My Yes Year: One Year Later

So last year around this time, I began thinking as I do at this time every year, about my birthday resolution. See, I like to make resolutions on my birthday because it’s my own personal new year, and it just feels right. Plus, it gives me a mid-year reset from those New Year’s resolutions that have lost their luster by mid-July. But last year was a big one. I turned 35, and if you’ve been playing along, you might know that last year I decided to have a Shonda Rhimes inspired “yes year” from July to July and see where it might take me. I had become that mom that was always saying no to my child, to myself, to invitations and offers, pretty much everything. If you want to read about the start of my journey, you can find it here.

So I’m here to report back.

As my 36th birthday approaches, I thought it would be a nice thought experiment to see what has happened, and determine if it’s still a worthwhile project to recommend to fellow moms out there.

And I can say unequivocally that a yes year is something I would recommend to anyone.

As far as parenting goes, I’ve found it hard to determine a downside. Like Shonda, one of my biggest challenges is saying yes to playing with my child. I really don’t enjoy toddler play, so hearing, “mommy, play with me,” always makes me cringe a little. I don’t think it makes me a terrible mom, but I do carry around a lot of mom guilt because I don’t love one of the main things my child needs to be doing right now: playing. This is still perhaps my biggest challenge because the question seems to come at really inopportune times. But at least now, I’ve conditioned myself to stop and think: My child just wants to spend time with me. Sometimes all we do is line up shopkins, and that to him is play. It doesn’t have to be Pinterest-worthy play; it doesn’t even have to make sense to me; I just have to do it.

Have I ever felt bad after having said yes to playing with my child? Not once.

As far as personally, saying yes so much has actually transformed the way I think and behave to such an unexpected degree that it has actually made me, a usually pretty reserved and socially awkward penguin of a gal, into someone who is far more proactive and assertive. I have found that I am now the one asking fellow moms over for play dates, or asking friends out to coffee, both of which I used to be really scared to do for fear that they may say no.

Living in a world of yes means the nos are fewer and farther between, so they are far less scary when they do come around.

I don’t want to overstate things, but it has really changed my worldview. I now see abundance where I used to see scarcity. And that has been the most valuable lesson of all. To view the world as if there is enough space for us all of us to exist with our talents, even if they sometimes overlap. I used to be afraid to try anything new if someone in my life was already connected to that thing. For the longest time, I never wrote because I know a lot of really great writers and didn’t want to add my voice to an already saturated market. But, and I don’t want to get too Tony Robbins about it all, with the mindset of yes, I feel like there is always someone out there who might want to say yes to my voice in particular.

So my conclusion is this: At the end of last year’s post I ended by saying that I wasn’t sure if I would continue when 36 rolled around this year. But now I know it’s not a choice. I’ve rehearsed and cultivated an environment of yes for so long that it’s not really in my hands anymore. It’s just second nature. So if you’re thinking of giving it a go, I say yes. But then, I say yes to everything. 

Oh, except glitter. Glitter will always be a hard no.

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