I am an avid TGIT (thank God it’s Thursday) person. It starts with Grey’s Anatomy, continues with Scandal and ends with How to Get Away With Murder. As I write this, all three shows are on hiatus till after the first of the year. And we are left with cliff hangers or even worse shock (OMG, Wes is gone!).
“But,” you ask, “what does that have to do with a Year of Yes?” If you love TGIT, then you’ve heard of Shonda Rhimes, the creator/producer of those shows. In my mind, Shonda is very strong, something like one of the gladiators in Scandal. At least that was my opinion until I saw her thought-provoking Ted Talk, in which she explained her year of saying “Yes” to things she found intimidating (Shonda can be intimidated?). She found her life was all work. Ok, it was work she loved, but it was ALL WORK. Where was the love? Where was the joy?
Sometime after watching the Ted Talk, a new book was advertised on Kindle — “A Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person,” by Shonda. It went into greater detail about her year of yes. From childhood on, Shonda performed mostly solitary pursuits (like writing). She never wanted to speak in public — yet she gave a Ted Talk. She never wanted to be an actor but appeared in an episode of The Mindy Project. Good grief, she never wanted to be interviewed on live TV, and she does that as well.
She and I both love story telling, have vivid imaginations, but that is where similarities end. I enjoy public speaking, I’ve always loved performing. Yet, her book SPOKE TO ME and I questioned, “Why?”
My year 2016 started with a heart attack. As a result, my focus has been on my health. However going out with friends, engaging others – you know, living life – was diminishing. I visited my brother and sister-in-law recently, and suddenly blurted out “I need an adventure.” They just stared at me. Adventure? Where did that come from?
When I was in my 20’s my best friend asked, “If I can get a job teaching in California, will you move there with me?” It was February in Chicago. It was 19 below zero. I started dancing around singing, “California here I come!” After several exciting years living in the San Francisco area, I moved to Miami. My new home had beaches and scuba diving but I was longing for more. I started looking for a job with an American company in Europe, where I envisioned myself spending each weekend traveling from country to country. That was interrupted when I met my husband. I opted to stay in Miami.
After his death, wander-lust returned. I was off to the Big Apple. I figured, “if I could make it there …” (you get my drift). What is it about February and living up North? Back I came. Always looking for new opportunities, I worked in logistics — first managing all products Burger King, later managing aircraft parts for an Army Foreign Military Service contract. I also worked in Out Placement, Computer Training and Sales of On-Line Computer Programs. I’ve worked for large Corporations, and small companies. I even had my own company. Unlike most people, I like change — even welcome it.
Now I found myself disinterested in the “sameness” of things. While many of my friends seemed to enjoy a slower pace, I did not. And then I read Shonda’s book. It filled me with a desire to say Yes to things I find intimidating and it gave me permission to say No to things that prevented my trying them.
If I was going to have an adventure, I was going to step over the precipice of change alone. I must admit, it is a little scary…but exciting and compelling at the same time.
Do you want to tag along on this journey? All aboard! I’ll be reporting on my experiences throughout the year.