Last night The H and I went on a spontaneous date of sorts to a pop-up shop in Manhattan that was having a sample sale. We’re on the mailing list from a previous purchase, and I had originally thought when I forwarded the email to Andrew we would go this weekend. Saturday we would go a bit out of our way en route to an event in Brooklyn. Sunday we would make an afternoon of going to the shop and stopping by a coffee shop that makes one of our favorite coffee drinks. But then he responded, “Want to go tonight?”
Yes. Sure, why not?
We went. It was fun. We got some great deals on unique items and on the walk home from the subway we tried out a local taco place that I learned about through my volunteer program. All before 8 p.m. The worst part was the added walking on my mysteriously sore calves. (Well not actually mysterious, just more like the “That was a rougher workout than I thought” sore.)
My point is, I said yes to a random trip into Manhattan on a Wednesday night in January after a long day at school. For some people, this is no big deal. Their social life and activity calendar are without boundaries. Since college, I have not been operating this way, which also means it is uncomfortable for me to be open to activities that might keep me out late on a “school night.” I have shows. I plan out our meals for the week. It is a bold move if I went to get groceries and was home after 6:00 p.m. I go to bed at the same time every night. Call it a by-product of living alone in smaller communities, but weeknights are for routine. Maybe it is also PTSD from being in a gazillion activities in high school where walking out the door with Schwan’s chicken patties in-hand was the best we could do some nights? Still, let me repeat, weeknights are for routine. Friday and Saturday are for plans outside the house, eating out, and merriment.
Moving around the country has caught up with this way of life and mindset. Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE a good night at home with nothing going on. Even more, I LOVE multiple nights in a week where this is the case. Homebody? Sure. As I look back, I can see shifts. In Chicago it was a Craft Club I did with some girlfriends and a volleyball league I randomly joined. In the Bay Area it was working a second job and driving 45 min. one way in traffic to have free dinner with my husband. Currently, in New York it is friends who have life schedules I cannot compete with and realizing that the only way you will be able to get together with them is by going to Brooklyn on a Tuesday. People do things all the time! Social activities aren’t exclusively for Friday and Saturday nights. (Let’s not deny that Fri./Sat. still remain the most popular nights to go out and about for a reason, but still…)
So, I’ve been trying to say yes, even if it is a conscious, forceful yes. Many times I still want to say no. But, I truly have no good reason besides my old habits. My old habits are comfortable, yet they prevent me from experiencing my life in a refreshing way. Even after I say yes to things, I often have the “ugh, I don’t want to go” feeling shortly before going. But, I go because it is good for me. And, I almost always am happy I went. I love the people I’m with. I appreciate the experiences I’m having. I’m entertained by how this city always has its switch on “on” mode. When posed with a social opportunity I need to remember their are 7 nights a week, not just 2. It’s about a growth-mindset, people.
Often we hear or read about how people need to up their stock in their ability to say no. So if you need to work on saying no, say no! I have found this way of thinking helpful over the years in specific settings. Some people probably do have too much going on on their social calendar. But, not me. Moving is helpful to your social scene (maybe harmful?) in the fact that you are rebooting old friendships, hoping for new friendships, and just aren’t as connected to your community to have tons of social offers floating around.
Saying yes has a component of fear, but saying yes also helps be feel more connected. I’m going to work on saying yes and thank my stars for on-demand, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO GO. (I can’t quit on Grey’s yet, I’ve come this far!)
Yes, I know the kick-ass Shonda Rhymes has a book literally titled Year of Yes. It is in my cart. Looking forward to all the yesses!
What’s next? Dinner at The H’s work with a friend tonight, with a gift for the friend I’ve been carrying around since mid-Dec. because even when you are up for hanging out on all nights of the week, it is still hard to cross paths. Also, I’m working on being the invitER not the invitee, bonus points!