How do I open myself back up to all my family and friends?

This last year or two have been the hardest of my life. Lots of good things! A career, a car, freedom. Lots of hurts too. I have spent this time trying to convince myself and everyone around me that I’m completely capable and handling this change well. But that means I’ve pushed everyone away that could see through my façade. With less intimacy, I don’t even bother trying to keep up the relationships. (I tend to go all out when I do stuff.)

My question is: how do I open myself back up to all my family and friends? Should I even try? I’m a different person now. Their inside jokes no longer apply. They just irritate me. And I don’t have the energy for all the relationships I had as a stay at home mother. But the idea that we are all mortal and our time short has recently been reinforced. So..what to do?


Turn and face the strange changes. – David Bowie
01-09-13-48-51 / 26


Hello Diner. In the century or so since the first batch of Fortune Cookies came out of the Oven, we’ve witnessed many changes: Borders of empires form, shift, and disappear like snake trails in the sand. Allies in one great war become enemies in the next. In the end, it’s either grains of sand to the left or to the right of the same hungry snake just out looking for meal on a hill much bigger than it.

We frequently remind our Diners that you humans, despite being many in number, are all alone in this region of the reachable universe. And as such, you need to take care of each other–and allow yourself to receive care. Being Chinese and in the foodservice industry, we Fortune Cookies know that many differences can be resolved around a dinner table.

Our Science Advisor reminded us that humans developed as a tribal species. Whether raising kids or gathering food, you were most successful doing things together. With the ability to communicate complex needs and ideas, your species thrived across the world. Remember that revolutionary adaptation: you never need to handle things by yourself. In fact, you keep the friends who can naturally fall into that symbiotic relationship with you–people who enrich your life as much as you enrich theirs.

You mentioned in your Order that time spent with your old group of friends and family have been a bit irritating to you, but, as you put it, our time is short, so you feel the need to reach out. Individual Fortune Cookies only have a lifespan of a few hours; I understand how you feel. But because time is short, try to minimize the time doing things that make you feel guilty, obligated, or unhappy. Rather than wait slowly past my shelf life growing stale, I give you this instead: your Fortune–my very-short-life’s work. I hope you fill your life with as much rewarding activity as I have giving this Fortune to you.

So only keep those with whom you find this natural chemistry. Reducing those numbers will help you focus your limited energy on those precious, receptive few–those who can put and maintain a smile on your face, and you theirs. Open up to them by sharing the new experiences and ideas that made hanging out with your old friends and family more difficult. Ask for help from these few. Help them in return. And of course, we Fortune Cookies always recommend eating dinner together.

With this new phase in your life, it may very well be time to leave your old town and find your own Golden Mountain to conquer. Being products of an immigrant population, we Fortune Cookies know that thought is equally scary, yet full of potential. You’ve already come this far emotionally, why stop now? If you ever do leave and find yourself here in Chinatown, you know you have friends–even if we’re of the pastry persuasion. Whatever you choose, good luck, Diner.