Calendar Therapy: Start Saying No
There is an odd green(ish) patch in our lawn that boasts an array of grasses and assorted weeds. This eyesore in our yard is a bittersweet reminder of a decision I made back in May: saying no to a 2018 garden.
I don’t really like gardening; my thumbs are the opposite of green, although I love the fresh produce that seems to find its way through the tangled, weeded mess. But this year, as our summer calendar filled up, I felt a sense of panic and frustration. Isn’t summer supposed to be laid back? I decided that this summer a garden would bring more work than joy, so we planted grass instead of produce.
In April my husband and I sat down and talked through every week of the upcoming summer. Weddings, work, vacations, camping, conferences… the calendar exploded with colors as each weekend was marked up by a different responsibility or invite. All the things were good things, but I started to think about the moments that wouldn’t find their way into our packed summer and slow days at home that would never happen if we moved forward this way.
It was time to make some hard decisions. We started by making a priority list for our summer. What was most important to us? Who did we want to make time for? For us, family time is extremely important. Our 3-year-old daughter has made it clear that her love language is quality time, and thrives when all four of us are together. We also wanted to make a stronger effort to get to know our neighbors this summer. We erased the calendar and started over. We first added in two non-negotiable family camping trips, happy hours with our neighbors and then some extended family weddings.
This process is not easy—RSVP-ing no to weddings of people you love is NOT easy. But if we had said yes to everything, our summer would be flying by faster than it already is.
Saying “no” to good things can mean saying “yes” to even better things.
Often times we fill up our calendars with everything that is expected of us to the point of unhealthy, wild exhaustion. Then, when the month is over and we rip off the page to start anew, we say things like “this month won’t be as busy” or “I’ll make time for myself this month.” Then, before you know it, it’s the 30th of another month gone by and still dear friends were not visited and self-care wasn’t achieved.
My challenges for you:
1. It is still summer and you can still make the most of it. Are there things you wanted to make time for but haven’t? Make them happen.
2. As this next season approaches, start to think about your priorities. Before your fall calendar fills up, write down what you want to prioritize and add them to your calendar first.
3. Don’t feel guilty about making time for yourself.