Lydia's Advice Column

Do you feel lost sometimes? Do you try to reach out but it feels like no one is listening? Are you having trouble at work? Issues with your intimate partner(s) or friends? Family problems? Ethical quandaries? Religious questions? Stress or sadness? Bad habits? Confusing situations? Small decisions? Big questions? How's your sex life? Writer's block? Money problems? Cat got your tongue? Have you made a mistake that you don't know how to fix? Are you doing the right thing? Don't know how to proceed? Do you need something that you don't know how to ask for? Do you need help communicating? Could you use a sounding board? Someone to give you new ideas? Are you looking for a solution? Do you need advice?

Ask Lydia for advice here

Please note that submitters’ questions have been edited for length and clarity.

Dear Lydia,

How do you pick a city to live in? This is my biggest issue right now.

Here are the factors you should take into account: proximity to family; proximity to friends; job prospects; housing options; means of transportation common in the city; activities and outings common in the city; weather. Do you have a partner? A pet? A car? A job? Lots of furniture? Do you need a separate studio space? What do you love most about your current city? Consider these things too.

Dear Lydia,

I hate my body hair! I hate shaving, I hate waxing, and Nair-type products don't do anything. I know I'm probably just being self-conscious, but I feel like I'm hairier than others and wish it would all just go away. Any advice?

Body hair is great! And I bet you're not even the hairiest one in the room. You need to try really, really hard to free yourself from standards and comparison (though I know it's not all in your head - society is a real thing).

I myself have purchased two Instagram products in the past year. One was a $5 strawberry, and one was a Billie razor. Prior to this purchase, I always just stole free razors from gym locker rooms, and I thought anyone who paid money for razors was an idiot. Well, hello Covid, no more gym locker rooms! I'm glad I was forced to buy a razor, though - the packaging is fun, the actual razor is fun, and I love the little holder it comes with (it actually sticks to my shower wall and has never fallen off). Try it, only $9!

One last thing - try shaving one leg one day, and then the other leg the next day. It cuts the shaving time in half and makes it less imposing, so you might be more likely to do it. I only shave about once every other month, when the idea of getting into clean sheets with smooth legs happens to pop into my mind. Doesn't that sound so nice? Just thinking about it makes me want to shave tonight!

Dear Lydia,

HELP!!! Every night, I have vivid, detailed dreams in which I speak to people I've been avoiding in real life, do things I've been putting off in real life, etc. When I wake up, I think I've done them already and then remember halfway through the day that it was all my subconscious. It feels like I'm gaslighting myself! How do I stop having these dreams?

Interesting! I have always felt that the best feeling in the world is waking up from a nightmare and realizing it was only a dream; this sounds like the opposite, and I'm sorry about that. These are stress dreams, and the only way to resolve them is to get to the root of the problem. I suggest planning a terrible day where you do all the things you've been procrastinating. It is so freeing! You could even drink a coffee in the morning to kick off the day. I know this is the advice you've probably already been given, but there's really no way around it. Just remember that a half-hearted and shoddy attempt at addressing the victims of your procrastination would do the trick - it doesn't need to be perfect, or even very thorough.

Dear Lydia,

If God were a woman, how would the world be different?

God is already a woman - the real question is how would the world be different if its inhabitants believed this fundamental truth?

Dear Lydia,

I am wondering if I should convert to Catholicism. Give me a sign!

It depends what religion you’re converting from. Jewish? Don't convert. Anything else? Fair game!

Dear Lydia,

Should I do a PhD?

No, absolutely not.

Dear Lydia,

I am having some outer knee pain after jogging. Could you suggest some exercises?

I'm so glad you asked this! Commonly known as the "IT band," I think you're feeling some issues with your iliotibial band! The pain is probably from overuse - have you recently begun jogging more than you previously were? I suggest RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) after runs, if you have time. You should also foam roll your legs and you could try a shorter stride when you run (sounds crazy, but see if it helps!).

You should also work on building strength in the surrounding areas - planks, all kinds of squats, glute bridges, baby! Oh, and are you wearing super supportive sneakers? Please tell me you have either Brooks or Asics - no Nike!!!

Dear Lydia,

If I sneeze with my mask on, should I cover my mouth? Feels weird to, feels weird not to...

Yes, there's no harm done in sneezing into an elbow, regardless of whether you're wearing a mask.

Lydia's Unsolicited Advice Column

  1. You need to be in the process in order to develop.
  2. Listen to others
  3. Be a good person and do so quietly
  4. To get across a busy street, take a right and then a left
  5. Hold onto the ends of your shirt sleeves when putting on a jacket or coat

Ask Lydia for advice here