Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What Part of 'No' Don't I Understand?

The answer to my question is all of it. The word 'no' isn't in my vocabulary. This isn't because I'm a pushover or because I think I have to be everywhere. It's because I want to be everywhere, and that's maybe even harder.  For more than half of a decade I've been at a point in my life where I was first trying to have children biologically and then have been waiting for an adoption for going on three years. In my head is always the thought, "once we have kids we won't be able to do _____ (fill in the blank) as easily". So I incessantly say yes - to work, to friends, to family. 

Last year I wrote a post about learning to say no, and I declared I would start with baby showers. That has actually been surprisingly easy. First off I don't have a lot of friends having their first children (most of mine are on child number 2 or 3 or more), so there are way fewer showers than there were for a while. I also think the people who know me and love me understand that it's hard. So I'll happily send extravagant gifts to get out of the showers. That part has been easy.

What's harder is saying no to work (in particular travel) and to all the fun things there are to do - football games, tailgates, parties, dinners, drinks, having people over in our new house. I want to do it all - travel for work, have people over, enjoy cocktails, get up and go for a run. I don't want to pick and choose. But then there come those things I have to find time to fit in, things like laundry, trips to the vet, doctor's appointments (of which I have many), reading good books, fitting in running and swimming. It's too much to do it all, and yet I keep trying. I keep pushing, and then I crash. I'll be in bed by 9:15 on the one free night I have in a week. I find it harder to do a long run on Saturday morning because I'm groggy and need an extra cup of coffee. My blood work last week indicated I'm anemic again, so I'm tired in general and pushing through the lethargy to keep going. Saying no doesn't seem like an option.

But why isn't it? I mean really...why not? This upcoming weekend I was registered to run the New York City Marathon, a feat my body decided wasn't going to happen. I said no...although not by choice. My Mountaineers play TCU in Morgantown this weekend as well, and once the weekend opened up I assumed we'd go to the game. But my travel schedule is out of control. When we were in Morgantown for the WVU/Baylor game a few weeks ago, I decided we needed to sell our TCU tickets. I needed a definitive decision about what we were going to do; otherwise I would feel compelled to go to Morgantown instead of having three whole weekends in a row at home.

We sold our TCU tickets for a decent price. The check has been cashed. Then College Game Day announces that they're coming to Morgantown. Damn it! I was immediately regretting that we sold the tickets even though I love the idea of not packing a suitcase for a few weeks. Ultimately this is the right decision, but I'm kicking myself for saying no. We went to College Game Day when it was in Morgantown a few years ago, and it was amazingly fun. I don't want to miss the fun, but I have to say no for my sanity. 

College Game Day in Morgantown in 2011. So. Fun.

It's such a simple word, but it's really difficult to say. I'm in a continually failing effort to be more protective of my time, and that will require saying "no" more often. The brilliant and incomparable Steve Jobs once said, "People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that are out there. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things." Excellent, excellent words to live by.

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