“Yes,” My Favorite New Word

Recently I noticed the ease with which I’ve been saying, “No.”

“No, I can’t go to a movie because it’s January, it’s cold and dark, and for Pete’s sake, this is Minnesota. No, I’d rather eat nails than order a kale and Quinoa soufflé. No, I don’t care to take an online blogging course from a teenage social media guru.” Well, you get my drift.

Then I had a humbling awakening. My brother called on a Friday afternoon to ask what I had going on for the weekend. I must have paused too long because he smoothly continued his query with, “Or, are you planning to stay home to make clothes for the cat?”

Apparently resistance does not equal resilience.

So, blame it on winter or on my short-term memory, I forgot the difference between resistance and resilience. What I interpreted as wise guidelines for cold weather survival turned out to be a guarantee of getting stuck indoors for an entire season.

Not that I’m now eager to try a kale and quinoa soufflé, but I have made adjustments. For example, I packed up my winter barn clothes and headed to Wisconsin for a ten-day horse and home sitting gig. This required leaving behind my cozy office and the comfort of working in flannel PJs. In exchange, I signed on to provide food and housekeeping services for my friend Nettie’s twelve horses. The concierge services extended to fifteen barn cats, an assortment of goldfish, and two Jack Russell terriers.

Frozen equipment added zip to the days.

The first few days found me entertaining frozen water hydrants and a smashed thumb. Next came three trips to Mills Fleet Farm for replacement manure forks. The plastic tines break in cold weather. All this fostered an excess of creative language on my part. Then things changed.

Curiously, the twenty below zero mornings did not prevent each day from becoming a little more pleasurable. True, I love horses and have owned them most of my life. I love the sound of horses munching grain in a quiet barn. I love watching them buck and squeal in the fresh snow. And, I love the magic of running my hand over a brood mare’s’ pregnant belly, feeling life stir inside.

So… by day five, old camp songs had replaced the previous creative language. And by day six, I was experiencing an energy surge befitting a climber who just summited Mount Everest.

Hence, with a little needling from my brother, and a smirch of egg on my face, I have revisited my relationship with the affirmative, “Yes.” For one thing, evidence shows that yes often turns out better than you expect. Yes is also good for friendships. It broadens the possibilities for fun. Yes opens the door to new adventures and, finally, yes can warm up a darn cold winter hiatus on the farm.

When did you last say “No,” and find out later that you missed out on something really special?

(I’d like to invite you to tour my new blog at: http://www.desire-to-inspire.net. Hope you’ll join in on the conversation!)


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15 thoughts on ““Yes,” My Favorite New Word”

  1. My wife desperately wants to move out to the country so she can be around horses more. But I keep flashing back to when my kids “promised” to take care of new pets, and imagining myself in stories like the one you just told. It’s the frozen part that bothers me!

  2. What a wonderfully relatable post. New adventures are so much fun, but I think I’ll keep saying yes to some of my old standbys–Yes, I will have another kamikaze. Yes, I think I could provide a loving home for those boots. Sushi AND an ice cream sundae?? YES Please!

  3. I said No all the time, so much so my bestie is mad at me before she asks me to do anything, even if she is willing to pay me. I’m from Chicago, so saying NO to going anywhere from September 1-June 1 (8 months of Chicago winter) is a requirement if I have to go out in the Northern elements.
    I’m much more compromising in the south.

    1. Correction: *I’m much more compromising in the South, West, and Northern Summers.*

    2. The only thing I’ve found that improves this chronic winter problem is a good pair of long underwear from the Duluth Trading Company. It’s amazing!

  4. For those struggling with over-commitment, it has become popular to practice saying ‘no’ without guilt or regret. I like how you have turned it around to say ‘yes’ to new experiences and how good a ‘yes’ can turn out.

    1. The over commitment is a challenge. I guess it’s finding that balance, though I have caught myself missing opportunities due to my reluctance to take part. Frankly, winter weather really does contribute to saying no.

    1. Hopefully no is just a lousy habit that we can turn around. Yes is definitely more fun, as long as it doesn’t involve robbing banks and all that.

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