When I moved the Laurel Mountains in 1981 we frequented the Friday night seafood buffet at Seven Springs. It was within our budget and was marketed as an all-the-food-we-could-eat evening. I had never been to an all-you-can-eat-anything, other than my own kitchen, so it seemed like a good idea.
Walking into the banquet room was like my first time in Disney World. I was simultaneously enthralled and overwhelmed. The food laden tables were arranged in a thoughtful, course-sensitive order.
The first was chock full of salads. Pasta salads. Potato salad. Green salads. Cut veggies with dip. Jello salads. Fruit salads. Soups. And cornucopias overflowing with bread and rolls.
Five feet to the left was the meat table. A man in a white coat and chef’s hat politely carved hunks from the heat-light-warmed prime rib, ham and turkey.
Another five feet was the seafood table, my personal favorite. Shrimp. Oysters. Alaskan King Crab legs. Whole lobster (cut in half.)
And last, but not at all least, was the dessert table. Let me say that differently; THE DESSERT TABLE. Enough said-you have all experienced a buffet dessert table.
I quickly learned that the number of YES’S I said to the plethora of culinary treats determined how I felt on the car ride home. Whether every turn, bump and change in elevation would cause me gastric distress. Too many YES’S turned into a NO of being able to enjoy the rest of the evening or sleep that night.
Life is like an elaborate buffet table, filled with YES’S. I love it all! I want it all! It’s all good food, beautifully displayed and it’s there for the taking. All I have to do is say YES and put it on my plate(s).
Over the years I have repeatedly found myself engaged with projects, friends, and organizations, that I say YES, YES, YES, too. I am truly interested when I say YES. Really I am.
But when I get home, and I am quiet enough to hear myself feel, I know…I have done it again. I know because a familiar sensation begins to build in my gut. It’s barely noticeable at first, but slowly I recognize it. Dread. Dread of an over booked life.
And then I ask myself, “Why did I say YES?”
Well, for many reasons.
Because I like the idea or project.
Because I like the people involved.
Because I am flattered to be included.
Because I want to belong.
Because I want their approval.
Because I don’t want to be left out.
Because I want to be helpful.
Because I like saying YES.
Because saying YES is easier than saying NO.
Every YES means we are saying NO to something else. Our time and energy are a limited resource. When I say YES to one more meeting I say NO to that time to write, exercise, hang out with loved ones or simply do nothing.
Saying NO is a loss. Saying YES is a loss. Every choice we make we lose the other choice.
Just something to think about as you head out to the buffet tables of your life.
What will you say YES to?
What will you say NO to?
May your YES’S and NO’S serve you well.