Have you ever seen the film ‘Yes Man’? It is based on a book by Danny Wallace, and after watching the movie I immediately scooted online to buy the book!
“Yes Man” is the story of what happened when Danny, after a chance encounter with a mystery man on a late-night bus, decided to say YES to everything, in order to make his life more interesting. And life definitely got more interesting!
I went through a time in my life where saying yes wasn’t really an option. Being in a long-distance relationship, large portions of my life was spent travelling to see my partner or with him visiting me. We would try to fit in weeks and weeks of a relationship in just a couple of days, and lived only half a life in our own cities in order to try to maintain a relationship over the distance, scared of building up too much of a life where we were out of guilt or fear of it pushing even more distance between us. When we broke up (amicably, I must say!) in the latter part of 2013, I suddenly found myself in a strange place. All the time of my week that used to be taken up with visits, phone calls, and long Skype chats, was all of a sudden being spent quietly sitting in front of the television. Having not built up much of a life in my city, I had a choice. I could either stay at home and continue to live the ‘half life’ that I was living. Or, I could make the effort to go out and do things. I chose the latter.
I had spent the year of 2013 taking up my own ’30 before 30′ challenge, which had already put me in a ‘go do it’ kind of mood! I chose to continue this by taking up the ‘YES’ approach to life. Whether it’s helping someone to paint their living room, to ceilidh dancing on a Friday night, to taking up roller derby training, if I am able to do something, I will say yes.
The results of this ‘yes’ approach to life are already evident.
I’m busier. But my social circle has extended significantly. New friends and an extended social circle make for fun and interesting new stories and adventures. I’ve also made efforts to reconnect with old friends both near and far and hope to do so more in the future. In reconnecting, I’m reclaiming parts of my past in which each of them play an important role.
I’m learning new things. I’ve sewn a skirt and a bag (neither of which were hugely successful but each an achievement in itself just by completing it!). I’ve learned to cook new dishes and new types of food. I’ve learned how to skate again and by some miracle can stay upright on 8 wheels while learning roller derby techniques.
I’m taking adventures and challenging myself. I always loved an adventure and I am definitely no stranger to the spontaneous. Yet, somehow over the past few years I seemed to be having less and less adventures and getting more and more stuck in the day-to-day. A few ‘yes’ moments later and I’ve got the next bunch of adventures lined up – three weeks in Ecuador this summer including sleeping in the Amazon jungle for two nights, a mini-adventure for a shark dive later in the year, a trio of running challenges over the next few months in the shape of The Colour Run, Race for Life and the Great Scottish Run.
Who knows where the next ‘yes’ may take me?!
And so, I would like to take on the manifesto that Danny wrote in his book.
‘I, being of sound mind and body, do hereby write this manifesto for my life. I swear I will be more open to opportunity. I swear I will live my life taking every available chance. I will say Yes to every favour, request, suggestion and invitation. I WILL SWEAR TO SAY YES WHERE ONCE I WOULD SAY NO.’