Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Power of YES!



A year ago Monday, I was doing nothing more than my normal day of grocery shopping and errand running. When I arrived home I was greeted with a message on my answering machine that said this, “Melissa, I have an extra ticket to the inauguration, can you get here? Call me back soon!” This phone call came one day BEFORE the inauguration, so there wasn’t much time to decide (this isn’t a political discussion ladies, bear with me!). There were SO MANY reasons to say NO – too expensive, not enough time, no child care, DH would have to talk off days of work, scared of flying, yadda, yadda, yadda. But against my nature, because I live in the realm of caution and NO, I said YES! Or more importantly, my DH said YES, “you are going, the kids will be fine, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, we can pay for it later, there is a flight at 4pm – GO!” So, 3 hours after that life changing phone call I was on my way to Washington DC – and 24 hours after that, I was sitting in the grandstand behind Steven Spielberg, Leo DiCaprio and Arnold Schwarzenegger, watching the Inauguration of the 44th President of the United States.

Over the course of my life, I’ve had very few opportunities to say YES in such a dramatic way – in fact I can count on two fingers the other times I’ve dropped everything and propelled myself into a YES moment. The first was a year after I graduated from college. I was working my first job as a receptionist (three cheers for answering phones!). One day, a woman walked into the foyer, who I interned for two years earlier in Washington DC. She was opening up a lobbying office for a telecommunications company and needed a legislative assistant and asked if I was interested. Ummm, YES! Three weeks later, my car was packed and I was moving into a group house I had never seen and living with two MEN I had never met (that didn’t settle too well with Dad).

The second occasion was, ironically, when the same lobbying office closed. I was two weeks from being unemployed and looking for a job, when a friend of mine offered me an unused ticket to Paris (this was LONG before 9/11 travel restrictions, where anyone could fly on a ticket without showing ID). Would I go? YES! I was getting a decent severance package, I certainly had the time and I’d never been! So, off I flew with my girlfriend for a week in Paris. Honestly, it was one of the most spiritual experiences I’ve ever had. Two days after I returned, I received a job offer and started the following week. Everything fell into place, despite my decision to be spontaneous. Fast forward 11 yrs to my opportunity of a year ago, and now I have a total of 3 truly YES acts in my life – without any negative consequences to my actions.

After my Inauguration YES, I resolved to apply YES more often in my life. I wanted to be more spontaneous! I wanted to have that “joie de vie” I felt after all of those decisions. I wanted to be a little less cautious – not reckless, not pray-less – but more willing to say YES and it be OK and enjoy the results. There are days I don’t leave the house, so grand spontaneous YES opportunities don’t often present themselves over laundry. However, in the past year I’ve said yes to things I normally would have said NO to immediately – and guess what? They’ve turned out OK. Earlier in the year, I was asked to be PTA Vice President at my kid’s school. Ahhh!! Definitely a NO moment. But I said YES. I’m now in the middle of PTA hell, but it’s good! I’m learning SO much, and I’ve had so many people help and come to my rescue, that it’s given me the confidence to know I can accomplish tough things. I was also offered a job! My dream job! As a part time librarian. Again, my initial reaction was, “NO, I can’t do this, I don’t have time, what about the kids, what if I can’t do it?” But I said YES, and so far, I’ve been able to manage it all – life is crazy – but it’s working (my house is a disaster, though!). On the flip side, I had the opportunity to see friends in Salt Lake this fall. I initially said YES, but my evil twin returned and I canceled. I was SOOO regretful after that.

I like the YES me. But it’s not the big YESs I need to worry about now – it’s the small YESs – the simple things like -- YES we can go to the park -- YES we can go get ice cream -- YES you can stay up late -- YES you can get the paints out even though I just cleaned the kitchen -- YES we can read one more book. I think if I start saying YES to the little things I will be blessed with more opportunities to test my new found YES nature.