Dear Zelda,

I was so excited to learn that you will be giving advice in your new column.  I've loved the wisdom in your books and on your cards, so here's my question. I will be turning 50 this year.  I've been a teacher for the past 25 years and I'd like to try something new.  Is 50 too late, and what advice can you give me as to where and how to begin?

Mid-life Maiden

Dear Maiden,

At 50, you've just begun to bloom. It's NEVER too late for a new school of thought. Start by taking a double recess and reflecting not only on what you like to do, but what you do better than anyone else. List the ways you could earn money doing it, then strategize and mobilize. That might include networking, researching online recruiters, furthering your education, attending job fairs, or hitting up Uncle Lotsamula for a loan to set up a home business. Chalk up one for exploring beyond your classroom comfort-zone. Check out Winning the Job Game: The New Rules for Finding and Keeping the Job You Want, by Carol Kleiman. It might ring your bell.

Incidentally, my 'human mom' was 52 when she started Zelda Wisdom, Inc. and six years later, she has never been happier. So, leap and a net will appear.

Zelda

Dear Zelda,

Happy to hear about your new column.  I need some help.  I am a middle-aged married woman, but I have a next-door neighbor who keeps suggesting that we "get together." He's my age, and has a wife of his own.  How do I discourage him without ruining our neighborly friendship?

Just Neighborly

Dear Neighborly,

Thanks for your email and inquiry. I wouldn't stress about your neighbor unless Fred Affair starts tapping on your bedroom window some night. Until then, tweak his suggestion and plan a spouses-included get-together. If he keeps two-stepping toward you, tell him to go dance to a different tune on a different block.  Your neighborliness doesn't include any over-the-fence-fling. You might need to hose him down with some cold water.

Zelda

Dear Zelda,

Seeing as how you are a dog, I have a canine question.  My dog is 7 years old, or 49 in people years.  I love him so much and am afraid that something might happen to him.  I think if I got a puppy, my dog would get more exercise and I might be able to handle the eventual loss if I had a second dog to take care of.  I know you live in a house with two other dogs.  Is that good or bad?  What's your advice?

Owner of  a Middle-Aged Mutt

Dear Owner,

Thanks for asking my advice about canine companions.  Living in a house with Zoe and ZeeZee is very good, always hilarious, and often hectic... especially when we all covet the same chewie.  We thrive on cuddles and love.  Romping with a playmate revs up the heart and brings out the inner puppy.  For a dog owner going through the loss of one dog while the other is by your side would definitely help you cope.  Bear in mind, however,  your angelic dog will be waiting for you to take him for a walk around the block in heaven.

Zelda