Just Say No

I yearn for a simple life, without literal or metaphorical clutter. Two kids, a house, and modern life, though, seem to conspire against me. Near constant vigilance is required to stem the tide of too much stuff. I give baby items my boys have outgrown to friends. I donate regularly. I take myself off mailing lists, but still, the crap creeps in. One of the most superfluous bits of modern junk is the podcast. I steer clear because life is too short, and my limited time too valuable.

M. from Mental Multivitamin periodically expresses the need for “no”. I recently agreed with Lazy Cow that I often hear M’s advice in my head, and count myself fortunate for it. She is a passionate advocate for the value of one’s time, especially as it relates to learning and writing.

I recently attended a writing workshop. I enjoyed it, and thought the writing within the group was very good. When the address list for the class was passed around, though, I didn’t add my email address. I feared looking snobbish and exclusionary. But I couldn’t subject myself to a mailing list, no matter how well intentioned. Some might argue that it’s quick and easy to delete. But it still takes time, and consideration that I want to spend on my current emails from friends and family, and the considerable backlog of correspondence I’ve got dating from when Guppy was born. The address list went around a second time. I think the woman sitting next to me thought I’d been skipped on the first time around. I steeled my resolve, though, and passed it on. I wish the others well in their writing, but I want to spend what little time I have on my writing, not on email about writing.

4 Responses to “Just Say No”

  1. MFS Says:

    Ah, the “Making time” post. Folks either hate it (and me for writing it) or they really identify with the need to say, “No!”


    You know, of course, that I appreciate the nod / link. Sending continued good thoughts as you find the daily rhythm and dance to it.


  2. girldetective Says:

    Thank you for your link, and I’ll add it to the post! I searched your site three times, using the terms no, quotidian, interstices and rhythm, but those didn’t bring me to the post I was looking for. “Making time” is a tough post. The world would be worse off if no one volunteered, and many of the things you give as examples are joy-bringing hobbies for others. One person’s cooking and baking, for example, might be another person’s birding.

    Overall, though, you’re preaching to the converted with me, as evidenced by this entry. It’s been a long journey to the ready no. It has taken practice, and experience. I wonder if it comes more readily to me because I’m an oldest sibling, and am used to being bossy.

    Yesterday, I was at a gathering that bored and annoyed me. So I left halfway through, and went home to help my husband give the boys their baths and read books. Sometimes not doing things requires time itself, like the time I’m spending lately taking myself off mailing and delivery lists so things don’t even come into the house. But the payoff of extra time for the good stuff is well worth it.

  3. Lazy Cow Says:

    That is my goal too: a simple life. One of the ongoing annoyances I’ve recently cut out is junk/advertising mail, and it is so freeing not being tempted by almost daily Sales! Specials! Must Have Deals! that used to bombard our letterbox. Now I shop only when I need something.
    I am quite good at saying no to school or kinder activities, unless they suit me (selfishness or self-preservation?). For instance, I’m helping out 3 days next week because it is Book Week and I want to be around all the new books! I loved helping at the Cake Stall over the weekend with the kids, but I refuse to do any gardening working bees. There are enough mothers who are martyrs out there and love telling all and sundry how “Busy” they are and how many activities their children do. I take great pride in saying how lazy I am, but my kids are rarely rushed or stressed, and have heaps of time to just noodle around and be. I’m certainly not saying I’m perfect, but I really want to be a relaxed, yet competent mother and woman. It’s a constant struggle, and the never-ending dialogue in my head about the right and wrong things to do is often exhausting.

  4. girldetective Says:

    Amen to the never-ending dialogue in my head. Oy. Just so you know I talk the talk but am full of it, I have promised Drake I’ll make him a pretend mud cake for his birthday, and entered the State Fair baking contests in–wait for it–SIX categories. One would probably have been plenty.

    Like you, LC, I try to underschedule the kids. One thing a day, at most, or we all go bonkers.