Do you do this? When I’m at the restaurant and scope out the desserts before I order my main. I just don’t want to miss out on something really good because I’m too full. If I say yes to the calamari and the surf and turf and the beautiful soup of the day, that tiramisu will not be finding room in my tummy. So it is in life. If you load up at the salad bar of life, you won’t be going back for the desserts. If I say Yes to one thing then I automatically say No to something else. Too bad life doesn’t come in more of a menu format. Then you could see what you would like later and you could say no to some things up front that would make the ‘dessert’ item in your life impossible.
“Ooh, that trip to Peru looks great, which means I have to stop ordering at Starbucks everyday or I’ll never save the money to get there.”
“Ooh, movie night with my friends looks delicious. I hate to say no to the comedy club and the art gallery show that is opening, but I won’t have the energy to get to all that “
Room. We only have so much room. Like our stomachs, our lives only have so much room. Energy. Not a bottomless supply of that either I’ve noticed.
I have friends that tell me that they don’t say no to anything, they just add stuff in.
The last month I was adding stuff in:
Getting my house ready to sell
Hosting Saturday Afternoon at the opera
Preparing a script to host an opera chorus show by a choir
Learning a new role for April rehearsals
Going on a cruise to Mexico for 7 days
Solo in a choir concert
Interviewing and hosting at an opera event
And still running every other teaching, coaching, kids life thing that came my way.
I added in. I didn’t say no.
But that’s not true. Not really.
WhiIe I didn’t say no to the things I added in, I did say no to rest, peacefulness, recharging my energy, exercise (hot yoga gone out the window for a month and a half) which meant I said yes to headaches, tight shoulders, rough sleep and poor eating which left me getting it all done. Rather than feel victorious at the end of the month, I am left with the image of me avoiding drowning more than anything. Hurray, I kept my head above water again! Not exactly victorious as an image.
No doubt I had some rewarding experiences and I’m proud of much of the work I accomplished this past month, but I’m aware of the nagging feeling that this isn’t how I want to live all the time. That this is not the pace to which I would want to become accustomed to. I’m left feeling a bit like the hamster on the wheel.
So that’s great you say. I hear you. Wow, I feel that way often too! I want to stop and take a break. I want to take care of me and my body and my mental health. What will I say no to? Well, not that. Hmmm. Not that. I can’t say no to that right now. In a few months that will be gone so I can just let that finish out naturally. That one affects too many other people and I can’t let them down, so I can’t say no to that either. You know what. In the summer I will take a break and then in the fall I’ll be sure not to say yes so much.
Sure you will.
I get it. I have some great balls in the air right now and I don’t want to drop any of them. But I also don’t know how long I can juggle effectively. I’d rather catch a few and set them aside, then ruin the whole performance and drop them all.
For further thought:
What am I unwilling to say no to?
Where am I an absolute ‘yes’?
How do I want to feel every day when I get out of bed?
How do I feel today?
Say ‘no’ once today. Start small. If you can’t say no, try “let me get back to you”. Then take a deep breath , walk around the block, remember how you want to feel today and call back and say ‘no’.