Vetoing A Season of Yes

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so the radio proclaims daily. It’s also the busiest – blink and you go from Thanksgiving to Christmas in a nanosecond. But during that time you attend a solid dozen events, eat way too much rich food, probably consume some form of holiday cheer and hug a lot of people. I mean A LOT. By the time the new year rolls around, you’re spent.

If that’s not the life you as a reader are living, please be my friend and teach me your ways. No, seriously.

Towards the end of the summer, I started to notice a subtle shift in the energy in our house. We went from accepting invitations to all kinds of events to really being selective on what we attended. We became homebodies. We’d rather experiment with cooking in our new Instant Pot on a Friday night than go to a charity happy hour. Even the events we did attend, we didn’t stay as long as we used to and we didn’t go out for night caps after. Our priorities had shifted – to us, to our family.

But now the holidays are upon us and I find we’re saying yes more often than we’re saying no. Yes we can go to that dinner. Yes we can work that volunteer toy drive. Yes we can be on that committee. And even if I’m the half of the we doing some of these things, it is still a team effort because My Life Hostage is there in the shadows supporting me.

No. Nope. Nix. Nay. Uh-uh. Nah. No way. Veto. Not likely. Fat chance.

There. Ten solid ways to say no. For the record, veto is my absolute favorite. Yet I struggle with every single one of them this time of year. Struggle to say no but also to say no without launching into all the reasons why I can’t do something. As if other people care about my woes.

I recently had a conversation with a friend who was praising me on the balance I have in my life. I started laughing – deep belly laughs. I guess from the outside looking in it might appear that way. Internally I feel like a duck – looks good above the water but below the surface I’m paddling for dear life. When pressed in this conversation for advice as to how I achieve my balance, I didn’t really know what to say. Finally I summed it up the best way I knew how – the older I get, the more I realize living on my own terms, a life people may not completely understand, is okay.

And really, it truly is okay.

Back to my holiday fiascos. If I apply my own rules for balance, I should be able to say no. And not only say no but learn to say it without explaining myself. Where do I find the class for learning how to do that? I’m currently working on a project for the new year that involves self-advocacy & self-care. Going through this process, I’ve realized how much I preach these things but how little I practice them.

Maybe I’m being too hard on myself? Maybe the holiday season is just meant to be like this – a season of YES. I don’t know that I will ever come to any conclusions on this, quite honestly. For now, I’m just going to strive for balance and paddle for dear life.

Rachel Olszewski

A hot mess held together on a daily basis by dry shampoo and probiotics, Rachel is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up but for now is a communications professional by trade. A true Chicagoan through and through, she is an East Coast transplant trying to set down roots. Although the height of her high heels may be getting shorter, Rachel’s expectations are not getting lower and she is on a mission to change the world one person at a time.

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