Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Year of Yes ... and No

Tuesday was a gloomy, wet, bleak sort of day.  Near constant rain and a pervasive damp chill.  By late afternoon, I had given up shuffling through the mess in my house and decided to sit and read for about thirty minutes.  Strange how I can easily waste thirty minutes mindlessly checking Facebook, but I hesitate to be intentional about activities that are relaxing and restorative.

Anyway, that chunk of reading time helped me make progress toward finishing Shonda Rhimes' Year of Yes:  How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person.  I've actually never watched Rhimes' many shows, though I'm sure they're great.  A friend mentioned Year of Yes at pick-up a couple weeks ago, and the title resonated with me.

This year is supposed to be a Year of Yes for me, but also a Year of No.

Even several weeks into January, I still thought I'd get around to posting my 2016 resolutions.  Riding the high of successfully staying out of Target for all of 2015, I thought I could come up with something concrete and challenging but also doable for 2016.  I kicked around the idea of getting 100,000 steps each week on my FitBit, but that fizzled. 

This new year's resolution is more basic and more important:  say yes to my family and my home.  It's not that I ever intentionally say no to my family.  I have three awesome kids and a very supportive, loving husband.  We have a pretty happy home.  However, I have made a habit of making outside commitments that seem (and are) worthy and good but that make me less present for my husband and kids, less organized around my house, and unnecessarily anxious. 

So the challenge is that saying yes to my family means saying no to some other things ... things that are good and worthy and that I often (but not always) enjoy.  I am a pleaser and a good girl.  I want to be helpful and social and "do my part."  I will still do and give and organize, but for this year, I am going to try to say no more often.  Not no to everything, but no to more things.

In Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes' sister reminds her "No is a complete sentence."  Where has this insight been all my life?  Wow.  I already had some practice saying no in January and it was so hard.  I am trying to resist the urge to rationalize and justify each no and to just put it out there and exhale.  If anyone wants to think I am selfish or a slacker, I will have to live with that.   

Rhimes spent a year trying to say yes to more and, as a result, transformed her life.  I so enjoyed reading about this moment, this year in her life -- especially the chapter about motherhood.  In general, I am not striving for the same levels of badassery (word from the book) that Rhimes achieves.  I'm simply looking to a spend a year being more selective about what I say yes to.

Rhimes' book has inspired me to flesh out my yes.  I want to say YES to family, to sanity, to rest, to prayer, to less anxiety, to open spots on the calendar, to time for creativity (writing, crafting), to walks, to books, to good conversations with people I love.

I'll let you know how it goes.


  1. I love this. I think I am working on resolutions similar to yours. I have yet to enter the phase where I'm even fully capable of saying "yes" to things outside my home. But I'm trying to be intentional about how I say "yes" to the time I do have, especially as Liam starts school (maybe full time) next year. Jen Hatmaker's For the Love has a discussion about this too that I found really helpful.

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