As soon as I said it, I instantly regretted it.
It was almost slow motion, as if I could literally see the words in the air, having escaped unintentionally before falling on the ears of the many receivers. I’d said 4 little words that were met with instant praise and appreciation.
One tiny little expression that’s roped me into serving a yearlong term as our spouse club’s president, landed me a position on countless committees and boards. The same ones that so kindly positioned me at the head of fundraising efforts for a work campaign. The same sentence that resulted in coordinating countless events, meals, auctions, parties and more.
I’m a military spouse. You’re a military spouse.
I know you’ve said the exact same sentence:
I can do it.
Except really? We can’t.
You and I both know we will try. And likely the only thing that will suffer is our own sanity, well-being and sleep.
We’ll stay up until 4 to get those treat bags ready for the party at school. We’ll skip our 5 a.m. spin class in order to make it to the 24-hour Walmart before our service member has to leave for work.
God forbid we let anyone down but ourselves! We will get it done. And it will be done lovely.
But you and I both know the insane amount of coffee, vows to never volunteer again and spontaneous tears that happen whilst cutting another %*(#$ craft.
Why do we do it? It’s simple, really.
There are those of us who can’t say no.
Who hate that silence between someone pleading for help and someone stepping up. We’re uncomfortable with the vulnerability of someone asking for something and no one jumping at the chance to do it, so never mind our already packed schedules: we step in. And we have to stop it.
This anti-drug campaign slogan of the ’90s has come full circle and is now your mantra during this season of over-extending.
Say no to something.
I know, it feels a little dirty and selfish and awful, but once you try it, you’ll be a turn-downing machine.
Buy yourself the same coffee mug someone once bought me that says “Stop Me Before I Volunteer Again,” pour yourself a giant cup o’ joe and enjoy the extra hour you have to yourself.
It’s like Daylight Savings Time but instead of changing your clock, change your instinct to say yes.
October kicks off the season to give and to love and to be thankful and all of those things. It’s also the time of year that you already have 1,000 extra things on your plate.
Next time someone asks you to help with something or take on an additional responsibility ask yourself this:
“Do I have the bandwidth to do this?”
“What can I take off my plate in order to make this happen?”
Much to my mother’s chagrin, I learned to juggle in high school, using fruit from a bowl in the kitchen. And I can juggle 3 clementines really well. But the second you add a fourth, I’m struggling. I usually drop one. And if you add a fifth? Not only do I drop the extra clementine, I drop all of them. And no one likes 5 squishy clementines. No one.
If you’re going to say yes, you have to say no to something else.
It’s hard – that’s why we’re making it our theme for October. But you can do it.
And like we learned in Drug Abuse Resistance Education in the ’90s: Just say no, kids.
Just say no.