This Military Spouse Is Making 2018 the Year of NO.

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.

Playing tennis.

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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