I’m a semi-social introvert: I like being social just as much as I like being alone. Saying yes is actually not difficult for me, since, in theory, I want to do everything there is to do! But when it comes time to go, I regret making plans way too often.
It’s the follow through where I have trouble. I say, “yes,” but I don’t do ‘yes’. It’s getting out the door to make good on a commitment that I have trouble with.
You probably have a friend like me. She’s the one who’s fun to be around when she’s in a good mood, doesn’t know many enemies, and can find any reason to celebrate.
She tells you, “I’ll totally be there! I can’t wait!”
Hell, the get-together might even have been her idea.
Then, the day of the event, usually with a few hours to go, she calls or texts you with a surprisingly good and probably true reason for not being able to make it.
I’m owning it. I know I do it. I’m terrible about it. And I’ve only become worse, much worse, since becoming a mom. The second the baby came, my comfort zone shrank to 6lbs, 9oz. And, of course, over the last 8 months and one day, as of this writing, that radius has grown, but not by much.
I do feel my comfort zone widening more and more, though. It started at the hospital; I became OK there. Then I was ok at my own house. Then I could add my parents’ house; I was OK there. Then my best friend’s house, and then the grocery store.
I had expected to hit the ground running after having the baby, but it just didn’t happen that way.
Don’t just say yes, DO it.
I’ve always known I was socially non-committal, but recently I realized that I was cutting myself off from my own potential in this way. Looking to the future of my perfect little family, I know there are milestones and memories to come. My inaction, my need to be closed off from the rest of the world, would only dampen that future I imagine for myself, my husband, my child, and any future children.
So…yes. Do yes. Don’t just say yes, DO it.
Just in the last two weeks, I’ve said and done yes to more things than I’ve probably said or done yes to since I found out I was pregnant. The results have not been predictable.
Here’s how it went down.
I’d been in the middle of a great purge in my house since the baby came home, but, having isolated myself for months, I really had no idea how I was going to get rid of all the junk. Then I heard that an online friend was organizing a group yard sale. I realized it was just what I needed to get the clutter out without feeling like I was missing out on potential money, so I said yes.
OK. Not unusual. As I was saying yes, I even assumed that at some point I would have the opportunity to back out. At one point, several people who originally signed up cancelled for one reason or the other… And I knew that was my chance.
I started to type in the group message, “I won’t be able to be there either. It’s just so much work and…” I stopped typing. “I said yes,” I thought to myself, “I can do this. I need this stuff out of my house. I said yes, now I need to do yes!” So I deleted my excuse and began to gather the junk.
And then last week, I found out about a free local yoga class. Normally, I would only imagine myself going to the class, becoming a yogi, and, in a few months, sporting this fresh toned and healthy bod, but in reality I would wake up saturday morning and say, “Big ol’ nope.”
Well, I hate to disappoint your expectations, but Saturday morning came, and I woke up on time, early for the class. I fed the baby, picked out some decent workout clothes, rolled up my yoga mat and other supplies, and was feeling super jazzed about my new, saying-yes self. Then I put my hand up to a window to estimate the temperature, and my face sank. It was so cold. I hadn’t anticipated this in my hours of anxious deliberation. I turned to tell my husband to tell him we should probably just postpone and go next week instead, but he didn’t even flinch. He let me pull back from my excuse and say yes again, and so I did. We hopped in the car with the baby in tow; they planned on walking the track while I was saluting the sun. Then I pressed the home button on my phone to check for any messages before we headed out. I didn’t have to bother Sir to know that I was half an hour late.
In reality I would wake up saturday morning and say, “Big ol’ nope.”
My shoulders drooped, and I looked over at my husband again.
“Well, now what? I’m not going to interrupt a yoga class when it’s a half hour in!” I whined, hoping to unload the car, go back in the house, put on my jammies, and settle in for a Saturday morning catnap.
He didn’t even have to speak; he just smiles and let me test my own positivity. After an almost instantaneous mental reversal, I perked right up and suggested, “Well, we could still just go and check it out! We can make sure we know where it is for next week. See if it even looks cool! Then we can just spend the time we had planned to be there walking the track all together.”
It wasn’t a perfect day. It was cold, and the wind at times whipped directly into our faces, strands of hair pasting flat against my eyes. The sun’s rays seemed to follow my little’s eyes and shoot beams into her face, making her a bit fussy. So yeah, there were little annoyances here and there, but in the end, we had a lovely time. We burned hundreds of calories, got active, had great conversation, and created one more lasting memory of family togetherness. What an affirmation of yes!
But still, the yard sale loomed. With lots of preparation required, I expected myself to back out at any moment, even though I’d conquered my initial instinct to bail.
The day before the sale, I spent the whole day gathering more junk to sell and pricing it all.I blasted social media with ads and strategized with the other ladies in the sale about how to best organize our efforts. I found this incredible strength in myself to step up and really own this progress in my life. Doing yes all week, by simply staying committed to my daily verbal promises, had given me that strength.
The next day, I didn’t even make $50. Not even half of my junk sold. But it’s all gone. It was picked up a few hours after the sale ended and carted away. I met and bonded with some women in my mom group. The weather was nice, and my whole family got out for a fun Saturday morning. OK, so, I might have actually skipped my do-yes yoga class to try selling my crap, but that’s not the point. Doing yes isn’t about doing everything. It isn’t about success or unwavering positivity. It’s about opening yourself up to possibilities you’d otherwise say no to.