Three years ago I sold my home. I thought it would be my forever home when my former husband and I built it, but it wasn’t to be.
I was bereft at first. I felt adrift, no longer able to depend on my (way too expensive for me) beloved homebase, I was lost. Then I discovered a book. As often happens to us, the right book shows up at the right time to teach us what we can’t learn alone. Such a book was “Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person,” by the amazing Ms. Shonda Rhimes. Shonda Rhimes of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice,” “Scandal,” and “The Catch” fame. I decided I would be a fool to not follow her advice.
Under the tutelage of Shonda (since I am entering my second go-round with her I think she’d be okay with me calling her Shonda) I said yes to lots of things I never would have, left to my own devices. I did a stage reading of a play when a (real) actor couldn’t appear, I took a playwriting workshop, I submitted a play to a festival, it was accepted and performed. I said yes to parties, opportunities to teach and lots and lots more. It was wonderful!
And then I got sick. I was on a roll doing so much, and totally unrelated to it all, was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. It took me away from saying yes in any kind of big way, but I will say I said yes to all that was asked of me by doctors, nurses, nutritionists and therapists. I can’t say it was as fun as hiking in Montana, but saying yes was better than fighting what was happening.
So here I am, two years out from my first Year of Yes, and I find myself in need of a tune-up. Being sick and frankly, scared, I did retreat a bit into my safe little shell, but now, feeling healthy and whole again it’s time to begin saying yes to the world outside my own four walls.
What you realize when you read a book like this by a successful and accomplished woman is that everyone, absolutely everyone is scared. They might not be scared of the same things you are, and vice versa, but we’re all white-knuckling it through something. I guarantee it.
Right now for me, it’s having my play accepted to do a stage reading at a theater. I only finished the third rewrite two weeks ago, and when the offer came, I panicked (of course) and then I took a deep breath and said, you guessed it, yes.
Yes is scary because it’s thrusting us into the unknown and uncharted waters. We are creatures of habit, most of us, and we like things how we like them. Saying yes messes with our routines and where we feel safe.
But saying yes has a lot going for it. It brings excitement, opportunity and color to our lives. It makes life more interesting, and in turn, makes us more interesting. It shows us what we can do, even if we’re kicking and screaming as we go.
I might not always like the angst that comes with saying yes. Actually I sometimes hate it. But I’m going to keep saying yes even when it scares me. And now that I’ve said it out loud, or, well, in print. I know you’re all going to hold me to it.
And I’ll do the same for you.
So tell me, what are you going to say yes to?