And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Elizabeth Appell
A text message appeared on my phone late Monday night: Was I interested in going to a stand-up comedy gig the next evening?
Raw. Often unfunny. Sexist. Racist. Painful to watch.
Those were my first thoughts – not that I’d ever been to a stand-up night.
The invitation came from a close friend who is familiar with my cultural leanings and whose judgment in social events I trust, so I was seriously considering it. I’d never seen stand-up so it would be a new experience … Why not? …
So, I said yes.
It ended up being a great night – the graduating class from a stand-up comedy course presenting their first stand-up performance.
I laughed a lot. And was offended. And felt the moments of extreme discomfort when some lost their way.
But I came away from the evening feeling so proud of these folks who had the courage to get up on stage in front of strangers (okay the audience was full of supportive family and friends but still …) and share very intimate stories of their lives with the intention of making us laugh.
They were saying Yes to life.
Now, I have never had any desire to stand in front of a room of people and make them laugh – intentionally or unintentionally – but it did make me think about what I do say yes (and no) to in life.
I had a really challenging year last year. A year of endings. A year of boundaries. A year of no.
And to a certain extent I carried the Attitude of No (Life is hard. Poor me. I do not deserve good things in my life.) into this year. And then something changed. I began saying yes – mostly socially – and being open to new experiences.
Where the fist of my heart was once clenched tight, it was now beginning to open.
Of course, there are things in life that require a definite No response.
Abuse, disrespect and intolerance.
Socks with sandals. (One must have some boundaries.)
Also, there are just some things I have little interest in and this Saying Yes thing only works if my time, energy and resources are directed toward the things I value.
But otherwise, the world is wonderland of new experiences and ideas, and I can no longer let the fear of discomfort – or the unknown – prevent me from living.
Without new experiences, I do not grow.
Without growth, there is no life.
I’m saying Yes to life.