I came to marriage and motherhood early. And that means that my whole life I’ve thought as a group. I went from living with my family to living with my boyfriend. So I’ve never had something I saw as ‘my money’ or ‘my time’. It’s ‘our lives’. We’re a team. And I’m not complaining. I think that awareness of interdependence is the only healthy way to live. (Interdependence, not dependence, you’ll note.)
But I’m 34 now and there is a part of me that wants to be spoiled. Like there should be a payoff for years of responsibility. But it’s not like that. The struggle is the reward. It’s not a game show with points at the end. It’s a day by day, moment by moment, living with the flow kinda thing. Finding grace in the moment at hand, that’s the struggle and the reward all in one.
I like to set goals and move forward, always evolving a new Sarah. I like to fix things up a bit, tweak things, and try the impossible sometimes. I never expected to be a homeschooler, or a runner, or a knitter, or a triathlete.
Yet I still have to remember all this when I’m giving myself what I think of as a Little No so that I can reach a Big Yes, because it still feels like I’m saying, “No,” to myself. I’m not. I’m saying, “Yes!” to something else. I’m really taking a step toward a wonderful something. But in that very moment I can feel deprived.
So much is about perspective.
Am I saying no to ice cream, or yes to keeping off the 50 pounds I lost?
Am I saying no to fancy coffee, or yes to saving for our vacation?
Am I saying no to new clothes, or yes to a new window for Sandra’s room?
I want yarn right now. I’m making pretend orders at the dining table. A rainbow of sock yarn, to be specific. I want half the fashions I see right now. I want to paint the house. I want to just sit around for a week and have someone else serve me for a change. Oh, I covet. I yearn.
But even more than yearning for possessions or ease, I yearn to nourish myself, I yearn to respect myself, I yearn for joyous connection with others, and I yearn to look back at this one life and approve of my choices.
A series of Little No-s on the way to Big Yes-es. They’re not really about saying, “No.” What they really say is: “I’ve got better plans’. That’s not deprivation. That’s movement.