“Who are YOU?” said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather slyly, “I-I hardly know, sir, just at present-at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”-Alice in Wonderland
I guess I could say Alice and I have a lot in common. We both curiously explore what this amazing Wonderland has to offer. As long as I can remember myself, my wonder of “what is out there” has lead me to saying “yes”.
I have come to the conclusion that not being scared to say “yes” has allowed me to lead a pretty amazing life.
What if I had not said “yes” to an opportunity to study in US, even though it meant flying for the first time (and not only the first time, but the first time internationally) when I was barely seventeen years old, to a country that I only knew from Hollywood movies with just a lick of English language?
But I did say “yes”, and what a life changing adventure it has been! I gained a new family, my English improved beyond “sign” language, and it lead to so much growth, independence, and I acquired more personal growth than staying put would have ever achieved.
So, I tell you to say “yes” to any travel opportunity-there are few other opportunities that allow for so much personal growth. Not many other things can help us grow as much as seeing other worlds, cultures, learning new traditions, being touched by other peoples’ lives, trying new foods, expanding your palates, swimming new beaches, and climbing higher mountains.
As I am writing this I am sitting in the back of a boat on the lake as my husband excitedly runs around me with a fishing pole. Let me tell you, fishing is not my cup of tea; not even a little bit. I normally prefer more action. But for 20 years now, I have said “yes” when my “other half” asks me to tag along, because a big part of marriage is when two people allow their habits to unite. And, bless his heart, he says “yes” to a lot of new experiences and new things that you are exposed to when you are married to a girl from another world. When you say “yes” you might start appreciating those things that you found boring before, because their contagious excitement will catch up with you. You might not enjoy fishing still, but you might like to have fresh fish for dinner, or appreciate the sunsets on the water.
Then there are a lot of small “yes’s” through the day that make your heart full. When your kids ask you to come back for the tenth “good night” hug, or when they ask to snuggle before bedtime. Those “yes’s” make the core of meaningful life to me.
So, I say “yes” every time, because dishes can wait, but your babies only stay little for a second.
When your kids want to try new things (Beneficial things, you are still the mom!), let them.
Mine like to cook and it usually means bringing out the ladder to clean the dough from the kitchen ceiling…at least I don’t have to worry about them going hungry when they head off to college, right?
When your friend calls for an “emergency” glass of wine, say “yes” and figure out your calendar later. This is how you build your tribe. Just as they say, “It takes a village to raise” a child, in my opinion, it takes a village to live your life fully. Village of mom friends, encourage your down friends, settle your “up” friends, and take care of your “village” so that they would have your back.
Inevitably, you will say “yes” to wrong people and wrong situations. Don’t dwell on it. Chalk it up to experience, in some instances you need to just turn the other cheek. Life is funny that way, you have to take good with bad to grow and prosper.
Finally, someday (soon) just say “yes” to your dreams. If I had let my lack of language skills and poor grammar hold me back from my dreams, you would never have read this!
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“-so long as I get somewhere,” Alice in Wonderland