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The Delicate Balance Between Saying Yes and Saying No

Posted Jan 13 2013 6:21pm

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. This year Eric and I did an event gift for my brother and sister for Christmas. We got together yesterday to actually do it, and it included a day trip up to Portsmouth, New Hampshire where we visited three breweries ( Smuttynose Brewing Company , Redhook Brewery , Portsmouth Brewery ) and delicious pizza restaurant called Flatbread Company.  

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It was a fantastic day with wonderful people that I am very lucky to have in my life. 


I have blogged before about how one of my life goals is to say "no" more, and not agree to things just because I will feel guilty if I don't. I say this is one of my life goals because I think it is not something I will ever fully master. Does anyone? Sometimes I think I don't even really want to, since some of the best things I've done in my life I've been unsure about at first.

Today I read an interesting blog post about The Emotional Disentanglement Glove , which is basically about being able to say no to something without feeling like a terrible person. But I also read another article by Tina Fey about how many opportunities she has had in her life because she has played by the rules of improv in her real-life, always saying "yes."  The idea is that even if you think maybe I'm not ready, maybe this makes me a little nervous, just say yes and then figure out how you will do it later. 

These two articles and the thoughts behind them have summed up for me where I want to be with saying yes or no at this point in my life. I want to say yes to things I am afraid of, like going on a helicopter ride, or teaching something new to my students, or meeting blog friends. I want to say no to things that do not fit into my life right now, not because I'm scared but because I just cannot do everything and I have to prioritize what I want most. I want to say no to things that I would only say yes to because I feel guilty. 

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Without a specific goal, I think I did well with this in 2012. I said yes to another helicopter ride, to an 11 mile beach hike and another crazy hike up on a mountain a few days later. I said yes to a photography class where I learned how to operate my camera. I said yes to meeting amazing blog turned real life friends. I said yes to two triathlons, a swimming class and a 5K. I can't remember what, if anything, I said no to, but I think that's okay because saying no probably means it wasn't that important to begin with. 

This year I want to say yes to more quality time with everyone I love, more travel, and more triathlons. I want to learn some words in a new language, make lots of photo collages and continue to say yes to reading books, even if I'm not sure they are ones I like. I will say yes to things I don't even know exist yet. I like that. 

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