Being Boswell

Too many Yes’s make a No

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.

With love,

Patricia Boswell

A Love Letter

Yesterday Tom and I drove to Ohiopyle to bike the trails with my dear friend. She is more like a sister. I turn to her for advice and support, she turns to me for the same. We love each other a lot.

 

Tom loves her too. She also loves Tom. I used her as my relationship whisperer when I began dating. Since I didn’t trust myself to pick well, I relied on her judgement. If she didn’t like him, neither did I. I remember her laughing after meeting Tom, “Ohhhh friend…you have met your match.” We both knew that was the highest compliment possible. So spending time with the three of us feels like family to me.

 

We haven’t seen each other for far too long. The standard reasons, busy, tired, busy, tired.

 

We talked about everything as we ate lunch, rode bikes, and treated ourselves to ice cream. We commiserated about our kids. Our frustration with how technology has made a simple phone call to them a thing of the past. We laughed at how we have to call 3-4 times, leave a message that they never listen to but text us asking what we want or how we are, like we never called them in the first place. We laughed that it made us feel very old.

 

We shared details about our own parents and how crazy they make us. We talked about our work, our writing (she is a poet…yes you are), our relationships, and politics. Our long, intimate history deepens our understanding of each others choices, dilemmas, and successes. This makes for very rich conversation. When she joined Tom in teasing me about some of my quirky ways, coming up with a few of her own since she has known me longest, I felt loved and known rather than hurt or judged. Only people that really love you can pull that off successfully!

 

We met up with Jena and her new beau for a light dinner. It touched me to tears when Jena ran into Heidi’s embrace. They held each other like niece and favorite aunt. Heidi asked all the auntie questions to which a mom wants to hear the answers. Then, back in the car, she could reassure me Jena is okay in her transitory life stage because she has known Jena long enough to speak with an authority I trust.

 

This is what sister friends do for each other. We have each other’s backs. We have each other’s kids. We have each other’s hearts.

 

This morning I am richer, fuller, satiated, because of my time with my friend. I feel seen.

 

I am better for having you Heidi.

 

I love you dearly.

(Woman friends make the world an easier place to navigate. Sister friends make your heart feel safe to open. Who do you love? And when is the last time you told her? Do it today. Tell her she is a part of your heart. You will live happier). 

 

Patricia Boswell

Mr. Volvo

The other morning Tom and I were headed to work.  We have been riding together since Tom’s car was totaled, Halloween morning, by a young kid who ran a red light. Since then we have been a one car family. At first this was very difficult for me. Truth be told, I hated it. I liked my time in the car alone. I could drive in silence, listen to music, a book or a conference on CD. My choice. I usually used the time to think, take stock. With Tom in the car it wasn’t my space anymore. However, during some of our morning commutes we had great conversation, caught up on things with each other, or made plans for the evening or week. Sometimes it was really nice. I enjoyed our company. So both experiences were true for me.

 

 

Anyway, this particular morning, as we headed up Bigelow Blvd traffic began to slow. It was still moving but slower than usual. Ahead of us I noticed an older Volvo, changing lanes, speeding up only to have to brake because both lanes were moving slowly, and honking his horn. At one point he was waving his arms in the air above his head. I wondered who was steering his car. He was clearly upset. Being the well trained defensive driver(thank you Mr Anderson) that I am, I tried to determine what had Mr Volvo so upset. Was he seeing something dangerous I wasn’t aware of? My assessment of the situation was that everyone was going slower, but at a constant rate of speed. Odd for this stretch of the road, but not dangerous to me.

 

I commented to Tom, “This guy is really upset.” Continue Reading

Patricia Boswell

Too many Yes’s make a No

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.

With love,

Patricia Boswell

A Love Letter

Yesterday Tom and I drove to Ohiopyle to bike the trails with my dear friend. She is more like a sister. I turn to her for advice and support, she turns to me for the same. We love each other a lot.

 

Tom loves her too. She also loves Tom. I used her as my relationship whisperer when I began dating. Since I didn’t trust myself to pick well, I relied on her judgement. If she didn’t like him, neither did I. I remember her laughing after meeting Tom, “Ohhhh friend…you have met your match.” We both knew that was the highest compliment possible. So spending time with the three of us feels like family to me.

 

We haven’t seen each other for far too long. The standard reasons, busy, tired, busy, tired.

 

We talked about everything as we ate lunch, rode bikes, and treated ourselves to ice cream. We commiserated about our kids. Our frustration with how technology has made a simple phone call to them a thing of the past. We laughed at how we have to call 3-4 times, leave a message that they never listen to but text us asking what we want or how we are, like we never called them in the first place. We laughed that it made us feel very old.

 

We shared details about our own parents and how crazy they make us. We talked about our work, our writing (she is a poet…yes you are), our relationships, and politics. Our long, intimate history deepens our understanding of each others choices, dilemmas, and successes. This makes for very rich conversation. When she joined Tom in teasing me about some of my quirky ways, coming up with a few of her own since she has known me longest, I felt loved and known rather than hurt or judged. Only people that really love you can pull that off successfully!

 

We met up with Jena and her new beau for a light dinner. It touched me to tears when Jena ran into Heidi’s embrace. They held each other like niece and favorite aunt. Heidi asked all the auntie questions to which a mom wants to hear the answers. Then, back in the car, she could reassure me Jena is okay in her transitory life stage because she has known Jena long enough to speak with an authority I trust.

 

This is what sister friends do for each other. We have each other’s backs. We have each other’s kids. We have each other’s hearts.

 

This morning I am richer, fuller, satiated, because of my time with my friend. I feel seen.

 

I am better for having you Heidi.

 

I love you dearly.

(Woman friends make the world an easier place to navigate. Sister friends make your heart feel safe to open. Who do you love? And when is the last time you told her? Do it today. Tell her she is a part of your heart. You will live happier). 

 

Patricia Boswell

Mr. Volvo

The other morning Tom and I were headed to work.  We have been riding together since Tom’s car was totaled, Halloween morning, by a young kid who ran a red light. Since then we have been a one car family. At first this was very difficult for me. Truth be told, I hated it. I liked my time in the car alone. I could drive in silence, listen to music, a book or a conference on CD. My choice. I usually used the time to think, take stock. With Tom in the car it wasn’t my space anymore. However, during some of our morning commutes we had great conversation, caught up on things with each other, or made plans for the evening or week. Sometimes it was really nice. I enjoyed our company. So both experiences were true for me.

 

 

Anyway, this particular morning, as we headed up Bigelow Blvd traffic began to slow. It was still moving but slower than usual. Ahead of us I noticed an older Volvo, changing lanes, speeding up only to have to brake because both lanes were moving slowly, and honking his horn. At one point he was waving his arms in the air above his head. I wondered who was steering his car. He was clearly upset. Being the well trained defensive driver(thank you Mr Anderson) that I am, I tried to determine what had Mr Volvo so upset. Was he seeing something dangerous I wasn’t aware of? My assessment of the situation was that everyone was going slower, but at a constant rate of speed. Odd for this stretch of the road, but not dangerous to me.

 

I commented to Tom, “This guy is really upset.” Continue Reading

Patricia Boswell