Why I Stopped Refusing to Say No

Sometimes you have to say “no.”

That’s something I cherish now “No”vember seems like a good time to celebrate that perfect little word and to embrace it for a little holiday peace.

I’ve been away from Project Wednesday for awhile because, despite my desire to try to do it all, all the time, I found I just couldn’t anymore. I work two jobs. I was trying to finish writing my first full-length play. I had roleplaying game commitments at our beloved local board game café multiple nights a week. I had rehearsals. With creative local friends we’ve been working on starting an artist collective and helping one of those friends start up a writing-centered podcast. I had a lingering head cold and cough. Plus with family and furry pet obligations, it was a lot to do, and something had to give because I think I’m missing out on other things. Little, but important things.

But as I’m aging, I’ve found it’s getting easier to say no—at least sometimes. I still want to do many of the things that come up, but you have to evaluate and prioritize for what’s best for yourself and your well-being right now.

Have you stopped to ask that of yourself lately? What’s best for you right now?

The holidays can be hard, and you have to make sure you’re in a place to be able to cherish the things that happen when you’re with friends and family during the season. Look for the little things to enjoy. A cousin’s smile. A white marshmallow morning of snow through a frosted windowpane. A cup of coffee just the way you like it before the rest of the house wakes. That song you needed on the radio on the way home with the volume up to perform to. But add “no” to that list for the things that could take a backseat for now—the things that could take away from those little things that make you feel better that you need as well as the big things.

I’m finding opportunities often knock more than once. You’ll be able to say “yes” next time, I bet.

Marcie Herman Riebe

Marcie is a bilingual caseworker by day, a university adjunct by night, and an aspiring writer at times in between. An import to NEPA, she has been active in the arts for many years from theatre to forensics to music. Her interest in the arts continues as founder of Ink, an area writer's group, a founding member of Voce Angeli (NEPA's only all-female chamber choir), and as a columnist for Thirty-Third Wheel. She loves all things Pittsburgh, particularly the University of Pittsburgh where she earned her Master of Arts in Linguistics. She lives in Scranton with her handsome husband, Pete, and their horde of cats: Napoleon, King Ajax, Sam, and Dean.

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