How My Year Of Yes Changed Me

How My Year Of Yes Changed Me

Recently I turned 50 (this photo is my costume - the Absinthe Fairy). The significance of this day is huge for me. It is a milestone I wanted to celebrate, for many reasons. One of them being that I am here on this earth, living a wonderful life.

I wake up grateful every single effing day that I am here.

But it has been a rough decade.  

I lost my husband at 47. And before that it had been a really tough few years personally. I had turned inward, was suffering from anxiety, was trying to be perfect and generally not coping. I barely went out, focussed on work and being the best mum and wife and ultimately tried to control the things I could.

But I was overcompensating and it nearly broke me.

For someone who most perceive as an extrovert, I can be quite the opposite. I turn outward when I need to….but…I need reflection time and I’ve always been generally risk adverse. I find people exhausting at times. I’ve always tended to say no.

So when my husband passed, my world changed. In many ways. But the biggie was realising that what was out of my control would always be out of my control, but there were things I did have the power to change.

I can’t change other people. What I can change is my reactions, responses and attitudes - the way I live my life, where I choose for my boys and I to live, my purpose, and most of all where I expend my own energy.

I want my boys to be proud of their mum and grow up to be confident and kind men.

I made so many changes, and I’m grateful that I was in a position to do so. We moved to Sydney’s northern beaches, changed the boys’ schools, and ultimately put ourselves in a situation where everything was new.  I also launched Eir with Kate. The move, new schools and business launch was all within 3 weeks.

I get it. People thought I was mad. It was challenging and terrifying…but liberating also.

And on my 49th birthday I decided I was going to do a year of YES.

I made a pledge to myself that I would say yes to everything that came my way. Invitations, opportunities, networking. Yep, even dates.

I cannot under-sell how challenging this was for me, how out of my comfort zone this would push me. But I figured if I gave it a go and failed then so what. I also didn’t tell anyone. I guess that was my own back up if I failed.

But here are some things I did…some were challenges to myself, but most were from others around me (whether they knew this or not!)

  • I made my first new friend at the bus stop
  • Said hello to every person I passed walking the dog (made more new friends)
  • Joined a networking group for female entrepreneurs
  • 2-3 coffee dates with like-minded women every week (thanks Tory for the challenge)
  • Went to a fancy dress up ball where I knew one person, who I had met once!
  • Joined a new pilates studio and gave caddy a go
  • Went on multiple dates (note to self to remove year of yes from dating profile)
  • Took myself to comedy nights, burlesque performances, pole dance competitions, drag shows
  • Went to the cricket, new restaurants, fishing, high ropes courses
  • Travelled to Canada with my boys
  • Reconnected with old friends, from before my marriage
  • Tried pole dancing (and then kept pole dancing!)
  • Entertained at home
  • Was a guest on podcasts
  • Bought a SUP
  • Started writing a book
  • Volunteered for charity
  • Made content videos for social (by far the hardest)
  • Committed to my meditation practice
  • Bought sparkly shoes
  • Planned a party for my 50th. And I am not a party person. I almost cancelled it three times…but it happened, and it was the best damn party EVER

And lastly, wrote this article.

The most important part of this year of yes was that I didn’t actually tell anyone for a long time. Not until I was at least half way through.

And guess what. 

It has fundamentally changed who I am.

I now have more confidence, my outlook has changed, and I’m willing to give more new things a go. So what if I look stupid, the endorphins will flow anyway and I’ve won my own battle just by turning up.

I’ve met some interesting people and developed more empathy for others around me. I genuinely am curious about people, how they think and act and why, and I’ve spent more time reflecting on this.

I’ve learnt more about myself than I thought I could have. I understand my own triggers – both positive and negative – and am better able to have harder conversations and be authentic.

I have found a new love of challenging myself, and euphoria in completing something I thought I’d never do.

I love what we have created with Eir, and it is only getting better. I am passionate about midlife health for both men and women and can’t wait to do more to help others.

I found joy in my every day. Every moment is meaningful, colourful and joyous.

And finally, I love myself so much more.

So much so that at 50, I am embarking on another year of yes.

Who wants to join me?