“Just saying yes because you can’t bear the short-term pain of saying no is not going to help you do the work.”
No is a beautiful word.
In fact, it may be one of my favorite words.
In my sixty-some years, I’ve not used it often enough.
I learned to say no as a writer a while back.
No, I won’t write for you for free. Or for exposure.
Or, for that matter, for a penny a word.
Most of my life I’ve done things because “well, if I don’t no one else will.”
I think it took a second round of cancer for me to say that if I’m the only one who will do it, then perhaps it doesn’t need to be done.
I can’t do it all. I don’t want to try to do it all.
And that’s a good thing.
When I was a much, much younger man, my theme song was from the musical Pippin.
I won’t rest until I know I’ll have it all.
I don’t want it all anymore. I’d rather have the rest.
By the end of the show, Pippin also realized he didn’t want it all.
I’ve written before that I’m too old to play Pippin, but if you’re casting the show I could rock the part of Charlemagne.
Then again, these days if you offer me the part, I might say no.
As things are beginning to return from our forty-seven years of house arrest, I’ve said no to a few theater projects. And there are a few coming in the spring that I will also likely say no to.
There’s more to that story, but that’s for another post. Or not.
Maybe it’s the cancer. Maybe it’s the age. Maybe it’s both.
But I love finally being strong enough to say no.
I’m not quite at the old man get off my lawn stage.
But I have said no, I’m not getting up the leaves this year. I’m allowing them to naturalize.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve said no to some other projects and responsibilities.
I still have plenty to do.
And I’ll still take on projects that have meaning. Or sometimes I’ll do something because a friend asks.
Or, I might just say no.
It’s a beautiful word.