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    September 19, 2012

    Why yes, I think I will

    In the mail today was a wedding Save The Date from the girl who observed Emma all year. She started in late October and finished up a few weeks ago. We were both mopey about it and she wrote me the sweetest thank you card. Our circumstances don't make us natural friends, but she's marrying the brother of a good friend of mine, so it makes it a bit easier to keep track of her. Plus I've already decided we're going to her wedding. Which is in Montana. Next summer. (WHAT.)

    I love that a friend emailed a random request: "Hey, my future sister-in-law is looking for a new baby and mom to observe for an infant development class." And I love that I said yes, even though it really did sound sort of annoying and intrusive and crazy. And I love that it turned out to be AWESOME. I looked forward to her visit every week! Towards the end we were sort of breaking the rules and getting to know each other better and I TOTALLY love that she's inviting us to her WEDDING. 

    I think the absolute craziest thing I've ever said Yes to was a proposition to hang out in China with a complete stranger for two weeks. It wasn't totally without context - at the time (the first year we were married) Phillip and I had missionary friends in China. They were coming back to the states for the summer, but one of their fellow English teachers was staying behind and housesitting by herself. Our friends told us she was the extroverted type, likely to be very lonely, and they knew we had just turned down our own opportunity to teach English in China for a year. Did we want to just go visit? And hang out with their friend? We could stay in the apartment she was housesitting. She spoke fluent Chinese. China is cheap!

    The decision to not go to China ourselves, which I've written about a various times, was painful - a major place of "failure" for me. Plus I was battling big time anxiety and feeling guilty about putting Phillip through the whole rigamarole. To be perfectly honest, China was pretty far down on my list of places to visit, and while it doesn't seem totally strange to me NOW, I was DEFINITELY NOT the sort of person who happily agreed to spend two weeks with a total stranger. 

    Except we said yes. Why not? We didn't have kids. We had plenty of vacation time and disposable income. We applied for visas, bought our tickets, and prepared for three weeks in China - two and half of them in Xian. We may have emailed once or twice with the girl I blog nicknamed Blondie, but I'm not sure. It didn't matter - when she met us at the airport we were instant friends. 

    That trip was amazing, in so many different ways. (For one, it kickstarted this blog!) I've lived in a lot of weird places, but China was unlike anything I'd ever experienced. And Blondie - maybe it was weird that a just married couple was hanging out with a single girl they didn't know (and who ended up staying in the apartment with us, even though she had her own) but we clicked so fast and so easily. It was such a healing time for me, almost like a consolation prize from God. We had the best BEST time. We even ended up cutting our sightseeing time in Beijing to spend a few more days with Blondie and the Chinese students we were helping her teach.

    The week after Christmas I'm going to Urbana as part of the intercessory prayer team. TOTALLY RANDOM. Yes, one of my best friends happens to be super connected to these sorts of things and if she wasn't already going there's no way I would have even THOUGHT of it. But she's going, she invited me, and even though we didn't really have another set of plane tickets factored into the budget, even though I have to leave early the day after Christmas, even though I'll be gone an entire WEEK, I said yes. Or, rather, Phillip told me I should say yes. I still don't really know what I've gotten myself into. If I think about it too much I start to feel sad about being gone so long, nervous about being gone so long, guilty for being gone so long (you get the picture) and also super intimidated. I've never done anything like this before. But so far, saying yes to the crazy stuff has worked out for me. 

    A few years ago Emily and Elizabeth were trying to figure out how to get some internet people together, and then we planned this whole weekend in Sacramento, and I was honestly only going to go for an overnight because GAK I'd never been away from my kids before! It was so self-indulgent! It was unfair to my family! But I remember my mom telling me I was crazy not to go two nights and I went for two nights and what is crazier than spending a weekend with people you only know because of your WEBSITE? (What is more AWESOME, am I right?!)

    I want to live a life of Saying Yes. Not necessarily to the church committees or school committees or the random day to day stuff. If you say yes to all of that you go crazy and you start to hate everyone. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about sort of the singular stuff, the random stuff you wouldn't have come up with on your own. The things where you'd be, "Well... why not?" I'm lucky I have a husband and family and friends who totally support this kind of thinking, even more than I do sometimes. I feel like my world has expanded so much because of those moments. I know people - I love people - I would have never ever met. 

    Now you tell me what you've said yes to. :) 

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    I said yes to God's crazy idea that I should go back to grad school this fall. And accept a new job at the same time. And I was a mass of anxiety for most of August and then everything started and I love it. It's nice to know He knows what He's doing :)

    Ok, this is not a plug (it feels kind of like one, and I don't like that) but I said why not? when -R- asked if anyone wanted to write for the new style blog she was starting. I know nothing about style. I never in a million years thought I'd write for a fashion site. But I love it. I have tons of ideas and I'm having the best time.

