I don't mean to sound bitter, but it takes a lot to start over later on in life. You do not get a "do over" to take care of yourself.
Make choices that will help you survive in a worst-case scenario. Know what you need from life and make sure you can provide for yourself. You are the only one who will take care of you.
On a mother with recurrent cancer who isn't following doctors' orders:
If the woman wants to eat chocolate every day, so what? Bad habits are not going to kill her, the cancer will. I have recurrent ovarian cancer. My life will be shorter than I expected or wanted it to be. I want to enjoy each day. If I feel like having a greasy burger, I do. No one should judge someone who is terminally ill. Give the woman stress-free support and love. That will truly make her life better.
On parenting in "the good old days":
I had two children in the 1960s, then two more in the 1990s, a generation later, and noticed in wonder that I was a different kind of father. With my first family, I was a fairly typical parent for the times. Thirty years later, I was also a pretty typical parent for the times. The change, though I was aware of it, happened unconsciously. I was not imitating or trying to be like anyone else but had adapted, it seems, to a new parenting environment, responding to new cues.
On the strategy of waiting to divorce until the children leave for college:
I was a high school teacher for many years and saw couples wait to split up until their children had gone to college. This was actually rather cruel: The child is having difficulty enough leaving home and parents, and to realize that there isn't even going to be any home there anymore just adds to the pain.
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