I told Mel this weekend that I had agreed to go walking with a friend of ours in the mornings after water aerobics. The above was his response.
“Sweetheart, are you sure about this?” he asked. “That’s two straight hours of exercise.”
“Oh, it’ll be fine. I’m good for it. I love walking, you know that.”
He just raised his brows a little higher.
So today was my second day of walking with Connie. I didn’t mention that she’s younger than me and so filled with energy that she never sits still. And that sometimes she’s that type of glass-completely-full woman who thinks more and faster is always better. Oh, yeah. And she doesn’t do aerobic swimming in the mornings, so she isn’t already half worn out by that hour of constant motion–our instructors are in their twenties. I’m not twenty anymore. This morning, after two hours of all-out exercise yesterday, the girls in my water aerobics class were afraid I would fall asleep and drown. They kept a special eye on me.
Yesterday I went walking with my water bottle. I got so weak I kept dropping it. So today I walked with my oxygen bottle. It’s lighter. Walmart sells oxygen bottles this close to the mountains. We’ve used them on our hikes as we’ve become accustomed to the higher elevation. Today I thought I might use up all the oxygen in that bottle. We have more bottles, however, and I plan to keep it up. I love walking and gasping…er…I mean talking with Connie.
Do you recall that blog I wrote a few months ago about the wonderful woman who rescues feral cats and cares for sick animals? Well, she agreed to be president of the organization that supports that service. She doesn’t know how to say “No.” A couple of days ago she explained to me that the secretary of that group is quitting. She asked if I’d step in and take that position.
Have I mentioned that I’m not very good at saying that word, either? So I’m the new secretary of a cat rescue mission group. Mel and I have rescued feral cats for fifteen years in three different states, and though I swore off ever adopting another cat, I still have a soft spot for those starving, struggling, constantly breeding animals.
But that’s it. I’m done. Tonight when Mel gets home I’m going to ask him to teach me how to say “no” effectively.
No, wait, what am I saying? What about the many times I’ve had to help HIM practice saying that word? It’s a perfectly good word. We’ve agreed on that. It can be softened with a smile and an apology, or a very good reason. And folks around here will take the word at face value. They are hardy folk who don’t get their knickers in a wad when someone says “No.”
Sitting here in agony with my muscles screaming every time I make a move, I’m thinking that’s a word I need to explore in a little more depth.
Here’s my buddy, Data. He is also a rescue cat. He took over the house when we brought him home, and he still knows how to say “No” without hurting my feelings. He does it with much affection but with firmness. I think perhaps Mel and I can both learn from our laid-back cat. Sometimes the word “No” can be a life saver.
If you have any helpful advice to give to a pushover, feel free!
Hannah, thank you for the laughs, which I can laugh with you as we have the same issue in our home, both with exercise and ferals and dogs, etc. Generally that word, “NO”.
Oh, Laura, I feel your pain. But isn’t it fun in spite of the pain? LOL
Hard lessons learned: First, “No” is a complete sentence. Second, when you say “yes” to one thing, you ARE saying “no” to something else; choose wisely what you want in your life.
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Great insight, Judy. Sounds as if you’ve learned this lesson well. Since we moved to this new place a year ago, I’m still discovering the joyful experience of making really fun new friends. Part of that is saying “Yes” more often than I used to. I really love these people who give so much of themselves. I’m sticking my neck out a lot more than I would have three years ago. When you’ve lived in one place for fifty years, moving to a new place is amazingly freeing. It’s also lonely until you make new friends. So now I do need to slow it down a bit and make sure that every “Yes” from here on out is another step forward. Thank you for that wise advice!
Practice with little things like no to something of small importance. I find out starting small makes it easier with the big ones. I’m still a work in progress but I discovered with my first little no that it does not make me feel a ton of guilt. Thanks for the reminder as I am heading into the time of year when many people are asking for more than I am able to give. By the way, I also learned no when I was too sick to be able to do anything else. No meant I could self care.
Thank you, Ruth. Starting with the small things as we learn and grow. I, too, have had to practice “no” when I could not physically continue. Or when circumstances prevented y plans. And those were times when some were angry with me. Being a people pleaser is a huge chore.