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365 Reasons To Smile- Day 201

helpOver the weekend, I received an email from someone whose name I didn’t even recognize. After reading the message, I realized that the sender had gotten married and changed her name.

Obviously, I’m not at all close to this individual, but we had worked on a couple of projects together. That’s why she was contacting me. She was asking me to be a reference on a job she was seeking.

I must admit, I was surprised that she even asked me to be a reference. But I also admit that I was flattered.

But then, being asked to help someone else is always flattering. It also always makes me smile.

Day 201: Being Asked to Help  Day 200: Boys and Their Toys  Day 199: The Most Important Person  Day 198: People With Courage to Do What is Right  Day 197: Being Pleasantly Surprised by My Children  Day 196: Being Told I’m Young  Day 195: Good News  Day 194: Meaningful Eye Contact   Day 193: A Sense of Accomplishment Day 192: Growing Into the Person I’ll Someday Be  Day 191:  Matt Groening  Day 190: Tuning Out Bad News and Tuning In to What We Enjoy  Day 189: Parents Who Encourage Independence  Day 188: Watching Young Minds at Work  Day 187: Funny Phone Calls  Day 186: Healthy Lungs  Day 185: Reality Checks Day  184: Coincidence  Day 183: Lame Attempts to Go Retro  Day 182: Learning From Our Mistakes  Day 181: Goofy Childhood Memories  Day 180: A soak in a bathtub  Day 179: Optimism  Day 178: The Year’s Top Baby Names  Day 177: Reading on a Rainy Day   Day 176: “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey  Day 175: Watching the Torch Pass  Day 174: Converse Tennis Shoes  Day 173: Family Acceptance  Day 172: Christmas Day 171: The Mr. Grinch Song  Day 170: Positive People  Day 169: Watching Movies From my Childhood With My Kids  Day 168:  Jealous Pets   Day 167:  Family Christmas Recipes  Day 166:  Church BellsDay 165:  School Holiday   164: Unexpected Grace  Day 163: Letting Go of Things We Can’t Control  Day 162: Anticipating a good story   Day 161: Hope  Day 160:  When Dogs Try to Avoid Embarrassment  Day 159: Surprises in the Mail  Day 158: Kids who aren’t superficial  Day 157:  A Garage on Winter Days    Day 156:  Real Christmas Trees    Day 155: Being a Parent   Day 154: Selfless People Day 153:  Nelson Mandela  Day 152: Memorable Road Trips  Day 151: Great Neighbors  Day 150: Oscar Wilde’s quote about being yourself   Day 149:  Love Letters  Day 148:  The first day of Advent  Day 147: The Breakfast Club   Day 146: Marriage and Shared Anniversaries 145: JFK’s quote about gratitude  Day 144:  Watching My Dog Play   Day 143: Having my Family’s Basic Needs Met  Day 142:  When Our Children Become Role Models  Day 141: Random Acts of Kindness  Day 140; People Watching  Day 139: Sharing Interests with My Children  Day 138: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Best Advice  Day 137: Weird Human Behavior about Garbage  Day 136: Postcards from Heaven  Day 135: Mickey Mouse  Day 134: Generous Souls  Day 133: I’m Moving On  Day 132: A Family That is Really Family  Day 131:   A Personal Motto  Day 130:  Mork and Mindy  Day 129: The Bears’ House  Day 128:  Veterans  Day 127: Doppelgangers  Day 126: Letting Life Unfold as It Should  Day 125: The Constantly Changing Sky  Day 124: When History Repeats Itself   Day 123: The Love Scene in The Sound of Music Day 122:  Helen Keller  Day 121:  The Welcome Back Kotter Theme Song  Day 120: Sheldon Cooper  Day 119: Having Permission to Make Mistakes  Day 118: A Diverse Group of Friends  Day 117:  Family Traditions Day 116: The Haunting Season  Day 115; Life Experience Day 114:  Changes  