Getting To “No”

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown

Last spring when we were down in Winona to sign a purchase agreement, a Winona friend of mine took me to a “woman’s party” where she knew I would meet new people that I might enjoy knowing. I was so pleased, because some of my best friends from Winona had moved away during our 30 years away, and I thought this would be a great way to meet some possible future friends. When I got back that night I wrote down as many women’s names as I could remember, and something about them that might jog my memory later.

Fast forward eight months… I have been joining (or saying yes to) “everything in sight” in order to find my niche in this sort-of-new place. I am happy to report that I now find people I recognize – several of whom I met at that spring party – at t’ai chi, Nia (at the Y), book club(s), the library, UU gatherings and choir, farmers’ market… You get the idea. I am starting to step up to the plate and take on small responsibilities, i.e. a women’s group that will meet this Sunday, for which I will take the minutes. (Unfortunately this means I will miss the babooners’ BBC again…)

I now need to put on the breaks a bit, and start saying no once in a while.

When do you say “Yes”, and when do you say “No”?

132 thoughts on “Getting To “No””

  1. Rise and Hit the Road Baboons!

    I am saying no to Arizona, and hitting the road to come home. I will not visit the Trail much. Home Thursday night.

    Minnesota here I come.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. i spend time gathering ideas. i look around and find a lot of opportunities to try out an idea or a group or a person. i do meetup.com stuff and one of the things i enjoy is tht you can try it and then run away. yesterday i went to one and had to shoehorn it in before seeing my youngest daughter her first recital at voice lessons downtown. it was in an office in one of the transformed warehouses in nordeast and the entry issue made it difficult to get in and out. i told the host it was difficult and he had to go stand sentry at the door as a solution to the entry challenge. i got a call form my daughter asking if the sheet music she needed to have was in my car where she left it. i told her i didnt remember seeing it there but dont ask about the back seat o my car… when i went back out to the parking lot to double check the host was yelling at me that if i left i wouldnt be allowed to return. i would be locked out. i asked him if this was a discussion or a proclamation and i said i had to go out to the car. i tried to get back in but was not able to do it. i got yo go hang out for an hour of unscheduled time at the music school and i will worry later about if i left something behind other than my water bottle. i was glad to be locked out. it wasnt the right vibe.
    i say yes when it is possible unless it is pinching me in another area. i have 24 hours and i spend a lot of time doing things that i hope take me in a direction that will make life better in one way or another. one thing leads to another and who knows what will lead to what. the danger is that when you choose to do something you choose not to do everything else so you are not only making a decision to do something you are deciding not to do something also. i am a mile wide and an inch deep but enjoy growing in areas of chosen involvement and also learning about new stuff. if that isnt the most not committal answer i have ever typed i dont know what is….

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The most difficult word for me to learn to say was “no”.
    It began in my late 20′-early30’s…when I had to take a Valium in order to speak to an AAUW group. if a request of me feels ‘wrong’ I say no. Often difficult but for me necessary. I say yes to things I know I will enjoy and support.

    (I did not have a problem saying “no” to daughter while ‘raising’ her!)

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I can’t answer your question, BiR, for in my case it ignores huge realities that confuse the issue. Long ago the decisions between “yes” and “no” were complicated because I was not yet a functioning adult. Then there came a long period in the middle of my life during which those decisions were difficult but not exceptionally so. All of us struggle to know enough about the world and ourselves to make good decisions. That’s life. Nobody guaranteed us that it would be easy.

    Just when we decide we can deal with tricky questions of “yes” or “no” we learn that the whole game has changed because old age was redefining everything we thought we knew. The aging process is just another stage of life, of course. But my point here is that it is confusing. All the lessons one has learned become irrelevant because one’s physical limits change for the worst and keep on changing (but not at a predictable rate).

    Simply on an intellectual level. old age is challenging because until we actually experience it nothing prepares us for the unique difficulties it presents. All the assumptions we have relied upon to make decisions in our middle years become redefined. Or do they? Maybe a fierce resolve to deny aging is the smartest answer. Or maybe a graceful accommodation to declining potential is the only wise response.

