“No, you can’t have that cookie.”
“No, you shouldn’t buy that lipstick when you have two in your purse.”
“No, you can’t hit the snooze button again.”
It’s all part of being a grown-up, that delayed satisfaction, watch-your-waistline, “I have a million things to do” mentality that separates us from toddlers, who are probably eating a cookie and drawing on your snooze button with your lipstick right now.
Go check. I’ll wait.
But sometimes we take this responsible sensibility too far, thinking that we’re being good people when really, we’re just stamping a giant DENIED on our psyches over and over and over again.
So now that the kids are home (or about to be home) for the summer, I would like to give you permission to say “yes” to yourself more, and put “no” on summer break.
Why should you listen to me? Because I am a cancer survivor and have, therefore, been near death’s door, that place where, conventional wisdom says, nobody declares, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.” Ergo, I am qualified to give you permission to enjoy your life more, having nearly reached the end of my own. Here’s how:
- Drink fresh. When you pour your second cup of tea, use a new tea bag instead of reusing the old one. Nobody ever goes to Starbucks and orders a “Tall, watered-down, lukewarm tea.” (If you’re environmentally conscious, use a tea ball instead of a bag. Or coffee. Mmmm.)
- Don’t stare at blank walls. If there’s nothing but a nail where something used to hang on your wall, put something there, preferably something that has meaning for you. In the past two years, I have added a photo of a cat sleeping in Preservation Hall that I took while in New Orleans, an “atta girl” letter from a keynote speech I gave, and a sign that reads, “Speak the Truth Even if Your Voice Shakes.”
- Buy the song. If you find yourself turning up the radio and singing along with a new song (or classic) that speaks to you, download it immediately. Your soul needs it.
- Take the kids for ice cream even if they had some yesterday. Summer is short, as is life with kids in the house.
- Just say no. Wait, isn’t this blog post about saying “yes.” Well, yes, but you need to say “no” to things that you abhor doing. If that’s volunteering to run the fall fundraiser, carpooling anyone, anywhere or working this Friday when you’d planned to hang things on your wall and fill your iPod, say no. You’ll find a way to do it. You know you know how.
As for me, I’m going to have a cookie and some more tea — with a fresh tea bag.
Cross-posted at ParentingWithCancer.com, which I gave myself permission to launch a few years ago.