Originally published on Military One Click.
Last year, my word of the year was “yes.” Inspired by Shonda Rhimes’ book, Year of Yes, I took her mantra to heart. I said yes to everything.
I took on new responsibilities at work. I tried new foods. I volunteered more at school and in the milspouse community and even taught two weeks of diving camp at our local pool. I was named president of one board I was on and added to another as an advisor. I traveled to conferences, I took on more speaking gigs, I wrote more (I slept less), I took my kids on epic adventures, I painted and I sewed and I learned a little German. I went on date nights and friend nights, I had midnight FaceTime with my sister, I did 5:30 am workouts, I made new friends and connected with old ones and I even played in a tennis league.
It was truly a year of saying yes.
And then I had a total nervous breakdown in November. During a tennis match. From all the yessing.
Yep. I cried.
And all I could think about was Jimmy Dugan–Tom Hanks–in A League of Their Own, yelling, “There’s no crying in baseball!”
But there I was, playing my neighborhood tennis arch-rival, Pam, days before my husband left for deployment. I had left work early to play since I had to reschedule from the previous week because I had a commitment for my community magazine for which I write, and then I was sick because I was exhausted and had to reschedule again, and then I hadn’t been to work for my day job, and I thought I could squeeze everything in. . . but I couldn’t.
I was late to tennis, which meant I wasn’t going to be able to get the kids from school, so my husband had to (but he had a million things more important than a tennis match happening in his life, like defending our nation’s freedom) so I knew I had to leave our match early and everything was a mess, and I didn’t have any clean socks and I couldn’t find my water bottle and I ran into tennis already defeated.
Consequently, instead of thinking about things like how to serve the ball, all I could think about with every swing was, “Why do I do this to myself? Why in the world”–not the word I used in my head– “am I playing tennis right now? I should be working. Or being a mom. Or a wife. Or doing laundry. Or making dinner. Or sending emails. Or literally anything else.”
Exhausted and overwhelmed, I just started crying. Playing tennis. Tears streamed down my face, under my five-year-old’s sunglasses that I found in the bottom of my car because I couldn’t find mine because I was too busy doing everything else to have any sort of organizational system.
Because of all the yessing.
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