Say Yes.

At the start of 2015, I set out two "intentions" for the year ahead. First, to do more yoga. My yoga practice has been on and off for the past 10 years or so. In 2014, I did not have a regular practice and I noticed a significant difference in my emotional and physical well being. So this year I want to bring it back into my life. So far, I'd say I've only been partly successful, but it's still helped dramatically.

My second intention: more couponing. Yep, you heard that right. I'm always a big fan of cost savings, through coupons, deal sites, etc. There's an inherent satisfaction to saving money, and it seems like with a little additional effort, we could do some real savings. So far, that's also been a moderate success this year.

A third "intention" has surfaced as the year as evolved, and it's making a dramatic difference in my life. This intention is to "say yes" to everything [or as much as possible]. It's so easy to come up with excuses for things. For opportunities, invitations, adventures, and ideas. To decline an invitation from a friend because the introvert in me wants to have quiet time on the couch, or to decide not to go to a concert because it means staying up late on a weeknight, or to decide not to go on a trip because it will cost too much. Within reason, I'm doing my best to accept the invitations as they come. Let's be clear, I've also had plenty of quiet couch time watching Scandal or reading a book so far this year. But if someone invites me for a night ski, a yoga class, or to meet up after work, I'm trying to be quick to say yes. Because the satisfaction that comes from that will likely greatly outweigh the satisfaction of staying home. And here's the thing. When you say yes to an invite, you are so much more likely to receive another one. A friend who is slow to commit or rare to offer an invite creates a friendship that is harder to maintain. Yes people breed yes people.

It's not just about saying yes to people, either. So far this year, I've said "yes" to a few awesome local concerts. I've said "yes" to the Newport Folk Festival when I saw tickets were selling out fast. I bit the bullet, bought tickets and booked us a bed & breakfast for it. It cost a fortune (see above, bring on the couponing), but the excitement I'm having over crossing a huge item off my life bucket list is worth it ten times over. I've said "yes" to a conference in Austin, to a friends trip in Portland, and to an invitation to stay in a yurt in Big Sur, California. In February I said yes to skiing almost every time the question (self-imposed or friend-imposed or Brett-imposed) arose, and the number of adventures I had on skis that month rivaled the number of days in the month. When the right house presented itself to us, we said a huge yes and put in an offer two days later.

Despite the regular obstacles and challenges that life holds, I feel more powerful, happy and enthusiastic this year than I have perhaps ever before. Am I tired from all this yes-ing? No. I feel invigorated and content. I can't wait to see what other opportunities and invitations present themselves this year for me to "say yes" to soon.

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