    I sure as hell don’t know. Old age is like adolescence in a strange way. The conditions of life change and keep changing, forcing us to pretend we are in control when of course we are not. So we fake it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. that’s called life options and choices come at you and you deal with them the best you can at the moment and go on from there and the decisions you make affect the decisions you will make down the road

      Like

      1. my 22-year-old son has strong opinions on life and politics these days and it’s interesting to see how not having seen things like this before leaves you with the blind view that your opinion is correct in the other guys should be able to see it

        Like

        1. It would be interesting to see data on what percentage of antisocial behavior–and I mean all kinds of bad things done by people all around the world–is done by young males who are sure they are right.

          Like

      1. I see I was not clear enough. It isn’t options. It isn’t choices. That stuff is easy, for you learn to do it by living. With old age you try to make choices, but there is a randomizing effect thrown in because what you could do last year might not be possible this year. Or maybe it is. You just don’t know.

        For example, the friend I write letters to makes choices every day, but it is a rare day when her body lets her do what she chose. She has lost the kind of control that makes choice possible, only that loss is erratic and unpredictable. I’d rather not get more specific than that. And please note: I’m not saying old age is terrible. It can be, but the issue here is that it is confusing because it presents so many changes and random factors.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. there’s a guy up here I can get you his name who has the ability to furnish bees that are Minnesota tolerant a big part of the challenge in the population is that bees from Florida and Tennessee are being shipped up into Minnesota were 20 below kills them this guy has bees that are Minnesota acclimated and the survival rate is up at 80% which is unheard of and most bee colonies

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I fear I am kind of on perma-no until I get that boy of mine out the door. I thought once all the applications were in we would be done for awhile. Not a chance. Now it is travelling and writing for scholarships.

    Fairly, I am not the one who has to do the writing, or the interviewing, but I am the one making life happen around all the mayhem.

    I feel like a bad mother for looking forward to letting the caf take care of keeping that engine fuelled 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

      1. the reality of college today is nuts. my daughter has it narrowed to 3 shcools pretty much. 2 in chicago and one in twin cites. u of m is 25-30 a year and chicago are 45-60. the one she has her heart set on gave her 18k and fafsa gives her 10 more so its only 25-30 a year afte she gets all her perks. we are going on monday to do an audition to see abut scholarship in her musical theater major field. it is a reality to pay 100k after all the scholarships and gimmes for a career that will not pay at all or push to a career in other areas because theater is not a real hope for most folks. i encourage the dream and let her know she is a possibility as a success with talent personality and overall tools needed for the craft but the elementary ed second major is a must do for her so she wont just be studying theater stuff. she will keep a toe in the real world too.

        Liked by 3 people

  6. Most of the Trailbaboon ladies are likely the Ado Annie from Oklahoma type person. Some day if I return to Minnesota, I’d like to explore the possibilities. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I noticed that, too, renee. I was going to object, but since I haven’t met all the women on the trail, I thought better of it. There may be a lady in the mix that I don’t know about. 🙂

        Like

  7. I may be in the position over the next few weeks to say either “yes” or “no” to a promotion. We shall see what happens. There are pros and cons to both answers.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. start your plus and minus list now. the end of it comes when you make the decision
      in these times im not sure i want to head up a state office in a red state but maybe better to head it up and ride heard over it than to leave it to the person who would be the next in line that would make less correct decisions
      good luck in your future. its tough when you are the one to blame when it gets screwed up

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I have every confidence, renee, that you’ll figure it out.

      In my experience, most promotions involved doing fewer of the tasks that I enjoyed, and more of the ones I detested, and the reward for that would have to be pretty high to justify it. Even so, there are lots of things that factor into it, as you well know. Good luck.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. If choosing among an array of social circles, saying yes or no would be easy, but saying no to circumstances where the consequences would be untenable is not so easy, even when saying yes means giving up some or much or most of your free time.

          Liked by 3 people

        2. I could have said that much more plainly. When the choice is whether or not to join something like a choir or a book club, do what you want. Those venues don’t need you. But if you are choosing whether or not to help family or friends that genuinely need your help and it’s help you can give, how can,you say no, even if you wish the need weren’t there?
          It’s not as simple as a matter of asserting yourself.

