How often does someone in your life say,
"Meet me in Paris"?
I'll tell you how many times someone has said that to me- zero times.
I know. You're shaking your head (I'm shaking it with you!) What kind of question is that??
I get it!
The question itself had me literally thinking,
'is this your life? this can't be your life.
wait, no this is definitely your life,'
and it was a little weird.
I don't mean the life that had me galavanting across Europe. Although that was an amazing life, but I'm talking about having a life where I'm choosing to say, 'yes'.
That I'm in a place where I have the option to say 'yes'.
The thing is, for me, getting to the 'yes' requires going through a long ass list of 'no's'.
Which got me thinking... what the fuck is that all about?
Not only do I have the answer, I feel the need to make a public service announcement to assist all of you impulsive no-sayers. You read that right. I've done some work for us and am going to guide you all to saying Oui! to the trip, to the girls night, to shopping, to a moment alone in your room, to finishing the puzzle, because by God, some of us need permission to put ourselves first.
I'm here to not only give you permission, but insist you start you start saying 'yes' to you now.
But let's slow our roll and rewind back to the question, so as not lose focus:
Why and Where does this instinct to say 'no' first, come from?
For me, the answer rests somewhere around, in the middle of and nestled in the fact that I've been a mother since I was 20, I was married or in relationships that didn't leave me with much opportunity to go off on my own and I ran my own retail business for the last 10 years.
In addition to the responsibilities that I was choosing to choose, was the simple fact that I never really learned how to say 'yes'.
That I actually never consider it.
I've conditioned myself to put everyone and everything else first, so much so, that when given the opportunity to do something for me, my involuntary response is to say,
"no... I can't do that.
I have people who need me.
A business that needs my attention.
Dinner to make.
Dogs to walk.
Needless to say, when I was traveling with my friends in Italy ( a trip that was planned almost a year in advance) and another friend messaged me asking me to meet her in Paris for the weekend, I immediately thought,
"you can't do that.
You don't live that life.
You have to go home.
You'll be late.
You're going to get grounded."
Which is really baffling considering that alternative thoughts that have been looping through my brain for the last 18 years revolved around,
"can I catch a fucking break?!"
It would seem to me that the involuntary response would be,
"Oh my god, I thought you'd never ask!
I definitely need this... be right there."
and use every resource in my power to make it happen.
But it wasn't. Not even close. I sat on the question for several days thinking about lost luggage, logistics, what have you. That wasn't it though. The main reason, the real reason for the mental struggle had to do with thoughts like,
"you've never lived this life before.
You actually don't know a life that is just about you.
Can you just go to Paris for the weekend?"
I was frozen. Not like survival brain and adrenaline, but more like, I needed someone to tell me it was okay. To give me permission.
This. Is. A. Slippery. Slope. Friends.
I'm a fairly independent woman who does her own thing for the most part on a daily basis. My son just graduated and is off on a gap year. My daughter has a car and manages her own schedule. I work for myself...
Anyone looking in from the outside would never once think that I wouldn't just fly by the seat of my pants.
And yet here I was, struggling to take the trip and say 'Oui' to me. I felt like I needed permission.
From who? For what? Aside from making sure my daughter and dogs were taken care of?
It was the rarest of feelings; on one hand realizing that I'm not needed the way I was was, while on the other, being aware that I'm prone to say 'no' when it comes to me doing things.
That I don't know how to live for me instinctively.
Now that I've observed it,
Now that I've seen the side of 'yes',
I'm here to say:
YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE TRIPS.
YOU NEED TO LEARN TO SAY YES TO YOU.
YOUR SANITY IS ACTUALLY DEPENDING ON IT.
Your kids, your family, your job... all of it will always be there. It's all actually so there that you don't know a life without it and because of this, you are making decisions for yourself that may not be for you.
Especially for us women over 35. Most of us were raised to believe that you need to have kids and be married. Most of you reading this have kids and a relationship or are looking for one. If you're like me, your kids are about to move out. You may find yourself asking yourself; should I have more kids? Should I get married again? The family life was so fulfilling. Why wouldn't I want more of that.
All fair questions...
That should only be answered when you have some time for yourself to discover
WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU WANT.
Which is impossible to know when you're in it. Surrounded by the kids. The relationships. Your community. The jobs.
You know the saying, you can't see the forest from the trees.... or the trees from the forest.
What matters is that you need to taste freedom, first.
You need to live and know a life that is opposite of the one you have now.
You need perspective.
You need to take the trips. Learn to say 'Yes' to you. I'm telling you; I'm back with an entirely different lens on life. My experience showed me sides of myself I didn't know were there. It opened my mind up to possibilities I hadn't considered before with my current circumstances regarding my kids, my romantic partner, my work and my friends.
It's been in my nature to lose myself in parenting, relationships and work. Having a solid chunk of time to myself revealed to me that I don't want to lose myself again to anyone else:
Not my children. Not a man. Not my job.
I want to align with those things. I want to support all of them. Cheer for them. Love them as hard as possible,
but 100% stay in my gawd damn lane.
I literally thought life was one way until I experienced a random, scary last minute 'yes', that changed it all.
It doesn't need to be a trip to Europe. It doesn't need to be weeks away. It only needs to be about you. Trust me when I tell you: EVERYONE will benefit from you saying 'Oui'.