My family and I recently returned from our annual elk hunting trip. It was one for the books, in so many ways. More on that in another post. On my way home, a good friend, who knows the trouble I have saying “NO” sent me this picture.
My first thought was this is a great idea. And that I should start it in December, because, you know, Thanksgiving. I have people pulling at me left and right. “Yes, sure I can. I would be happy to!” is SO much easier than “No, I can’t. I’m Sorry”. Until it comes time to fulfill those yeses. Cue – late nights, stress to the max, trying to keep everything together and on time. I always get all the things done. But at what expense? The last few years it has been at the expense of my health. My family. My sanity. It feels good when people pat you on the back and say “Great Job, I don’t know how you do it all”. But then, if I try to slow down and say “No”, it feels like I am not doing a great job. That I am not an awesome person (everyone want to be awesome, right?) That I’m kinda a sucky person who is letting everyone down.
But I realized something on my trip. It was about the 4th day on the mountain. All the bad weather had moved on and left a blanket of snow behind. I walked to the edge of camp, found a log and brushed away the powdered glitter piled on top. I snuggled myself under the boughs and waited. And I waited. And I waited some more. And in the waiting I thought. I thought how nice it was to sit and wait. To just be in that place, in that time. Maybe an elk would walk out. Maybe he wouldn’t. All I really had to wait on was for the sun to go down or my feet to get cold. It didn’t really matter. I thought about home and I thought how nice it would be to take all that waiting and silence back with me. Peace, satisfaction and the simple joy of being alive were all that mattered under that little evergreen tree. I had food, shelter, warmth and company back at camp. And I never wanted to leave that mountain. I realized I was not a sucky person letting everyone else down. But I had been letting myself down. Way, way down. In my heart I knew it was time to take No-Vember seriously, and I hadn’t even heard of it yet.
Barreling back into reality makes practical application a real hurdle though. I enjoy doing all the things. I want to make all the peoples happy. But I also don’t want to go back to where I was this time last year. The last 7 or 8 years actually. It wasn’t a happy or good place to be. Three jobs, running from one destination to the next, fueled by vodka and coffee, lugging around an extra 50 pounds and hating the creature I had become. Under this tree, in this moment, I was very happy. So what’s a girl to do? I will start by recalling the revelations under the tree. The world will spin without me. No one is going to starve if I don’t make them a pie or a pan of dressing. Miffed maybe, but not starved. The 4-H Livestock show will happen, with or without me. I want to help, yes, but I’m not a make or break part of the system. Three jobs is stupid and it’s better to be a little poor than a lot miserable. And all the running and texting and planning and fund raising, it isn’t a BAD thing. Some people thrive on it.
I need to breathe.
To write and think. To cook for the love of family and food. To walk and listen and ride and to soak up the silence. To inhale the scent of pine needles and oak leaves baked by the November sun. To create and reflect and to be the person my dog believes me to be. That is my No-Vember goal.
I would encourage you to maybe take a look around, and practice saying “No” to something that no longer serves you and say “Yes!” to something that brings you joy.
My first ever blog video. Look at me, getting all tech savvy. Not. Haha! Enjoy the silence. I sure did.
Disclaimer – I am still going to fund raise and make pies. I AM happy to do it! But I won’t be making as many this year. So if you DO get one, you are just extra lucky, don’t NOT order thinking I am stressed out. I’ll tell you “No” if I can’t, I promise.