Just Say “Yes”
Saying “No” to the R-Word
I say “No” far too often, particularly when saying “Yes” interferes with the R-word—responsibility. Saying “Yes” doesn’t make the R-word go away. In fact, not much makes the R-word go away once we reach post-teen, early adult years.
That R-word was foisted on me at a too-young age, so I feel it keenly. It’s ingrained, too ingrained, and prevents me from saying “Yes,” even when Yes is reasonable and even warranted.
Earlier today, I said “No.” No, I would not spend some time with my son sitting at the Indian River Lagoon’s edge, even though as he said, “It’s such a beautiful day.” I said “No” to one R-word—River—and “Yes” to that other R-word—responsibility. I noted the disappointment on my son’s face, but feeling rather grown up, I went to my office and sat at my desk. I had no deadlines to meet. My objective was to write. Still thinking about the River, I wrestled with myself, and I recalled that prolific author Steven Pressfield says “No” to golf and pretty much everything when he’s writing. So I would write. I didn’t have a detailed writing plan, however, and I felt rather uninspired.
I then remembered that Pressfield also goes for a walk every day, whereby he recharges his creative batteries. I noted the charge on my personal creative battery was flashing, like my cell phone or my camera, just before it’s ready to die out and turn itself off.
R-word aside, I realized (another R-word) I wouldn’t get much writing done, or desk clearing, or paperwork accomplished in the hour I’d spend at the Lagoon. I also realized that an hour at the Lagoon would replenish (one more) those batteries as well as nurture my creative spirit and my psyche.
I tucked in the iMac so it could have a good “sleep” and told my son I changed my mind. He was surprised and happy, even though I had to define carpe diem for him.
Saying “Yes,” stepping away, stepping out, spending only slivers of time at the water’s edge revived me with a touch of salt in the air, shore sounds, pelicans diving for a late breakfast, blue sky, blue water, sunlight shimmering, sitting, talking, laughing.
Renewed—one more R-word—but that’s how I feel, also relieved I loosened the shackles of that not-so-great R-word simply by saying “Yes.”
Pause, for just a moment, the next time you feel the urge to say no. What might happen if you were to say “Yes”?