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Reader adores audiobooks

Dear Annie: I am in my mid-20s and spend at least two hours a day in the car driving to and from work. I live in Northern Virginia and work in Washington, D.C., and rush-hour traffic here is a nightmare.

I was getting so stressed. The situation got so bad that I told my boyfriend that I had to either quit my job or move into an apartment in the city. I just couldn’t take sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for so many hours every day, week after week.

He suggested that I try audiobooks and helped me set up an app to listen to books through my cellphone. This has totally changed my perspective, and I wanted to share my story in case it helps other readers of your column.

Mainly, I listen to self-improvement audiobooks, and there are so many interesting ones. I also like biographies of interesting people. I feel like I am transported to another time and place and consciously remind myself to ignore the traffic jams and just sit back and relax and enjoy.

I arrive at work with a positive attitude — especially if I have listened to a motivational book — and I arrive at home feeling more relaxed.

As I was searching for different audiobooks, I was surprised to see that you have recorded one, “Ask Me Anything.” I have been listening to it during my commute and want to thank you for recording such an interesting audiobook.

One person reads the question, and you read the answer. I know that these are from columns as I recognized a number of them. It’s amazing how many times, even though I had read the column before, I forgot your answer. Then, when you read it out loud, I was impressed again by your empathy and sound advice. — Less Stressed

Dear Less Stressed: Thank you for your letter, and you should know that you have made me less stressed. I am really glad you enjoyed the audiobook, which was recorded with my co-writer, Courtney Davison, who read the questions while I read the answers.

Using audiobooks as a way to train your mind not to focus on long, rush-hour commutes — to get lost in other people’s stories — is a wonderful idea. Thanks again for sharing.

Dear Annie: In the last few months, several friends and family members have been hospitalized, died or admitted to rehab or continuing care facilities. In each case, the patients’ spouse has been left with financial obligations they are ill-equipped to handle.

I implore all families to learn whatever passwords are needed for online access to the bank accounts, investments, etc. Their power of attorney or other entrusted individuals will need these to pay bills, keep up with annuity, pensions, Social Security payments and overall economic resources.

We have friends that, with their spouses hospitalized, have no idea how to pay their bills. Some do not even have their partners listed on their bank accounts. Others have no clue what their spouse wants their final wishes to be. Some have no will in place nor a health care surrogate. While some partners might think they are sparing others unwanted responsibility, they are, instead, burdening them with unknown information and fostering ignorance.

Please, Annie, educate your readers! Thank you. — Florida Fan

Dear Florida Fan: Thank you for the reminder to be prepared in case of emergencies. Health crises can be hard enough without endless calls to customer service lines to recover passwords. I’d love to hear from readers who have successfully created plans to avoid burdening loved ones with these.

(Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. This column is syndicated by Creators Syndicate columnists. Visit the website at www.creators.com.)

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