the practice and power to say no

Kim Cattrall, an actress who was part of the original “Sex and the City” who turned down the latest reboot talks about the power of saying no. It’s a good message because I’m try to learn the practice myself. I think one of the blessings of dad’s demise is that I am more acutely aware of my own mortality. There isn’t enough time. I’m not going to get to read every book I want to in the New York Public Library, I’m probably not going to travel outside the country very much (we’ll see what happens when the kids get older). I’m not going to write as much as I’d like or spend as much time as I want with all my friends, but, knowing that there is an end is helpful. An end is actually an excellent organizing principle. (Deadlines, word counts, death, etc.) And gosh, in a weird way, it is very liberating. I don’t really stress over advancement at work or career goals, which took up a great deal of my energy previously.

I’ve been practicing Swedish death cleaning, which is the practice of cleaning your stuff, your house as if you would die — it would probably result in a space very unlike my current abode — but I’m using this with people, not stuff. I cannot fetter away my time, and I’m not going to grow closer to everyone. There is only so many spots in my life boat. I have spaces for my children, my husband, and my mom. There aren’t a lot of extra seats after that. It’s hard when people are nice who express interest in exploring a deeper friendship, but…I don’t like everyone the same amount. And, if I only have a limited amount of time and energy, I am not going to pursue every social invite extended to me (yes, I know, I’m spoiled and lucky that people still invite me to things). But is it worth it to go if I’m bored? Is it worth it to go just so I don’t hurt someone’s feelings? (That’s the primary motivator of my social life in the past. That, and FOMO, or a wild panic that I might lonely later so I should fill up my social bucket now.) Nope. There are even people I like whom I cannot hang with right now. I have to accept there is never enough time and so, I can’t waste it.

Why I said at dad’s memorial is that there is enough time with the people you love. It’s so true. It’s also a total steal from the TV show “The Good Place” — the character Eleanor says that to Chidi when they’re nearing their end, but everything must end. What is there left to do but accept it?

I know. This is like way too dark and like more than anyone bargains for, and if I said this aloud, I probably won’t get invited to parties any more ha ha h ah ah ha hah.

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