“It goes like this,” he explained, “We’ll put on jeans and a sweatshirt, wear some goggles, stand across from each other in the backyard, light the roman candles and shoot them at each other!”
I responded, without even thinking. He pouted, and I asked myself, ‘when did I stop being fun?’
‘Absolutely not’, and ‘no’ are not uncommon answers for me when I’m asked to do something new– especially if it wasn’t my idea. In a way, this keeps me focused. My eyes are on my goals and anything that doesn’t help me get there is a ‘no’.
On the other hand, it dampens my playfulness and spontaneity- two qualities I admire and secretly covet in others.
When did I stop being fun?
This thought dropped on my heart the other night when my partner Connor asked me to have a Roman Candle fight in our backyard. This isn’t the first time he’s asked me to launch fireballs at each other, and when I finally discovered he wasn’t joking I shot back with every excuse I could think of:
It sounds dangerous.
It freaks me out!
This is an extreme example, but I say no to lots of less dangerous, more mundane things:
‘Want to jump in the lake?’ ~no.
‘Hey- let’s see if you can jump up and grab that bar to do a pull-up!’ ~no.
‘Would you help me do a project today?’ ~ sigh…resistance.
Turns out, my ‘no’ game is pretty strong. And not just with him- I routinely say no to myself.
If it wasn’t in my previously decided plan, it typically doesn’t happen. Somewhere, I have come to value predictability and safe-ness over adventure. I’ve decided to appear grown-up and sophisticated means saying ‘no’ to play.
Many women in the quest to grow up quickly and be taken seriously will decide certain behaviors and activities are not to be engaged in any longer- we lose our childlike wonder, curiosity, and adventure in favor of the monotony and safety of predictability.
The crazy thing about the Roman Candle fight is I wanted to say yes. But I was afraid.
I wanted to jump in the lake- but I’ve felt self-conscious in a swimsuit as long as I can remember.
I’ve had a mild obsession about doing unassisted pull-ups but I rarely try because I’m too afraid to fail.
What if I started saying yes?
What if I disregarded the fear and did what I actually wanted to do- be spontaneous, try new things, challenge myself in new ways, and push my boundaries?
While I still haven’t had a roman candle fight, I’m challenging myself lately to say yes in those instances where my fear usually takes the wheel.
I’m saying yes to the fear. Yes to adventure. And yes to myself.
When things get heavy and I forget to have fun I remind myself of good old Van Wilder: “never take life too seriously, you’ll never get out alive”.
I have several tools to help you choose your own adventure- and many of them are free! Check them out here ;).