A few years ago --8 to be exact-- I gave myself a little challenge. It was the summer after my first year of law school and my first summer living in California. I wanted to fully explore my new state, enjoy my new law school friends, and do things my introverted risk-averse self might otherwise be inclined to avoid. So I made it my summer of yes. In fact, my motto from June to September was "Just Say Yes" and it served me well. I had a camping adventure with friends, I tried lots of new restaurants, explored tons of majestic hiking trails, attended a few outdoor concerts, made random road trips just because, and probably the most significant yes - accepted an invitation to hang out and have dinner with a friend who eventually became my boyfriend, then my fiance, then my husband, then the father of my sweet little son. All because I decided to just say yes to whatever opportunities came along.
When you open yourself up to everything, anything becomes possible.
But recently, I've found myself saying no a lot. No to business ideas that scare me, no to outings that sound just too challenging with a baby, no to spending time on myself, no to anything that breaks from my normal, safe routine. And you know what I've learned from that? It takes a lot more energy to say no than to say yes. So times they are a-changin' for 2016. This year, I'm going to Just Say Yes.
Now, sometimes saying no is saying yes. Saying no to obligations that drain me in order to spend time doing those things that sustain me is a perfect example of that. I won't be cliff-diving anytime soon, either, because I'm not crazy and I do believe in prioritizing health and wellbeing. But! I am opening myself up to accept pretty much whatever the universe decides to throw at me this year. I welcome it. I embrace it. I'm saying yes to all of it. Even those things that scare the crap out of me. I'm no longer viewing them as obstacles but, rather, opportunities.
What's the difference between overcoming an obstacle and celebrating an opportunity?
Trick question because they're one and the same! I've come to realize that obstacles are nothing more than opportunities in disguise. Opportunities to grow, learn, explore, develop something new, and improve a weakness all masked as obstacles that seem to be blocking our paths when really they're just redirecting us to an alternate route. The only real difference between the two is perspective and approach.
So this year, I'm trying a new perspective and a different approach. I'm choosing the path of openness and positivity and saying yes to 2016. Yes to new adventures, new endeavors, new risks, and new challenges. Yes to time for myself and time with my family. Yes to new friends and new experiences with the old. Yes to new business ideas that make me uneasy but speak to my heart. Yes to accepting myself and letting go of negative thoughts. Yes to building a life full of love and joy and yes to celebrating the everyday.
If three months of saying yes can lead me to my awesome husband and sweet little family, just imagine what a full year of yes could do.