Day 113:  The Wooly Bear Caterpillar  Day 112: The National Anthem  Day 111: Parents Who Care   Day 110: Good Friends Day 109:  My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss  Day 108:  A.A. Milne QuotesDay 107: Spending Time Wisely Day 106: Parades  Day 105:  The Peanuts Gang Dancing   Day 104:  Sharing a Secret Language   Day 103:  The Electric Company  Day 102:  Doing the Right Thing  Day 101:  When Siblings Agree  Day 100: Being Optimistic  Day 99: Trying Something New   Day 98:  The Sound of Children on a Playground  Day97: Good Advice  Day 96: Red and white peppermint candy  Day 95:  The Soundtrack from the Movie Shrek Day 94:  Accepting Change    Day 93:  True Love     Day 92: Camera Phones   Day 91: Bicycle Brakes    Day 90:  HeroesDay 89: The Cricket in Times Square  Day 88:  The Grand Canyon  Day 87: Unanswered Prayers Day 86: Apples Fresh from the Orchard Day 85: Being Human  Day 84: Captain Underpants  Day 83: The Diary of Anne Frank  Day 82: In Cold Blood Day 81: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry  Day 80: The Outsiders   Day 79:  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Day 78: The First Amendment Day77: People Who Touch Our Lives   Day 76:  The Rewards of Parenting    Day 75:  Improvements   Day 74:  Family Traditions   Day 73: Learning From Our Mistakes  Day 72: Live Music  Day 71:  Sleeping In  Day 70:  Grover  Day 69:  A Good Hair Day   Day 68:  A Sense of Community   Day 67: Kindness   Day 66: Living in a Place You Love   Day 65: Gifts from the Heart   Day 64: The Arrival of Fall  Day 63: To Kill a Mockingbird   Day 62: Green LightsDay 61:  My Canine Friends  Day 60:  Differences   Day 59:  A New Box of Crayons   Day 58: Bookworms  Day 57: Being Oblivious  Day 56: Three-day Weekends  Day 55:  A Cat Purring  Day 54: Being a Unique Individual   Day 53: Children’s Artwork  Day 52: Lefties  Day 51: The Neighborhood Deer  Day 50: Campfires  Day 49: Childhood Crushes  Day  48: The Words “Miss You”  Day 47:  Birthday Stories   Day 46: Nature’s Hold on Us  Day 45:  Play-Doh   Day 44: First Day of School Pictures  Day 43: Calvin and Hobbes  Day 42: Appreciative Readers  Day 41: Marilyn Monroe’s Best Quote   Day 40:  Being Silly  Day 39:  Being Happy Exactly Where You Are  Day 38: Proud Grandparents  Day 37: Chocolate Chip Cookies   Day 36: Challenging Experiences that Make Great Stories  Day 35: You Can’t Always Get What You Want  Day 34:  Accepting the Fog    Day 33: I See the Moon  Day 32: The Stonehenge Scene from This is Spinal Tap  Day 31: Perspective  Day 30:  Unlikely Friendships  Day 29: Good Samaritans  Day 28:  Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet?    Day 27: Shadows  Day 26: Bike Riding on Country Roads  Day 25: When Harry Met Sally  Day 24: Hibiscus   Day 23: The Ice Cream Truck  Day 22:  The Wonderful World of Disney   Day 21: Puppy love  Day 20 Personal Theme Songs  Day 19:  Summer Clouds  Day 18: Bartholomew Cubbin’s VictoryDay 17:  A Royal Birth    Day 16:  Creative Kids  Day 15: The Scent of Honeysuckle   Day 14: Clip of Kevin Kline Exploring His MasculinityDay 13: Random Text Messages from My Daughter     Day 12:  Round Bales of HayDay 11:  Water Fountains for Dogs    Day 10: The Rainier Beer Motorcycle Commercial Day 9: Four-Leaf Clovers  Day 8: Great Teachers We Still RememberDay  7:  Finding the missing sock   Day 6:  Children’s books that teach life-long lessonsDay 5: The Perfect Photo at the Perfect Moment   Day 4:  Jumping in Puddles  Day   3: The Ride Downhill after the Struggle Uphill    Day 2: Old Photographs  Day 1: The Martians on Sesame Street

Is that a Compliment or Are You Just Trying to Confuse Me?

