As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten really great at saying no to things I don’t want to do.
In my younger years, I was easily talked into spending my time any way other than how I wanted to spend it. But now that I have a family, I’m conscious of how we spend our time on a personal, professional and recreational level.
I know I’m not alone in this. Many of my friends have also said they are now much more comfortable and confident saying no to obligations that just don’t fit their schedule or lifestyle.
But what about saying yes to things we want to do?
My dad passed away in January and his death reaffirmed my decision to say yes more often to doing things. You see, he waited years to sell his business to the perfect buyer. He finally made the sale when he was 65. He looked forward to enjoying retirement but, three years later, died unexpectedly.
If that has taught me anything, it's showing my kids that, as long as you have the resources and the ability, you shouldn’t ever turn down an opportunity that you want to do. Opportunities such as getting a babysitter to go out on the town or going on a trip that somewhere out of your comfort zone.
Recently, we planned a ski trip to Colorado with just a few days notice. We had just returned five days earlier from a spring break trip we'd planned far in advance and budgeted for, but I'm so glad we decided to go to Colorado. We drove, ate in and had great deals on ski passes and free lodging. It barely cost us more than a weekend in Omaha.
However, the reaction from many people regarding our spontaneous Colorado trip was a negative one. The idea that we'd pull our kids out of school for two days to go on another trip one week after our first trip wasn’t well received in all cases. But when you look for deals and are willing to do things last minute to save cost — why not say yes?
It’s strange how life has come full circle. In our 20s, we worry about saying no because we want to keep others happy. But in our 30s and 40s, we worry about saying yes to too many things because of how others will perceive us and our decisions.
As a parent, I think one of the best lessons I can teach my kids is to be respectful but not care what others think. I want them to make their decisions on activities and time based on what they want — not what others want. Yes, there will be times that we all have to do things we don’t want to do, but that’s even more reason to choose you and your family when you do get the choice.
So get that sitter, enjoy a spa day, go for a long run or take that vacation. Whatever it is — just say yes.