The world I live in celebrates the word yes. ‘Yes’ to that job, ‘yes’ to that marriage, ‘yes’ to having that child. ‘Yes’ to yoga, ‘yes’ to vegan’ing, ‘yes’ to making more money and ‘yes’ to ‘yes!’ quotes.

We’re more when we do more – and we’re more when we have more.

But, can I just ask; where is the Hallmark/Moonpig.com’ card that congratulates you on all those no’s that’ve saved your sanity / slash life? …that, ‘congratulations! > you narrowly missed marrying a total tool’ or, ‘Yay! you’re not still in bed at 1pm on a Sunday’.

Sometimes a ‘no’ to that job with the unpaid overtime, or ‘no’ to that house with the crippling mortgage should secure a place in the diary for a ‘No I did-n’t! champagne.

Life is a careful blend of both yes and no’s. I get that. But our successes aren’t always due to dedication, hard-work and sacrifice alone. I believe we owe just as many successes to decisions made on timing.

What should be a yes now should have been a no a few months ago, and so on.
The balance and timing of our yes and no’s are crucial. Ever more so the older we get and our *bs* radars become our most vital skill for the navigation of life.

I had lunch a week ago with a dear friend who, in the last year, swapped her creative life for a corporate one, assuring herself that the latter had more longevity. Sound familiar? Anyone working in a creative field battles this as a constant. What she said that day is at the crux of my point, ‘I feel like if I’d just given myself one more dedicated year, I’d have made work.’

But, how do we know that another year isn’t in vain?, isn’t a waste of our all important time? Quite simply, we don’t. None of us do, yet the chances we didn’t take and the painful no’s we said live buried in our minds and manifest as some kind of insecurity and failure, usually hitting us where it hurts – walking past yet another quote on the front of another card telling us to ‘follow your dreams’.

I’m all for following dreams. Heck, I’m a product of the optimistic 80s, but how long do you give something to work before you cut your losses and move on? Growing up in an 80s/90s western world, we were told to follow our hearts’ and eventually everything would work out as it should.

So with that mantra in mind, when do you decide that overdue
rent and bills are in fact, well, kinda important – maybe even more so than that fictional pot of gold sitting at the end of an ever dimming rainbow. And if that decision is made, will we be sentenced to a lifetime of regrets for the paths we didn’t take, the no’s we were brave enough to stand for?

And now, not only are we faced with our own decisions on the daily, but we’re faced with a daily digest of everyone else’s decisions; i.e social media.

I have little doubt that the chunky part of our lives controlled by mobile phones and social media propaganda contribute negatively to our view of ourselves and that of our friends. It affects our ability to make decisions based purely on what’s good for ourselves and our future.

Reality is one thing, but trying to live up-to an imaginary life-standard based on a Facebook post is quite another.
So I guess if there was ever a good place to start practicing the art of saying no, it might be there..

Reality may bite, but propaganda will leave as nasty a scar as an ex of Taylor Swift’s.

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