          Liked by 4 people

  8. When I worked full time I tended to say no to a lot of things. That meant I had more time for myself, but I also missed opportunities and was not very involved with my community. Now that I’m less than fully employed, I make it a point to say yes to things more often. Frequently I find myself thinking “I wish I could just stay home tonight”, especially when it gets dark early in the wintertime, but in general if I keep the commitment I’m happy I did later on. As with many of life’s persistent questions, it’s all about finding a balance.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My plan was that when I retired I would say yes to lots of things, like volunteering in all kinds of ways. Then health issues made them a no.

      Like

  9. Here is an easy NO. The Sears store here is closing. Got some very good buys on clothing. But as you walk through the half empty stores you keep seeing signs urging you to get a Sears Card.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. OT – Gizmo, husband’s beloved parrot is dying. We’re taking him to have him euthanized tomorrow. Can’t stand to watch him suffer. He has been a constant companion for 25 years (he was 23 when we rescued him), so it’s with heavy hearts we retire tonight. Hope he dies in his sleep.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No, renee, no more birds for us. We have both come to believe that no matter how well you take of them, birds don’t belong in a cage.

        Big birds like Gizmo, are a long-term commitment. They’re messy, loud, and stubborn as all get out, one reason why the average big bird has seven owners. Most people just don’t realize what a big responsibility they’re taking on when they get them.

        We have one small bird, a Bourke’s parakeet, left. He’s also pretty old, we’ve had him since he was a few months old, and he’s been with us twenty years. Don’t know how much longer he’ll last, but when he’s gone, we’re done with birds.

        Gizmo was euthanized this afternoon. It was emotional but peaceful, and we just had a funeral pyre for him in the back yard. He’s free at last, and we’re sad but relieved that he’s out of his misery.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. We had a rescued Macaw…wild but tamed a bit living with us…enough to nip at my ears…I’m told an endearing ritual. She just quite eating….while visiting daughter we found a a specialist and set an appointment. She had ‘waisting disease’…something she would have carried from when she was captured from the wild and ‘tho she looked beautiful…puffed out with beautiful long feathers, the vet said they do that in the wild to hide their dying…to keep prey away. It was a very sad day…we left prior to her awakening….to let her go in peace…but it was heart renching.
      I never knew I could get attached to a bird….we are dog people…but she grew within us and left an empty heart spot…a soft spot filled with funny, crazy & silly memories.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes… too many times to count!….but I’ve improved….out of necessity=sanity.
      Saying yes to husband was a “glad”…’tho sometime I’ve wondered!😅
      ….saying no to another guy was good.
      “Sad”…I said yes…I have one memory which I won’t divulge, but I felt guilt, remorse and finally my own forgiveness.
      Life is like that……

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes and no decisions typically become tricky when other people are emotionally invested in our choices.

    This morning’s column by Carolyn Hax features a woman with strong food allergies who wonders if she can say no to invitations from relatives who laugh off her food issues and serve her food that will make her ill. Saying no to those invitations will offend them. Eating the food (or staring at an empty plate during the meal) hurt her.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. i saw jackie mason in nyc a coule of years ago. he is a celebrity who did a nice job of acknowledging the people who recognized him on the sidewalk cafe in little italy. he brought his wife and another couple and what was very interesting was that he brought his own special food and asked the them to serve it to him. at first i thought it was odd then a stroke of genius. he got to go out with people and didnt deny himself ro them the pleasure of going out and didtn subject himself to consequences of eating food that disagreed with him.
      have her bring her own stuff

      Liked by 2 people

        1. A friend of mine has such serious food allergies that she always brings her own food. She doesn’t expect that any hostess can or will accommodate the restrictions she has and at the same time serve a palatable meal for everyone else.

