Just say yes.

It all came about around the time of my uni finals. An old housemate – who had by then already graduated and was a fully-fledged member of the real world – came up to visit for the weekend. We got together with Priya and naturally delved into the first of many bottles of wine of the evening. We quickly got about reminiscing about the two years we had spent living together at uni and the conversation turned to how fast the time had flown (one bottle down). This soon became a conversation with the three of us animatedly agreeing that life won’t happen to us – we need to happen to life (two bottles down). This, we decided, was so simple and was very easy to summarise – just say YES (three bottles down). And no, this did not just refer to accepting every offer of more food and drink, although that evening it did seem to end up that way; fancy some cheesy nachos and more wine at LS6 like the good old times? YES, of course (four bottles down).

With my four years of being a student nearing an end, the running conversation of that evening seemed to summarise what I wanted to get out of those final months. Don’t miss opportunities that might not come around again and get on with things – stop hesitating with decisions and stop putting things off, just say yes.

Further chaos ensued after we scoffed our body weight in nachos and Lyds and I found ourselves later at a house party entirely sunken into a sofa guzzling minstrels mumbling to each other; yes…. just say yes (five and six bottles down).

Waking up the following morning I felt very queasy and sorry for myself, lamenting my frivolity the previous night, no…nooo….noooooo. As I began to feel slightly more human however, I remembered just how much fun we had had the night before following a brief text exchange of yes… lol YES omg my head!… hahaha just say yes!

I realised we could be onto something here.

In the following weeks as my time at uni came to end, I found myself newly energised and ticking off as many things as possible on my Leeds bucket list – all the while having a ball. I also started saying yes to accompanying a friend on runs and realised after 23 years of adamantly insisting I simply did not do sport, I really enjoyed myself. I started balancing hard work preparing for final exams with social activities; something I had never been good at combining before and always had to let one or the other one slip. My well-practiced procrastination techniques were put to one side for the first time in a long time. I hesitated less when going shopping; both on spending money I have always been concerned about saving (with no idea what for) and buying clothes that went rogue of my black/blue/grey colour scheme. There were some interesting results, including a dramatic haircut, but all the while I found my anxiety dramatically reduced. I have struggled with anxiety and panic attacks from the age of 18 and I was amazed to find that my anxiety was near to non existent during my finals and it was the first exam period over the course of 5 years I had managed without the onset of a panic attack. Finding a balance between working hard to achieve a goal and making time to do something completely different made everything far more enjoyable.

I am not writing this claiming to have discovered a solution to all problems ever or to have found the meaning of life. A lot has changed and happened in my life in the last 15 months following that conversation, and I think it is important to take a moment every now and then to remember why. You will be surprised how much can happen if you just say yes.

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