This past spring, Dad called me. We normally talk several times each week, so it was nothing out of the ordinary. He had just retired and asked me if I’d want to go fishing with Mack again and asked if I’d like to bring my wife. At the time of that call, it had been 18 years since my dad and I fished Lanier together.
Read that again. 18 years.
My fault. Not his.
Immediately, thoughts started running through my brain about our jobs, previous social commitments with my wife, article deadlines, scheduled podcast interviews… whatever. Dad laid out a few dates for me and asked me which days would work best for my work schedule. I told him my preferred dates and essentially, he had already committed us to a certain date; I think he knew I had become a bit flighty in my older age. Luckily, my wife and I have great bosses who encouraged us to take the day off and we were able to sneak away for the day.
After that phone call with my dad, I had several nights of deep thinking. I’ll readily admit that I’m an overthinker about most things in life, but something really did click for me. I have always prided myself in saying the word “no” to protect my personal boundaries. For whatever reason, the Good Lord made me a very private man and I take a lot of pride in that. I don’t want folks to know what I’m doing and I like to do my own thing.
But the more I thought about it, the word “no”, especially with ones you love, is a short-term response that can potentially lead to long-term regrets. I said “no” to my buddy Austin about a few fishing trips and a year later, he passed away unexpectedly and I will never, ever forgive myself as long as I live. It makes me sick to my stomach to even type those words.
There is always a reason to say “no”. You can always come up with an excuse.
When you say “yes”, however, I believe it’s a long-term response that can create memories that can potentially change your life. I can act like I thought of that by myself, but my beautiful wife has been a huge help in regards to helping me loosen the hell up and enjoy life a bit more. It has been a process but I truly believe I’m a better man for it.