A group of ladies and I are reading Shonda Rhimes’ New York Times Bestselling Novel, “Year of Yes.” So far it has proven to be a very witty but powerful novel about self-reflection and change. To avoid revealing the story, I’ll just say this, Shonda relates how years of saying “no” to new engagements and opportunities had left her feeling unhappy and unfulfilled. In an effort to correct this, she makes a commitment to saying “yes” for an entire year.
Now the group with whom I’m reading this book is simply a circle of ladies, who have committed to reading together and sharing our thoughts on this book. Most of us are women of a certain age who have become friends, old and new. During one of our meetings, a few of the ladies shared some inspiring reasons why personally, they have decided to start saying “yes” more frequently in their own lives. One declaration however, really resonated with me. To paraphrase it went something like this, “I have lived for 50+ years and I do not have another 50+ more years to live, and that’s why I’m saying yes.”
To me that was very profound, in fact that was my truth. The reality is, that was the truth for many of us on that call and I’m guessing it is for some of you reading this post.
We’re often in the habit of saying “no” simply to avoid leaving our comfort zones. We make excuses of being too busy, too scared, too tired or too alone. We fear the uncertainties that come along with trying new things so we say “no” to people and opportunities that could have probably made a lasting impact in our lives. We say “no” and as result we miss out on experiences that could have potentially, encouraged us, saved up, lifted us, blessed us, or at the very least, created some beautiful memories to last a lifetime.
As we get older and our remaining lives get shorter, continuing to say “no” leaves us with even less opportunities to say “yes”. Habitually saying no at any age is self-defeating, but let’s face it, as our friend alluded to on that call, as we get to a certain age there will be even less time ahead of us to experience new things. So let me just say this, whatever age you are, but especially if you’re in your winter years, if you’re in the habit of always saying “no”, you owe it to yourself to start learning how to say “yes.”
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