          Liked by 2 people

    2. I know that 90% of the people who are aware of my pain and sensitivity issues think it is all fake or I’m nuts. One reason to stay home, another one anyway.
      My ex partner had terrible asthma until age 45 and then it became mild. One of his sensitivities was cats, still is I suppose. A friend decided it was all in his head and invited him for dinner and did not tell him they had a cat. He ended up in the ER

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess that’s just human nature. People often fail to appreciate my health issues. I can’t get upset with them because it is hard for anyone to understand something he hasn’t experienced or even seen. If you have chronic conditions (and I have four) you don’t want to talk about them, for it ends up sounding like a lot of negative stuff. Better to keep quiet most of the time.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ever since my bout with Lyme I’ve had strange reactions to food…low tolerance to things I loved. It’s been a challenge. I recently read in an MPR report that there were several Lyme disease persons who had allergenic reactions to various food…deadly reactions in some cases and it specifically noted red meat.
          I’ve had trouble with that for some time but didn’t know why until this report came into the news.
          Amazing things which can cause reactions….
          I don’t miss red meat…I just eat what sits well/digests well and I have stomach pills with me at all times.

          Like

        2. We can be overly impressed by how much is known about various maladies. There is still much that researchers and doctors do not know. A friend of mine had extremely complicated medical issues. Most doctors blew her off. Then she found a guy who took her seriously. He told her to come back to him in twenty years, by which time he might have answers to her questions. Good luck with your reactivity slilyss.

          Like

  12. OT: My daughter just passed a big and scary certification test. She works in human resources.

    Yesterday she told me that our new president is hurting her in ways she couldn’t have anticipated. First, something about him has triggered a lot of jerks to say and do things they didn’t use to do. Second, in just a week he has snarled up controversy and confusion about regulations that apply to acceptable conduct in the workplace. Discipline, respect for others and sensitivity seem so dated now, so unTrumpish.

    Based on what she said, I wonder how many professionals in other areas are now struggling with issues that only appeared or became troublesome because of this man’s influence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a membership at the St. Paul Jewish Community Center. In the past couple of weeks, there have been bomb threats at JCC’s all over the country, not at mine so far, but as close to here as St. Louis Park. Can’t remember having this sort of thing rear its ugly head in the recent past.

      Like

    2. Not that it’s any consolation, Steve, but I’m sure she has lots of company. People are scared out of their wits. We’re in for a very rough ride, I’m afraid.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are right about both. Yes, it isn’t much consolation. And yes, virtually everyone I know is struggling with this incredibly ugly turn of events. For example, my daughter is convinced this man can’t possibly last four years. She anticipates an impeachment, and that is not a stupid hope. I keep wondering if accepting the fact this man is in charge is like the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, with each person going through the steps. I’d say I’m hung up at anger right now. And we have three years plus 51 weeks to go!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Good for you!!! Sounds like exactly what I should’ve been doing for the last 12 years since my divorce. I’ve done a lot of dancing, but that’s really not the venue for meeting people.

    Some really big things are happening in/to my life the last three months, and all of them are because I’m finally saying “yes” to myself. After a decade of hardly moving from the couch, I’ve been working out DAILY for almost three weeks. 1.5 miles on a treadmill, followed up by a vigorous TRX strap, whole body class. Prior to this, I wouldn’t even walk out to get my mail. I’d pick it up when I had to run errands every few days.

    My kids did an intervention of sorts. One at a time, no less. Mary’s a drill sergeant who’s both urged and shamed me. That didn’t work out. Steve’s been lovingly urging me to get physical for some time by reminding me that I’ll live longer if I move. It took Conner to push me over the edge. For one thing, it’s been embarrassing to have him witness my slothy lifestyle. For another, he told me that wasband, who’s mental and physical health border on death, was working out every day and doing everything he can to keep his mind and body functioning at the highest level he could.

    This did it!! I also started seeing a chiropractor 3X a week to deal with the ongoing pain in my lower back. Scoliosis caused a dramatic S curve.

    But – wait, there’s more (sound like late night commercials)!! I’m going to Africa in two weeks!!! I said “Yes” to using some reverse mortgage money to take the trip of a lifetime to visit my childhood best friend who’s been a missionary in Kenya for 25 years. Conner helped me with this, too. He said, “Noni, you’re not always going to be physically able – do it!!” My follow-up thoughts was, “I can hold onto that money, but when I’m really old and infirm, will I be glad that I was super frugal – or, will I have regrets that I never did anything truly exotic??” and so, I booked the 18-hour flight. It was only $850 round trip, with $500 more for a two-day safari.

