This week I said yes to a mate date with one of my oldest and dearest. I’m not for a second saying that I contemplated saying no: she’s hilarious and wanted to co-eat a huge juicy burger stuffed full of bourbon glaze, washed down with pear and peach cider*. There’s nothing not to love about that.
Over our glaze coated chins we discussed our respective readings of late. Hers? The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Mine? The slightly pithier Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k. Both equally valuable but wildly different iterations of the same message: less is more. Less stuff, less clutter, less noise in your home, mind and life.
The idea of preserving your energy and focus for the things and people you really choose isn’t a new one but there is a fine line between a cathartic spiritual declutter and telling everyone you know to do one, isn’t there? I think the balance lies in those two little letters: N O.
The husband has made an art form out of saying no, he’s so affable and pleasant and genuinely care free about it. Me? Infinitely less so. I’m an awkward sort, a slithery guilty looking social slow worm. The guilt really gets me, I don’t know what I did in a former life but I live this incarnation in perpetual guilt at the word no: guilt that I might be offending someone or being rude or that I would rather be doing back to back Come Dine With Me than whatever the thing is. Surely it’s easier just to say yes and whinge about it afterwards isn’t it? Or to say yes and then implement radio silence until they just stop asking? Please don’t do that, it makes you a bit of a plank and it usually ends with an intervention group showing up at your front door.
Since the burgers though I’ve been trying to practice what I’m now preaching; to say no more. Not to be a massive twonk, simply to free up some time in a busy life and space in a ridiculously overworked mind tank. Space and time I can devote to the things that actually make my heart paint with all the colours of the wind or something.
It’s hard though. It’s incredibly difficult to start saying no when everywhere you look the world wants you to be a yes person. I suppose ‘be a yes person as long as you really want to do the thing in which case yay you but otherwise remember that it’s a-ok to say no if the thought of the thing makes you want to weep a bit and start telling lies’ just isn’t as catchy.
I’ve been practicing; testing out saying the word without gurning wildly in the mirror. I shamefully needed to remind myself that actually life is about experiences and I started 2016 with the intention of curating my experiences like an Insta-savvy teen, choosing only the glossiest, most fabulous ones to make it into the final cut of my existence (mouth vom). I’ve also written a number of post-it reminders that no will never be an ok response to paying the credit card bill or working to buy food; I’m good to go.
Full disclosure: I did accept a cup of tea at 10 last night knowing I’d be up all night weeing (well, I didn’t want to be rude) but it hadn’t really started then. Now. It starts now, right this second. Who’s with me?? Don’t say no….
*that should be peach and pear cider shouldn’t it? I don’t know why but I’m convinced that the peach should come before the pear. Like fish and chips. No-one says chips and fish. Except my nan and she gets a telling off every single time.