While I'm away, readers give the advice.
On being naturally thin in a weight-conscious society
S.: After just having a stressful lunch with some friends, I'd like to shout out that thin people don't like to be mocked any more than overweight people do.
I'm 38 and weigh the same as when I was 18. Let me tell you, I'm not bragging. After 20 years and two kids, nothing looks like it used to or is even in the same place it used to be. I don't have a spectacular figure, just a thin one.
But I'm tired of being accused of calorie-counting, starving myself or exercising constantly. I'm tired of the snickers with sidelong glances from people about how they "enjoy their food" and would "rather be happy than thin." Truth be told, I just don't have a strong relationship with food. I eat when I'm hungry, stop when I'm full, and I've never had a big appetite.
I'm tired of feeling like I can never defend myself for fear of insulting someone. I usually just keep my mouth shut or change the subject.
Just like anyone else, I don't want to be mocked or stereotyped. Can you please remind readers that it's not nice to make comments about someone's weight, regardless of what their weight is?
On an alternative to 'bucket lists': living life every day
Anonymous: Sometime in early sobriety I concluded that I could do anything — or I could drink. You know, alcoholics and addicts spend an inordinate amount of time sitting on barstools talking about what they are "going to do someday."
In those early days I was busting with energy — take a fifth of scotch a day out of a man's life and he has plenty of energy — and needed to do more than sit in AA and talk. The energy was both physical and mental.
So I ran, went back to the gym, swam, focused on my work, came to terms with a bad marriage, etc. And decided to actually engage in some of those pursuits I thought about.
Those early thoughts evolved into the concept of trying something new every year. I learned to fly, became a moderately adept sailor, still work with a trainer at the gym three times a week, took a second master's in a subject unrelated to my other degrees. Doors open that open new doors. Two years ago, my wife and I (second marriage — 28 wonderful years) were on camels in the Sahara. This year I was asked to head the Eucharistic Ministry in my church, taking the sacraments to those most in need.
I've kind of gotten a reputation around AA of pushing those I sponsor to try new things, open their lives.
It works. I could tell you many stories, including that of a woman with such low self-esteem that she didn't think she could possibly go to college in middle life; she long ago got her master's in social work, became a licensed counselor and now works in grief counseling. A couple of guys have hiked the Appalachian Trail.
I suggest you can make life your bucket list. Do something new every year, and every year will be a gift of extraordinary value. So far, no one has told me that trying something new periodically is a lousy idea.