Author photo

By Mel White 

Sometimes it pays to say YES!

On the Bright Side


August 18, 2018

Mel White

I was stressed and tired one night. Things were crazy at the store, my car was acting funny and I'd had a fight with a friend the night before. My dogs seemed particularly demanding that evening, and the cat seemed particularly whiney and needy. I had a headache. I wanted to hide and mope and feel sorry for myself.

But a friend called and said she had an extra ticket to a play I'd never heard of, and would I like to go with her? My brain quickly came up with a list of excuses, and then for some reason I just said yes. And I'm glad I did. It made me feel good to know someone wanted to spend time with me, it felt good to be out with someone I hadn't seen for awhile and the play was absolutely delightful and made me forget about my lousy day. My headache even disappeared. Sometimes it pays to just say YES! even on the spur of the moment.

I think about a particular friend of mine, whom I'll call Arliss. I was in a bar one night trying to get up the nerve to ask someone to dance, and a complete stranger came up to me and asked me to dance. At first I remember being startled, then sort of disappointed... and then I decided what the hay, it's just one dance. I said yes to the stranger, and a new friendship with Arliss, that has now lasted some 30 years and is still going strong, was born that evening. Sometimes just saying YES! can literally change your life.

I know that new experiences are often scary. Even just changing gears when you've decided to do one thing and then get a chance to do something else can seem more like an obligation or a duty than an opportunity or a pleasant diversion. But many times the unexpected – whether known or unknown – is exactly the right thing to just say YES! to.

One rare Saturday off a couple of winters ago I planned to clean my house from top to bottom and right to left. It was a mess and I was sick of it. I'd been busy several nights in a row and there were papers and dirty clothes everywhere. I hadn't seen the cordless phone for days (but I'd heard it ringing). That particular week I'd been too busy doing things that other people wanted or needed me to do so I hadn't paid much attention to my home, or myself.

But that Saturday morning I woke up to a gorgeous blue sky and unseasonably warm temperatures. I decided to just say YES! to myself and skip the housework in favor of a drive through Cowboy Country over to Lake Isabella and back. It was one of the most glorious and easy days I've ever spent in our wonderful mountains, and I ended up rested, relaxed and refreshed after the drive. I also found I was ready to do that housework the next day, mainly because I'd said yes to myself for a great day off.

Sometimes the best answer you can give to anyone – yourself included – is a resounding, heartfelt and enthusiastic YES! Who knows what you might experience or learn on the other side of that YES?

As a little footnote here: I'll admit that NO is a good and valuable word too, and it's good to know when you should say NO. Sometimes, in fact, it's best to just say NO (more about this coming up in a future column). But remember, sometimes when you say NO, especially to an activity or experience, you end up wondering what you missed, and you may have missed something fun or important.

Basically, as a rule of thumb, I figure if it has to do with trying something new, doing something for the first time, learning something new, seeing something new, being somewhere new, getting to know someone new – all about new personal experiences or adventures, or old experiences with new people, or even re-enjoying old experiences with old friends – it's just fine and preferable to just say YES!

Take a chance. Be brave. Be daring. Be open. Be a do-er. Even if you aren't quite sure about something, try just saying YES! and see what happens. It might be something really good.

Yes indeed.

© Copyright 2018. Mel White, a local writer/photographer, has been writing "On the Bright Side" for various newspapers since 1996. She is also co-owner/founder of the unusual and eclectic Treasure Trove in downtown Tehachapi (every day a new adventure); she welcomes your comments at


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