What do I want to say NO to ? these days it seems lots of things ..
What a strange writing prompt I thought as I pulled out todays random card. There is so many directions I could take this, you have the standard go to responses. No to wars that make no sense, No to climate change inaction, No to the corruption of current politics, No to the Murdoch press monopoly, No to animal cruelty. The list could go on and on and on. As such they are all easy responses, the natural order of wanting a better world . I could also go the general responses which we all battle daily, No to that extra chocolate biscuit, No to that extra drink, No to a big bowl of nachos, No to all those things I eat or drink that cause me grief and weight gain. A big No also to all that wasteful shopping I undertake with the belief that I will lose weight and it will fit me , or that I will wear it , I never do, I just waste money. I could spend hours of every day saying No to so many such things.
I think I have spend the last few years growing more confident in saying No to things that no longer serve my purpose or bring me joy. As I have become older the ego has diminished somewhat and things I once thought were important no longer are, so No became a go to get out of jail card.
Learning to say No enabled me to finally retire and let go of my guilt induced yes mentality. I wish I had had the confidence to say No many years ago to so many things. I think No is such an age affirming word. It takes practice, lots of it, No to events you don't really want to go to, No to socialising and talking to people whose values and politics you vehemently oppose, No to working those extra hours for no cost, No to doing all those things you are conditioned to do out of politeness.
We can say No whilst being polite and also just stopping at the word NO , not providing any long winded excuse clauses. How many of us did that ? Not wanting to hurt people is a natural human condition ( or I expect it would be ) but sometimes by saying yes we are ultimately hurting ourselves, fostering resentment. The times I have said yes to things I didn't want to do but did out of obligation or duty, whilst saying No to the things I really wanted to do, only adds to feelings of losing yourself , becoming smaller, living an unauthentic life.
Instead of saying No, these days I spend my time saying Yes more, increasing my list of non negotiable's. I say Yes to indulging in the best pancake stack regardless of my No brain, I say Yes to playing my music loud, everyday and singing every lyric and couldn't care less about the No you can't sing crowd or the neighbours, and I say Yes every month to my two hour facial and massage no matter what the bank balance or how many times people raise their eyes at such self indulgence .
So the question remains - what do I want to say No to - the answer is easy - anything I want to - the days of being a yes person have long gone and I think age, wisdom and a little thing called the covid lockdown helped me to realise what is important enough in my life to say NO to.