By Susan Deitz

June 29, 2016 3 min read

DEAR SUSAN: Months ago, we discussed being alone and feeling cheated by life. It's a good topic and a good reminder. You can always find things other people have that you don't have. But focusing on what you don't have, which can at times be motivating, is more often downright discouraging and sometimes even poisonous to the soul. A good balance? Appreciate everything you have while being careful not to stagnate. Conclusion? You can look to do more, be more, learn more and experience more while being happy and grateful for what is already in your life. — From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Your logic makes great good sense. Contentment can be a cheap excuse for laziness and surrendering your dreams. But lately, I find myself contradicting myself by using the C-word in place of "happiness." Could be a function of word overuse or preferring the novelty of a new word, but I think not. More likely, it's a result of wider experience — part of growing up and older — an adjustment quite significant and powerful. After all, words do have a great deal of power; they can change a mood, alter a conversation.

Agree or not, please think about it. And let me know your thoughts, in your very own words. (Every pun intended.) I truly believe that the word "contentment" is a maturity mark, toning down sky-high expectations of life, love and other goodnesses.

DEAR READERS: For your upcoming summer nights, some questions to ask yourself as you're being drawn to a love magnet. Warning: High voltage!

—Can I be myself with this person? (This is a killer. Often you don't need to read any more questions.)

—Do I truly like this someone, as well as feel love for him or her?

—How will I feel when sex loses its titillating newness?

—Do the two of us see the future in pretty much the same way, with similar goals and values?

—How certain am I that this is the person I want to be with for the rest of my life?

—How would I feel about living with this person for a short time to test our compatibility?

—Is this person solid, grounded, stable?

Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at [email protected]

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