Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Don't Be So Quick with that NO

“Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country, say yes to meet new friends, say yes to learn something new. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job, and your spouse, and even your kids. Even if it's a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means that you will do something new, meet someone new, and make a difference. Yes lets you stand out in a crowd, be the optimist, see the glass full, be the one everyone comes to. Yes is what keeps us all young.”
-Eric Schmidt to the 2012 Graduating Class of UC Berkely, Google Executive Chairman

Most women don't have trouble taking on more and more responsibilities and commitments. Many of us have reached critical breaking points in our lives where we finally had to put our foot down, and learned how to say "NO." We may have had to be diplomatic, soft-spoken, and congenial to assuage our guilt, but we finally found our voices, and stood up for our well-being.  

What I'm talking about today isn't THOSE kind of experiences.  I am talking about opportunities to try something new, to expand our circle of friends, to develop new skills and knowledge. These experiences will expand who we are, and ultimately, increase our health, intelligence, and love.

As a parent, I've always tried to say "yes," unless a situation seemed dangerous. Like my mother, I didn't want "NO" to be the word my kids remember my saying most. When any question started with, "Mom, can we..."  I was very aware that I should embrace anything that would be fun, bring us closer together, or teach us something, even if it would be inconvenient.  

I said yes to many things:  water balloons, impromptu picnics, watching the sunrise or a meteor shower, forts in the living room, sleeping on the trampoline, reading the Boxcar children during summer lunchtimes in the treehouse, having sleepovers with friends, baking cookies, going to Seven Peaks.

Now that I've retired, I am trying to keep things fresh by saying yes to new experiences for myself.  This summer we've tried juicing, I took a road trip to Denver with my 15 year old, I was a bridesmaid in my little sister's wedding, I went to the Marysvale Ladies' Luncheon...

This week, when I was invited to a book study group, I said YES. When my college roommate suggested a Girlie Getaway, I jumped all over it. When a colleague invited me to the Storytelling Festival in Provo Canyon, I took her up on it. Staying on the lookout for opportunities to step outside of my comfort zone is going to be the norm for me.

One of my favorite quotes on my Mary Engelbreit calendar says, "'Why not' is a slogan for an interesting life." (Mason Cooley) I agree. If I can't find a good reason NOT to do something, there are probably some good reasons to do it! 

To what have you said yes lately?  What new adventures are awaiting you?  Be ready. Opportunities will present themselves very soon, and when they do, take a big breath, and say YES.


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