|Lisa Scottoline: her to-do list shrank|
On leaving my newspaper career, I was given this advice:
Learn to say "No."
As any parent of a toddler knows, we're born programmed to say "no." So you have to wonder how standing up for yourself and your precious free time gets so problematic with age.
Women, especially, are taught to please.
Mystery writer and columnist Lisa Scottoline takes on the say-no issue in her column in the Philadelphia Inquirer. For her, it's a skill that should, like a fine wine, improve with age.
In her ode to aging, she says her guilt and need to make others happy had turned her life into a big to-do list. "And it wasn't even my Things to Do List," she writes. "It was everybody else's."
It took her 50 years to figure it out, but she discovered that when she said no, "I didn't die. On the contrary, I started living my own life."
But like a glass half empty or half full, there's some risk-taking in saying "no." You might also deny yourself the opportunity for a new experience. When my children were little, I loved the now out- of-print Richard Scarry book, Pig Will and Pig Won't about two sibling pigs. One was the good pig who always said "yes." The other was the stubborn, negative piggy who always said "no."
Guess which one ended up having the most fun?
The trick for us who are "new and improved," as Scottoline calls herself, is to know when saying "no" to others is really giving ourselves the permission and the time to say "yes" to what we really want to do.
Whatever that is.