    I might have cried during this blog post. Darn you!

    I have been saying yes a lot this year. It is an awesome feeling.

    I am waiting for my next big yes, but your thoughts on your trip to China? Makes me think of MY trip to China and it's FUNNY- how STRANGE it is to me that there was a time where China was low on my "places to go" list. IT IS BIZARRE. I loved my experience there and I can't wait to visit more of Asia- to the point where depending on upcoming life circumstances I might pursue a position there. SO... ME TOO. :)

    I said yes to the blathering, which is not like me. I said yes to joining a book club that I didn't know anyone from (and then yes again to taking over a lot of the functioning of the book club). I've said yes to #biggestbloggingloser (shoot, need to get my money in for that) and I've said no to work projects (which is just as liberating). I've tried to say yes to my kids (yes, four days in the splash pool, no problem) at least as often as no, which is also a bit hard. Good for you on the yeses!

    I said yes to moving to Florida despite hating humidity and heat and being scared to death of hurricanes. (A fear, I might add, that was confirmed within a month of our arrival.) But we've met great friends here and grown in our careers. It's been a good thing.

    What came to mind for me first was more attitude things. Like I've said yes to daily injections with this pregnancy. And it's not like I had a choice, I would have had to do them anyway, but I could whine and make Matt do each of them for me and complain all the time. Instead I just decided to treat them like not a big deal and that made them not a big deal. I've done a lot of that in my life that has made things easier.

    I almost never comment on blogs, but I had to for this one. Thank you for this lovely message about Saying Yes. I needed it today.

    Most recently...My husband is a huge baseball fan and his favorite team is the Atlanta Braves (we live far from there). His favorite player is retiring after this year, and I know he was bummed he hasn't gotten to see him play in years. So...I got to thinking and decided that MAYBE it would be feasible to take a quick trip to Atlanta at the end of this month to go see a game. And I knew it would have to include our 4 year old, because it's just a father-son-baseball-ish thing. Keep in mind I'm nearly 16 weeks pregnant at the moment and the thought of a) packing; b) getting my child on his first plane ride; and c) spending money for a long weekend trip with airfare is not really my thing. I am cheap. I am practical. I am tired. Oh, and did I mention my in-laws are taking us to Florida in November so we already have a big plane trip coming soon? We almost didn't get do it because flights kicked up $100 in one day, but after a couple weeks of waiting and a shift in travel days we got the cost back down and we leave a week from tomorrow. I figure that it's the last chance to do a trip like this with only three of us, we won't be traveling much after the baby's born, and this player is retiring so this is a true last chance. So instead of being a stick in the mud, I am embracing overspending for three days of fun and no doubt horrible sleep-deprived behavior (both me and my son, I'd guess). Should be interesting. This one is probably so silly compared to most of the stories people will post, but seriously, this is totally not like me.

    I've said yes to being on the Mops steering team at my church and I've made some great friends by doing so. I said yes to starting a home-party-type business and I'm having so much fun and pretty decent success. I recently said yes to committing to a Director training program through said business and while I don't know how that is going to turn out, I'm scared and excited about the opportunity!

    I said yes to a holiday party I didn't want to go to (and met Andrew), yes to inviting myself to a crazy blog meet up (BLATHERING) and yes to a yoga date with a friend (and found a place that's changing my life). Saying yes = the best.

    I love the idea of saying yes. I don't feel like I've had a lot of opportunities to put it into practice recently, but I love it. Oh! I know one! I said yes to the seemingly wackadoo idea of driving to Michigan for Linus and Ambrose's birthday party. My kid gets carsick, my husband was out of town, it's a bit of a schlep- there were a lot of reasons why it seemed too much effort to be worth it- but it was such a lovely, fun weekend and I'm so glad I decided that it was worth a little inconvenience to spend time with people I like very much.

    Also: when you come to urbana, you are flying through Chicago, yes? Will you be with an entourage? If not, I would like to steal you for coffee and a donut.

    When @anneoftroy asked me, in her senior year of college, "Do you want to move to San Diego with me?" I said yes. Oh, even before that, I said yes to leaving engineering university and a full tuition scholarship to transfer to tiny Catholic school. Without those two decisions, my life would absolutely not be what it is today.

    I said "yes" when my now husband asked me 10 years ago (yesterday!) if I would be his wife. It didn't seem wild at the time, but now I know it was and that yes has led to so many more strange yeses I can barely believe it!

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