This past holiday weekend was a whirlwind of deja vu…
- Wandering the canals in Venice and accidentally stumbling into a cicchetti bar and saying yes, “I think I was here before”.
- Experiencing an international flight cancellation and trying to get back to the US on an overbooked Thanksgiving weekend and saying yes, “I am pretty sure I was here before”.
- Wandering into the Nordstrom location in Seattle after 24 hours of delays which required skipping a stop home and buying emergency work clothes and saying yes, “I’m almost positive I’ve been here before”.
- Opening up a new book on the train and devouring it and saying yes, “I’ve definitely been here before”.
Let me back up a bit on that last one. Eight years ago, right after Thanksgiving (a whirlwind trip to Vienna when I really really REALLY should have been at home), I closed on a new house. That is a story (or really a series many stories, some of which I’ve recounted here before). But a couple of things are important about that period of time. 1) I was crazy busy. Like really really REALLY crazy busy. Stuff was chaotic – I was running two companies and burning the candle at both ends and not managing any of it very well. 2) I was unhappy. Like really really REALLY unhappy. I just didn’t know it yet.
2007 was the year of shakeups in my life. I was clinging to the doorway in my series of personal earthquakes not yet knowing that the big ones were still to come. I had this new house. I had capital P problems to manage. And I had 120 hours of that stuff to cram into every single week of my life.
So when a client suggested that I read a book one day, I laughed at her. Literally.
But as I was getting ready to board my flight that snowy December day (DEN to LGA on UA), I saw that book at the newsstand across from my gate. So I bought it. And I opened it up and found Elizabeth Gilbert crying on her bathroom floor. And I found myself saying yes, “I have done this… recently!”
The book was Eat Pray Love and I had avoided it to this point because I didn’t have time to read in my 120 hours a week of crazy. And because I didn’t think the naval gazing was what I needed in my life. But at a time of intense chaos in my life and standing on the brink of a major life change (I would be literally packing up my entire life and moving to a new town in less than 24 hours), it was exactly what I needed to read at that point.
But back on the train from Venice to Milan on Saturday, I was no where near that point. I’ve gotten to the point where my work life balance is better. (Who am I to be humble… I own that!)
So when I picked up Shonda Rhimes’ book Year of Yes, I was expecting a light read. I devour her shows on Thursday night. I even run a Facebook group called “Shondaland” where I discuss and dissect her shows every week with a diverse group of friends from all areas of my life.
I wanted McDreamy and soapy goodness.
What I got instead was a direct hit between the eyes.
Clean and neat, B613 style.
You see, this book is about this amazingly successful woman – First. Only. Different. – realizing that she is saying NO to everything in life. And about her realizing at the height and pinnacle of her success that she is actually succeeding at work, managing the stuff around her, and getting shit done. And yet failing by not saying yes.
And I caught myself saying yes again… because holy crap, this is me.
I’m on my second read of the book already – yes, twice in less than a week. And I’m declaring it now. My word for the year for 2016 (a month early) is YES.
I’m going to embrace the dark and twisty stuff. I’m going to stand in the sun. And I’m going to dance it out.
Thank you Shonda for picking me up off the bathroom tile.