If you can’t say anything good about someone, don’t say anything at all! Serendipity column March 2010

Sensitivity to body size, weight, BMI or physical appearance seems a genetic trait in my family. We’re not overly large people, but we are appreciative of good food especially at social events. One son-in-law says we discuss food in greater detail than most. Perhaps he’s right, or perhaps those he spends time with do not possess an avid culinary appreciation. Regardless, we are the people most hosts and hostesses enjoy having for a meal or dessert. As appreciative guests, we savor the goodness and discuss the enjoyment long after the event.

If one is gifted with an extraordinarily efficient metabolism, such as our aforementioned son-in-law, it’s easy to take for granted the ability to eat heartily without those tasty treats reflected in one’s physique. Alas, we are not so gifted and the various delicacies we enjoy increase our size. Life’s not fair, and we know that!

I do find it very interesting how people, and I do not mean my aforementioned son-in-law who is very considerate of our sensitivities, but those with whom we share a casual relationship at best, feel free or obligated to mention another’s weight gain. This may be shocking to those who believe it’s their duty to tell someone “you’re putting on some weight,” but you don’t need to tell anyone that obvious bit of information. Trust me, I know when I’ve crossed the line from “filled out” to “overweight.” And so does everyone else who struggles with pounds and inches.

You’re not doing folks any favors by making them feel bad, guilty, out of control, or any of a long list of negative adjectives. My mother always told me, “If you can’t say anything good about someone, don’t say anything at all.” Yes, I know, there are exceptions and sometimes certain issues must be addressed for the health and well-being of all concerned, but those instances rarely involve a 10-pound weight gain. Should you feel differently, may I recommend allowing a physician to address that subject with the person. Do not assume you are the Prevention Officer for those putting pounds on, however lofty your intentions.

Enough said, and we’ll leave such weighty, pun intended, matters behind. It’s my observation that winter weather plays havoc with one’s disposition. Grumpiness diminishes when the sun shines and the arctic blast of cold air subsides.

During yet another snowfall, an afternoon conversation of the pros and cons of an extended vacation somewhere warm during winter months ensued. We discussed how others would have our tasks to do while we’re gone, and the foolishness of believing anyone is irreplaceable. I’m rethinking my initial opinion and propose a topic addendum. I believe jobs, occupations or tasks, from the prestigious to the mundane are not designed for only one person. But those people we love and with whom we’ve formed a close, personal relationship cannot be replaced. Others can help fill the void created by the absence of another, but no one takes his or her place. The death of loved ones proves that. Even though we love many other people, we still deeply miss those favorite folks no longer in our lives. It’s another reason never to wait to share gratitude and time with another. And it’s a reminder of how quickly time passes, even in the wintertime.

Sandra Dempsey Post

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