when it's actually a choice

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Things I said no to doing all in one week:

  1. A fabulous role in a staged reading that I've done before and would really like to do again--with people I so enjoy
  2. Meeting my mom for lunch to celebrate my daughter's birthday while we were in her town for a hockey game
  3. Five separate meetings
  4. Finding somewhere my daughter could stay on President's Day so I could do more work
  5. Rescheduling a precious creative meeting that was already on my calendar so that I wouldn't have to leave halfway through the school Science Share where my daughter had a table

I would have liked to have said yes to every single thing on this list--with the exception of one of the meetings. I didn't want to go to that.

But saying yes to any of them would have been compromising something else that I was prioritizing.


What you've read so far, that was the draft of the original blog post I wrote a few weeks ago.

And then my kid got the flu. The day after President's Day.

I had six major government grant applications due on February 28 and March 1. And my kid got the flu on February 20. She had the flu for 9 days. You can do that math.

During those 9 days, I said no to a gazillion things to clear space for caretaking and leave space for grantwriting.

Here's what I learned:

It's way easier to say no to things when your kid has the flu, and you know you have a hard deadline for six grant applications. You say flu, and (most) people get it. You say huge deadlines, and most people get it.

In fact, when you have a sick kid or a sick parent or an obviously huge deadline, when people DON'T get it, well, you wouldn't do anything different anyway. You decided in favor of those things a long time ago. You SO wouldn't do anything different that it doesn't even feel like it's a choice.

It can be scarier to say no--and I'm talking especially about daily choices, regular choices, small-in-the-grand-scheme-of-it choices here--it can be scarier to say no when it feels like a real choice. A choice that other people might disagree with. A choice that might cause other people to decide certain things about you. A choice that might close some doors or hurt some feelings.

It can also feel, after you've done it, like understanding yourself just a little bit more.

. . .

Speaking of choices, I'm really looking forward to sharing the results of my choice to try that early-ass waking up experiment. I learned so much from it that one post would be too long, so I'm going to break it up into 5 shorty-short daily posts. You'll see those the week of March 12.

You are not alone, choice-maker. I sure do love you.