The Year of No

Couple of years ago, I decided, inspired from someone doing it, to say yes to things that mostly put me out of my comfort zone. It was a roller coaster ride! I had some amazing experiences – like fishing in Alaska, improv classes, and some other not so memorable experiences. I called it the year of Yes.

2020 was not easy for anyone on planet Earth! Even though I can find a silver lining in all of it – it was clearly the most over whelming year for me and my family.

Past week, we all took a much necessary break from our work, chores and zoom calls and spent time in nature in Yosemite. As we reflected on the year 2020 – I realized that my energy, attention and focus has been shredded past year and the most intuitive way of building it back is to trim a lot of unnecessary things in my life.

The obvious ones stood out – like things, objects of desire, technology, twitter doom scrolling etc. I was comfortable to commit to myself to turn my life more analog and less dependent on tech and all the distractions that come of it.

One of the things that saps my energy off is – taking on too much work, responsibilities and later regretting and hating it. In short, it is very hard for me to say NO. It comes from my upbringing and a lot of other things that sound perfectly reasonable when laid out bare. But the nagging thought for me during the self reflection was – I was able to sustain the uncomfortableness of saying yes to many things, now can I do the most dreadful thing that I am scared of!? Saying No.

Obviously I am not taking an absolute path of just saying no to everything. But what I am realizing is I need to say no to things that I feel are not worthy of my time and would not grow me in any way. By doing so, I might actually end up with a core part of me which I have been looking for some time!

The main reason why I can’t say no is – to appease others and maintain this false image of always being helpful and nice person. It’s fake and I know it. But there has been no pressure on me to change it. And by complying to be a yes man, I have come to not know the core me. And as this has gone way too long, I have created so much numbness to my real self, that I don’t know who that is.

So, as I mulled these thoughts and talked it over to Sangita and my family – I realized that if I choose this coming year 2021 – to be a year of No, I might actually come to meet my core self.

I know it’s going to be hard. I know I won’t like the feeling. And I would need help of family, friends and books to be able to understand this and how I can do it.

I am dreading it and looking forward to see what changes it brings in my life.