    I’m saying yes to more than ever in my life, and, if nothing else, I’ll be physically fit and have this great adventure under my belt 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Sorry, I see that you already told us you’re going to Kenya. I’m envious. And good for you for getting that old body back in the swing of things.

        Like

        1. her friend is from kenya but i was wondering if you are going to his area or if the safari is off in another area.

          good for you cb
          dancing with the rhinos
          enjoy
          haveconner show you all the tricks to working the camera on your phone and keep the battery charged up. if you need a power adapter so you can plug into the wall sockets over there let me know i have a couple of extras

          Like

  14. Today’s topic is interesting; I’m currently reading Nudge which is all about choice and choice architecture.

    I’m pretty good at the yes/no thing but my problem is that there are just so many things that I want to say “yes” to that I sometimes get myself in a time jam. Oh well.

    BLEVINS BOOK CLUB REMINDER

    Sunday, 2 p.m.
    Sherrilee’s

    What Alice Forgot
    Life After Life

    Like

      1. Our church has its annual meeting Sunday. Business gets taken care of quickly so everyone can get home for the game. I doubt husband and I will watch. We have seedlings to get started. I got a heated mat to really baby the peppers and tomatoes. We are also growing celariac, cantelope, and kohlrabi this year, along with various beans, potatoes, and basil.

        Liked by 2 people

  15. Of those eight readings of Groundhog Day, readings 5 and 8 come closest to being right, although neither one nails it.

    It is silly to talk of Phil Connors (the Bill Murray character) saving the world. The world doesn’t need saving. He does. His experience of reliving his own days is able to let him grow and perfect himself. And let’s face it: he starts as a person who needs a helluva lot of improvement.

    Thus the film presents a tragicomic view of life. The good news is that it is possible to grow ethically if you are given enough chance to see the error of your ways. The sad news is that Phil Connors has to relive his day 12,403 times (by one calculation) before he finally gets it right. So he was still getting it wrong when he was reliving that day for the 12,000th time. Sigh. That isn’t a terribly optimistic picture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i have done it 22611 and i still dont have it right.
      i dont think i will get 22,000 more shots at it but with modern medicine i could. when i was 18 i said i wanted to live to be 130-140 and that with medicine heading the direction it was that it should be possible.
      now i believe its possible and i wonder if i would still put 140 on my wish list. 2097 is a long ways off. could be fun

      Like

      1. When I was 16, I said I wanted to live to be 83, and I’m still good with that. Considering some of the crap that DT and his regime are planning for us, that may actually be too long.

        Like

        1. i said 130/140 i’ve got a feeling dt is the tip of the iceberg
          80 years will be an interestin study
          how do you live with 2097 in mind?
          (buy the lifetime warranty and keep the receipt in a special spot)

          Like

  16. I just watched Groundhog Day again. The only fault I have with the acting is at the ending when Phil realizes that his “day” has ended and he sorta cries. I would have been sobbing. In fact, that is the part of the movie where I am moved to tears as I consider the “if only” parts of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wes, that makes me think of my blog question a few weeks ago about what The Good Place would be like. Those words–“if only”–are just about the saddest words any of us will ever know. “I coulda been SOMEBODY!” That unattained goal haunts us all.

      When I started in the writing business, we did it on paper. With a typewriter. When we got it wrong, we had to go back and blacken out the clumsy language by typing over it again and again, or maybe we used WhiteOut. Then along came computers with word processors, and suddenly everything we wrote was provisional. When I wrote something dumb I could just go back and suck it into the ether. Put something better in that sentence. I couldn’t believe how sweet this was. I could edit anything I wrote. And edit that. And edit that again.

      So . . . maybe that’s what Heaven will be like. We will be able to edit our lives, sucking out the cringeworthy moments and replacing them with noble sentiments, truly clever jokes, wise observations instead of the donkey braying we had done in real life. We could edit our lives. Remembering a stupid argument that ended in rancor, we could try ending the argument with an unexpected kiss. Maybe that would suddenly make everything good again. Or if not, we could edit again and put something else in there.

      Edit our lives. Man, that would be heaven.

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.