As in all fields of business, farming has apparently certain unspoken rules of behavior. My cousin mentioned this when he spoke of an interaction between him and a farmer friend. My cousin had asked how the farmer had fared that year, and the farmer told him his guess of their “yield.” The farmer asked how the farm which my cousin had helped with had ended up. My cousin said, “well, not as good as you, we only hit about [2 lower than the farmer’s estimate].”

This, my friends, was a farming faux pas. When you’re second to name a yield, you always name bigger. Yes, my lady friends, it’s a peeing contest. 
But this is what I also really appreciate about my cousin. He didn’t feel the need to inflate himself. It was what it was. He thought it was a decent yield. The fact that the other farmer fared a bit better didn’t change his performance, so he felt no need to enhance the facts. 
Similarly, while at the lake this weekend, my other cousin started telling a tale of his wife. Quite literally, he distracted her from chewing him out for something by mentioning how shiny her ring was. Their dual retelling of the story was spot-on; I told them I didn’t know which I enjoyed more, the existence of the story or the delivery. 
But this cousin, the one easily distracted by shiny things, joined right in to tell what happened. To many, they might not feel that it would cast them in an unfavorable light. But she found the whole thing hilarious. She felt no need to be embarrassed or to cover up. She didn’t dress it up or give excuses. 
I enjoy being around this cousin because she is so comfortable with who she is. She doesn’t believe she’s perfect, but she is okay with who she is and what her life has become. There’s no pretending nor an expectation to pretend. This cousin loves beautiful things, and is a beautiful lady, but it’s the kind of real-deal beauty that is found in the purest form. Not by dressing it up as something it’s not, but by putting on display what is naturally there. 
As I’m put into the position of finding a new set of friends (not to replace the old, mind you, just to fill my time while I’m here), I’ve been reflecting on what it is that makes me inclined to spend my time with someone. What makes conversation flow? Certainly, they must be as hilarious as me (bah!). But I’ve also decided this trait of comfort-in-her-own-skin is one of the key qualities. I’m too old to be pretending I’m something that I’m not, nor will ever be. I don’t have enough energy to put on pretenses. And interacting with this confidence inspires my own to be confirmed. It’s contagious. 
I’m one of those lucky ones that loves my family because they’re family but also likes them because they’re super people; though I told stories of 2 of them, I could certainly come up with examples for many of the others. And of my friends. I’m just now realizing how important this quality is. I hope I’m living it to them as well. 
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