia does get a vibe. You sound like you really want to establish a new path for yourself and Madame Olivia thinks you can do it. You say you do not want to reenact the kind of working relationship you have had in the past. Admittedly there is a powerful human tendency to do that very thing, especially unconsciously. But look how conscious you are! This gives you enormous power, even if the doctor-boss in question is not as conscious as you are. If he is not, it just makes it that much more imperative for you to take the reins. This means acting professionally, at all times; dressing professionally for work; not sharing or referring to or slipping into knowing references about the same personal setbacks; and not rising to any bait whatsoever from the doctor-boss, be it over-friendliness or sniping. As Madame Olivia’s mother used to say to her, Let it roll off your back. Try not to get nervous if it happens, as it well might. Treat these things as a good challenge and be cordial and unemtional. If you can stay in charge of yourself, you will not be at the mercy of other personalities or the situation, and so far from slipping back into old ways, you can triumph and begin to carve a new path.
Madame Olivia has the very strong feeling you can do this. You have figured out what you want, now go for it. She sends you all the courage in the world, along with the best of luck. All peace and happiness to you.
Dear Madame Olivia:
I have been married for one year. Yesterday was my birthday and my partner forgot it completely. I am heartsick and devastated. Does this mean he doesn’t love me? What should I do?
Forgetting your birthday has nothing to do with love. Some people simply do not remember important anniversary dates: they are not wired for it and/or weren’t trained by family. Try to get your head around this. Not being remembered hurts you so badly but it was simply an oversight for him.
You can avoid this in the future by one simple tactic: next year and for however many years it takes, bring up your birthday two weeks ahead of time with something like “I would love to go to Vegan Village for my birthday next Saturday.” Be explicit about the date and also about what you want! And give him a heads up! And on no account ever wait to see if he remembers because this is what defense attorneys call entrapment and will only lead to misery. Note too that if he asks you what you want for your birthday (or any other event involving gifts), tell him! Do not be coy with “You should know” or “Surprise me,” especially if you’re going to nail him with criticism if you don’t like what he gets you. Just tell him what you want. The more specific the better, as in “I really want the umbrella with the lizards on it I saw online at Nonsense Gifts” or if you’re less choosy “An umbrella” and let him choose.
For now, best be matter-of-fact and say “I would love to go to Vegan Village for a belated birthday dinner. What do you think of Friday night?” It is to be hoped that he claps his hand to his forehead and says “I’m a dunderhead! I completely forgot!” but in his shame and misery there’s no telling what will come out. In any case, do not lay recriminations on him and above all no weeping. Be calm and be honest but keep the emotion quotient low, eg “I’m sentimental so it did hurt me but I’m getting over it.” Being honest without lying or laying on guilt is a fun challenge. You can do it.
Madame Olivia sends you warmest birthday wishes for a glorious year ahead.