Words of wisdom impart lesson in self-respect

Published 9:14 am Wednesday, March 18, 2020

DEAR ABBY: I have carried a worn clipping of your “Definition of Maturity” with me for many years because it has been inspirational to me. I even gave a copy of it to my younger brother.

Is it part of one of your publications? I feel it is relevant today because both the young and old could use a lesson in respect and self-respect. Can you reprint it? — FRANCES IN DALLAS

DEAR FRANCES: With pleasure! Here it is:

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Maturity is:

The ability to stick with a job until it’s finished.

The ability to do a job without being supervised.

The ability to carry money without spending it.

And the ability to bear an injustice without wanting

To get even.

This definition of maturity is included in my booklet “Keepers,” a compilation of humorous and inspirational items — poems and short essays — that readers have asked me to include in my column because they held special meaning for them. Many, like you, also have said they kept the articles until they were worn and yellowed with age. Many readers suggested the articles be put together in a booklet. Filled with clever observations, “Keepers’” subjects are diverse, covering a variety of topics, including parenting, children, aging, animals, forgiveness, etc. My booklet can be ordered by sending your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to Dear Abby Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price. Filled with down-to-earth nuggets of wisdom, both witty and philosophical, the “Keepers” booklet is an inexpensive, welcome gift for newly married couples, pet lovers or anyone recovering from an illness. It’s also an inspiring, positive, quick and easy read for anyone who could use a lift!


DEAR ABBY: I’ve been friends with “Brenda” for nearly 40 years. We’ve had our share of tough times, but I’ve always been a good friend to her even though it felt one-sided. The last straw for me was a few months ago, when I had major surgery.

I didn’t hear from her for three weeks, and when she did call, she talked about her life the whole time and showed no interest in how I was doing. Brenda has now had major surgery. Two weeks have gone by, and I haven’t called her. I want her to have a taste of her own selfish medicine.

I have been upfront with her in the past that she hasn’t always been there for me. She apologizes but nothing changes. Am I being too sensitive about her lack of caring about anyone but herself? — OVER IT IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR OVER IT: I don’t think so. But if you step back and review your relationship with Brenda, you will realize that it has always been this way. Perhaps it’s time to reevaluate whether maintaining the kind of relationship you have with her is worth the effort because, after 40 years, she isn’t going to change. Either accept her as she is or move on.


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.