Monday, November 1, 2010

Saying Yes

Overlooking Tallulah Gorge last weekend

[this ran in the paper last Thursday, but I wanted to share here as well :) ]

We all know about Just Say No.  I have no intention, or desire, to reenact everyone's middle school assemblies of yore.  Instead, I'm here to ruminate on something quite the opposite - saying "yes."  

Saying "yes" - stark contradiction to the sage advice of women's magazines everywhere.  I've seen countless articles and quick internet tips about how to balance out a chaotic life by learning to say "no" when your plate gets too full.  Many people take on too many responsibilities and are left in the midst of a failing juggling act.  One must learn to turn down the offer to decorate six thousand cupcakes for the school bake sale, or to work another sunny Saturday, or to attend so many parties one forgets where she lives.  Et cetera. 

However, there are others (me) who (accidentally) aren't so overextended and spend a good deal of time doing a plate-full of nothing.  Sure, I'm busy at work, and Laundry Mountain is always waiting impatiently for me to get home.  But I'm not elbow-deep in extracurriculars here.  Nonetheless, I frequently find myself thinking and saying "no."  Saying no to an offer to meet friends for dinner, saying no to volunteer tutoring, saying no to the fun stuff in life.  Often, this "no" is tied to a big fat excuse (or, BFE, as I like to call it).  Rationalization at it's finest.

Why?  Frankly, it's easier to say no than to embrace a challenge or go outside of my comfort zone.  An opportunity presents itself, and BFE rears it's ugly head.  I'm too busy.  I have to do the dishes. I need to do something else with my time.  And honestly, often it's easier to plunk down on the couch and get lost in TV land.  

But I don't want to be that way.  I don't want to check out.  I want to be more, do more, experience more.  I want to shine.  Easy for me to say, right?  If only it were always that easy.  No, I don't have to conquer the world in a day, but I do need to stop using "no" as my go-to answer (within reason, naturally, let's not get carried away).  The experiences I have been turning down are once in a lifetime, every time, no matter how big or how small.  We only get one chance to make memories and share moments.  So for this girl, it's baby steps moving forward, one "yes" at a time.


  1. I've been following for a bit now, but I think this post really resonates with me. I, too, and a frequent, "no"-er. It is easier to say no than to say yes, and put yourself out there...and I've found that after awhile, people stop inviting you because they know you'll just say no. Good luck with your yes endeavor!

  2. Good for you! I can relate to this post. I often turn down plans after work because I'm so worried about being alert and together for the next day in the office. But then my life just becomes all about work! I think it's all about finding the right balance of work/fun/obligations/spontaneity. Good luck in your new challenge and have fun!

  3. It's funny because a friend just (yesterday) offered to take Jacob out for lunch with her son and their friends since it was min. day. She asked if I wanted to go as well, with Hailey. I automatically started to respond that I can't ("too many things to do") and then I stopped myself and asked myself, "WHY would you say 'no' to a simple lunch invitation??? I have to eat anyways!" I did end up going, and had a great time... because I said "yes":).

  4. Great article, Claire. I tend to be a chronic yes-er, and it gets me in trouble. It's give and take, I suppose.

  5. Good stuff here Claire! I was a no-er for a long time before becoming a yes-er and I've never regretted it. So what if I regret agreeing to make 60 cupcake cones with an infant next to me...the little birthday girl loved em and in the end I'm glad I volunteered.

    Cute pic too, likin your sunglasses!

  6. I tend to say yes to much. And it takes a toll. I have recently been doing better (Tommy's a good excuse) but I don't want to get into a "No" habit either. It's a delicate balance.

  7. And that should be too. Emily shouldn't drink wine and read blogs.


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