Lately I’ve had to say NO a lot. I realize this is in complete opposition to my general thinking that one should say YES! to the opportunities life gives you. I’m at odds with myself because of this, but saying NO to one thing is kind of the same as saying YES! to something else.
Here are a few “for instances”:
- If I say NO to sweets at a BBQ I am really saying YES to feeling lighter, faster and healthier for a run the next morning.
- If I say NO to a discount deal for an online retailer to get a new purse at 50% off I am really saying YES to instead saving $150 for vacations in 2013.
- If I say NO to pursuing a job that could get me out of my current, boring, dead end job I am saying YES to waiting for and working towards finding a job that isn’t just any job but the right job for me.
- If I say NO to exchanging expensive gifts for our first wedding anniversary I am really saying YES to making a deposit into an account accruing interested towards a down payment on our first home.
What do each of these NO-NO-NO-NO instances have in common? They’re all acts of delayed gratification. They require patience, perspective and perseverance. They require … being an adult. I mean, that’s what this really is, right? I’m describing exactly what it is to be a true adult.
And sometimes it absolutely sucks to be an adult. It isn’t tasty or exciting or thrilling or surprising like life was as a teenager or 20-something. Not immediately at least. I have a lot of fun and do amazing things with my life now I could never do before, but a 32-year old has longer term goals than a 16-year old so the landscape of life looks very different than it did half a lifetime ago.
I’m more and more accepting of the “Say NO to Say YES” lifestyle. Planning a wedding in 2011 was all about that for me. All of the saying NO was completely and utterly worth the huge YES results I achieved. But not every collection of NO’s lead to the same, clear YES with such a fabulous end point. Sometimes the YES is so far away that you get bogged down in the NO’s along the way.
I’ve found three effective ways to combat the feeling of being held back by NO instead of empowered to choose when I say YES or NO.
First, I look at other people who have opted for the instant gratification route and while many of them are very happy with the results they’ve achieved, I would not be if it were my life choice. I am not judging anyone else’s decisions, only acknowledging that the grass is not always greener.
Second, I talk to my husband about our collective YES and NO choices. Without even trying we remind each other of why we say NO to some things in order to wait and say YES to others. Having a partner in all of this makes it easier.
Finally, I open our savings account website and bask in the grand total at the bottom of the screen. That makes me feel the YES! today even if the more tangible YES will come at a later date. Thankfully some of those tangible results will come soon and help tide me over as I continue to delay the gratification of the others.
Because of these three things, it is acceptable that my adult life isn’t all milkshakes and shopping sprees. Not that it ever was, but living in LA and seeing people in your own life or in movies who seem to have it all, it is hard to not want it all too - and NOW! Blazing your own trail means saying NO sometimes and realizing that really means saying YES!