I used to think a compliment was a compliment.

Of course I also used to think that life was like a math equation.

That is, I thought that if you did the right thing, then good things would happen to you. And, if you were greedy,  mean or cold-hearted, then bad things would happen. In other words, in the balance sheet of life, everything would add up.

I also believed that if you watched what you ate and exercised on a regular basis, there was no reason you shouldn’t be able to fit in the same sized jeans you wore in high school.

I was clearly delusional.

Now that I’m older, I’m a bit more realistic.

I also find myself analyzing every compliment I receive.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those people who thinks all  compliments are back-handed or have some hidden meaning.

I’ve simply found that compliments say more about the people who give them than about the people who receive them.  They provide great insight into motivations and personalities.

For example, I used to go absolutely crazy with friends who would criticize people behind their back only to make insincere compliments to their faces.

Not that I necessarily felt the need to be rude to people whom I disliked or didn’t respect (at least most of the time), but I certainly didn’t feel  the need to lavish them with phony compliments.

But, to be fair, that’s a trait that can actually be very beneficial. Personally, my lack of it has cost me dearly at times. Because what I figured out was  that the people who give such compliments simply want to keep the peace. It’s more important to them than being self-righteous. That’s very admirable.

Not that I’ve been able to change my ways all that much, but at least I understand.

What I’m still trying to understand are the compliments that come from my own family.

I didn’t grow up in a family that threw compliments around. And I didn’t marry into one either.

That’s not a bad thing at all, because the compliments that I did receive are definitely memorable…not necessarily ones to treasure.. but definitely memorable.

Take my husband.

Nearly 20 years ago, before we were married, he told me that I was “a worker.” He then explained. “That’s the highest compliment you could receive from my mom’s side of the family. ”

The effect of this compliment was short-lived when I realized that, while his grandmother may have appreciated  “a worker,” my husband had higher regard for people who can sit back, relax, enjoy life, and watch  the same episodes of a favorite television show over and over and over.. AND OVER again. Based on that, I’m surprised he married a woman who has a hard time sitting still for five minutes and feels guilty if she’s not accomplishing something 24 hours a day.

More recently, I was confused by what, I think, was intended as a compliment from him.

We were discussing why married couples complain about their spouse’s personality traits.  My comment was that personality traits don’t change no matter how long you are married, so they shouldn’t have gotten married to begin with if they were that annoyed.

This  led to the question as to whether people can and do change and inevitably to my asking “have I changed?”

My husband thought about it a minute, then told me I had. When I asked how, he said “You’re more mature.”

To put this in perspective, my husband has complete disdain for women whom he considers “immature.” I’m not exactly clear what his exact definition of immature is, but I think it has something to do with people who get upset when the world doesn’t revolve around them, or who expect life to constantly be exciting or who put their own wants and desires above all else.  That’s based solely  on my keeping a list of all the people, mostly women, who he has identified as “immature.”

Logically, one would think that the definitions of mature and immature would be exact opposites.

But, in this case,  I’m not so sure.  Because after considering if I had ever been one of those women, I realized that, for the most part, I hadn’t been. So his definition had to mean something else. But when I asked him what he meant, he couldn’t explain, and I was a bit worried.

Maybe because when I hear the word mature, I immediately picture a matronly woman buying clothes in the “old  lady”  section of the local department store.

I’m not there.. yet.

So, I gave up trying to figure out exactly what my husband meant and just decided to take it as a compliment. After, all, as I said before, compliments say a lot about the person who gives them.  And my husband is a great judge of a character, so he had to mean something positive.

At least I’m pretty sure.