thoughts on saying “no”

coffee with iphone“No is a complete sentence” – this is something I say all the time at work (I think Oprah originally said it and, like everything she says, it stuck with me as a profound life mantra.) This is usually in response to a colleague who was asked to do something way far outside of their scope – a common occurrence in the non-profit world – and they’ve come to me looking for permission to say no. I don’t usually have any problems saying no – to going out, to diets, to buying from your cousin’s Jamberry nails account. No comes pretty easily for me.

Until it didn’t. Until I was presented with an opportunity that I’d thought I wanted until I was laying in bed late at night and had a knot in my stomach about it. My mind wanted it to be a “yes” but as I lay in bed with my grumpy old cat, I realized that I’d have to say no. Once that thought came to me “I ¬†have to say no” – it was settled. It felt good. I realized that what I think I should want and what I actually do want might be different things sometimes and having the faith to say “no” to something that just doesn’t feel right in your gut, even if it looks good on paper, is okay. Better than okay even. The right thing to do – the only thing to do.

So I said “no” and the world didn’t end. Turns out, Oprah was right, that one simple word really is a complete sentence.




woman in boots

When I first moved across the country to take my beloved museum job, I became the last one of my closest girlfriends to throw off the small town we’d grown up in and venture out into the unknown. It was exciting and fun and made me feel like I was on the verge of something BIG.

BIG indeed. Denver felt BIG. And while I was so lucky to find a few kindred spirits in Denver, my heart will always belong to the 4 closest girlfriends I grew up with who are now spread all over: LA, Chicago, Iowa. After a pretty rough end to 2015, I had been craving the closeness of these soulmates and then my friend had the best idea ever.

She started the tradition of a group text where we all send one picture that gives a snapshot of our day. It’s like snapchat, but less seedy and more permanent. It started goofy enough: feet propped up on a kitchen table, a box of cereal, an iced latte in the sunshine. But it’s moved on to show things like moving boxes, boyfriend’s kiddos (captioned with the horror of being forced to watch Dora the Explorer) and other defining moments of our adult lives. It’s a 5 second way to share the most mundane or important moments of our day, and looking back through those messages and seeing the different pictures makes me feel connected to these amazingly brilliant and funny women in a way I didn’t realized I’d missed so much.

It’s also opened my eyes to the idea that the mundane matters. You may say that knowing what someone ate for lunch seems small and insignificant but in a world where swiping left or swiping right on someone without knowing anything¬†about them is the norm, knowing the details about someone’s day is rare and beautiful. And having someone to share the small things with in this life is mighty big indeed.