Life during the pandemic was all about saying, “No.” No, the kids can’t play with friends. No, we can’t have dinner at a restaurant. No, you can’t go back to in-person school. No, there’s no safe way to celebrate a special occasion.
The psychological and emotional impact of that is incredibly taxing. At first, it may have felt painful every time. But you probably got used to it… so used to it that you may be finding it hard to say, “Yes” to things now that you’re vaccinated and it’s safe to resume many parts of pre-pandemic life.
That’s totally normal. This is a weird and challenging transition. But it’s one we need to work on in order to connect with the people and things we love. So, in that spirit, here are some of the things I’ll be saying an enthusiastic, “Yes!” to this summer and beyond.
1. Showing Up
If this time has taught us anything it’s that relationships with the people we love should never be taken for granted. This summer, I vow to strengthen those relationships by showing up for the people in my life to cheer them on – my nephew’s soccer games, my niece’s dance recitals, my friend’s open mic, etc. No more excuses because this stuff matters too much.
2. Last Minute Invitations from Friends
There’s always a reason not to jet out to meet your friend for lunch or a glass of wine – the sink is full of dishes, laundry is piling up, and your to do list is bonkers. Guess what? That will never not be the case and the world will not grind to a halt if you put off your chores. So, start making it a priority to do things that feed your soul and make you smile, like a mani-pedi with your bestie.
3. Getting Out of My Comfort Zone
With my kids growing up and becoming more independent, it’s time for me to explore my own interests more. Just because I haven’t tried something before doesn’t mean I won’t like it. When people ask me to do things that I might not have considered, I’m going to say, “Yes” more. After all, I might just love it.
4. Spontaneous Fun with My Kids
As they say, the days are long and the years are short. So, I resolve to say, “Yes” more to going to get ice cream, going to a movie on a hot day, water parks and all the other stuff we tend to turn down if it’s not a “special” day. All days can be special!
5. Local Events
When you live in a vibrant, active community, it’s easy to take things for granted. But when that all goes away, you really miss the street festivals, carnivals, farmer’s markets, outdoor concerts, etc. I’m incredibly lucky to live somewhere that offers so many fun, free events and I vow to actually go enjoy them more now that they’re back.
6. Making New Friends
We’re never too old to make new friends! I think it helps keep life fresh to add to your circle. So, I’m going to think about the casual acquaintances who I always love talking to (think neighbors, school parents, work colleagues) and ask one or two of them to hang out sometime.
7. Being in Pictures
As the mom, I’m usually the one taking pictures and if I don’t feel like I look great then I’ll find a way to avoid being in them. No more of that! In 10 or 20 years, I want memories that include me in them. And I know my family will too! Who cares if my hair is frizzy or my outfit is unflattering? I’m getting in the picture.
8. Playing Hooky
Take a day off work for no reason at all. You can do something fun or nothing at all! Sometimes we just need a day to shake up the routine and give ourselves a break.
9. Date Night
Now that there’s a life outside my home, it’s time to bring back date night. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive – even a picnic in the park will do. But after a year of being with our kids almost constantly, it seems important to prioritize quality time with our partners.
Make your own, “Summer of Yes” list to get things going. Feel free to borrow my ideas or make your own. Just try to find a way to take part in the joyful things that you’ve had to give up for a long time.