Updated: Nov 3, 2019
Recently I have been listening to songs that I haven’t heard in a while and “I Lived” by OneRepublic came on. Have you ever listened to the lyrics? It is a pretty incredible song inspiring people to embrace life because you want to be able to say “I Lived.” It made me think of the work I have been doing and the realizations I have been having about playing it safe and watching my life being played out from the bleachers.
When I initially got divorced, I learned to say “no” to things out of pure survival. I was so overextended learning how to manage a demanding job while parenting two young children. I juggled all of the chores, tasks, and responsibilities of raising kids, running a house, and working. I also gave myself no margin or error, so the pressure was on. I was exhausted, and the only thing that helped me regain my sanity was to begin to say no. I learned to say no to playdates, parties, dinners with friends, going to the pool, taking a hike, brunch with neighbors, and even more. You name it, and I said no to it. My girls and I spent much of our nights and weekends playing games, watching movies, and creating our new life in our new home.
Fast forward 4 years and I am still really good at saying no. After I listened to the “I Live” song, I reflected on the question “Why do you say no?” Of course, the first thing that popped into my head was, “I say no to have balance in my life.” I can’t do everything, so I have to say no to some things. I felt pretty good about that response, and then after a moment I realized that as a bunch of nonsense. I asked myself, “What does saying no get you?” That was the right question. While “finding balance” is what I have been telling myself, that’s not why I say no anymore. I say no because I avoid things that make me feel uncomfortable. I say no to prevent risk and extending beyond my comfort zone. This is not living. This again is watching my life pass me by.
I need to challenge myself. I need to try something to push my boundaries and jump into my life. I have to say “yes” to the next 5 invitations (as long as they are safe and don’t break the law). I am partnering up with a friend to be my accountability partner. I will be checking in with her and reporting on how I am doing. I am committing to being honest and engage in this challenge.
Message to my daughters: In life, setting goals for yourself is a great way to break out and challenge yourself. I encourage you to buddy up with someone so you can have an accountability partner as well as a cheerleader when you need a little encouragement. Life is worth embracing, and it is always important to push your limits to see what you are capable of. Get out there and live!