It started with the chair. Several years ago, when my dad cleared out the house of anything resembling my childhood, he assigned some sort of family significance to this chair, so I took it in out of some weird obligation. This chair sat in the corner of my room for 2 years, collecting dust and odds and ends. Then the leg broke and wood glue couldn’t fix it. The chair couldn’t fulfill its most basic purpose.
During a post-breakup shopping spree, I finally got a window seat for my room, which pushed the chair to the middle.
Maybe I should see if my dad can fix it.
Maybe I should ask my brother if he wants it.
Maybe I could fit it into our cramped living room.
Saying “no” goes against my nature. Perhaps it’s a female thing, not wanting to seem selfish or confrontational. Or a yolo thing, not wanting to miss out on everything while I’m still young. Or a polite-child-of-the-suburbs thing. But whatever it is, it’s obnoxious. Saying “yes” all the time is why I continued to get the grunt work at my previous job. It’s why I get stressed out from an overbooked schedule. And it’s why I put way too much thought into an otherwise generic, decrepit chair.
It was time to give no f***s (à la Alison). Because it’s just a f***ing chair in the middle of my tiny apartment. After a very quick, very amusing trip to Goodwill on my bike, that chair, that guilt, and that weight were gone (well.. at least until I mention it to my dad).
Then NoExNo came around again. Two years ago, I set out to start a new blog – a success in that I started it, but a failure in that I didn’t keep it up. Last year, I resolved to meditate once a day, but try as I might, I couldn’t consistently find time to do that in the morning. 10 minutes of my time each day and I couldn’t do that for myself. This year, I wanted to get to the root cause of the excuses.
I’ve been realizing that every time you add something to your life, something else gets pushed aside – so it was time to see if the opposite was true.
My successes so far this month:
- Taking out the chair really opened up my room, resulting in fewer stubbed toes and, randomly, more stretching.
- I felt horrible telling a friend who lives close by to wait until my schedule cleared up to hang out, but I ended up enjoying his company more a week later.
- I said no to a side project at work that I honestly didn’t have time for and no one questioned it, despite how I figured it would go down (go figure).
- Following other NoExNo-ers, I removed Facebook from my phone, so now during lunch breaks, after I check emails and Instagram of course, I have nothing else to do but relax and space out.
- I sent this pep talk to Allison before I really felt done. I remember hearing somewhere that perfectionists should aim for 80% perfect, because the rest is a waste of time and energy.
And the failures, since I’m, sadly enough, only human:
- I should’ve said “no” to a good friend I recently dated, who I’ve hung out with post-breakup more than I ought to. Despite it being his decision due to the circumstances, his feelings are still very ambiguous. He didn’t say f*** yeah last weekend, so I should’ve said a firm f*** no.
- A friend asked me to be a reference for a position she applied to. How could you say no? I instinctively said yes, despite not remembering much about the projects we’d done together. I really could do without having to spend time reading through old emails and piecing together old memories in the middle of a big work project. Ugh.
No matter what goal you set this month, think about what in your life isn’t helping you reach it. Anything that doesn’t want you to be your best, healthiest, or happiest is probably not worth it in the end!
Valerie is a San Francisco cyclist, dancer, climber, nerd, introvert, and stress monkey (yet not a hipster, although I guess hipsters never admit to being hipsters..shoot).