The art of saying no

Last week I had three chances to say no and I didn’t take any of them. Most of the requests for my time have to do with writing articles or doing publicity. The first one came from a women’s group at my church that is planning a conference for late September. What do they want from me?  Help in bringing in 100 to 150 attendees, when 25 is the usual attendance count.  So much for choosing the easy volunteer jobs.  I realized that the “we really need you, we can’t do this without you” ploy still works with me.

When the planning meeting ended, the president of the group told me she needed me for another project, publicizing a national — or was it international? convention — in 2016.  I looked around the group and wondered, for the first time in my life, why I or anyone else would commit today to doing something in 2016.  There was no one under sixty in the group.  Half of us could be gone in 2016.  I won’t even consider projects with deadlines of 2016 for my things-to-do list…yet.

The same day I got a call from a friend asking me to take part in an event this coming Saturday from 9 to 1.  She said, “I know you’re working on your own things and not so interested in participating in this project any longer, but we really need you there.” The fact is, I’m a sucker for requests from friends.  And it’s only a one-time event I tell myself, even though I know that my big priorities could suffer a slow, lingering “death from one-time events.”

The third request came yesterday.  Someone asked me to write a newsletter article.  So far I’ve only said that someone will write an article, but did not commit myself to being the author, even though I suspect that will be the outcome.

Today a friend told me she’s taking to heart my last blog about what people receiving palliative care regret not having done in their lives.  That’s why, when asked to do an interview and write it up for a newsletter she said no. “Retirement is a time when you pursue your own interests,” she advised, “not those of others.”  Funny thing is, she just sent me the response of the person she said no to:  “What if you just wrote a short article?  If I write it, it won’t be as good.”  I’m waiting to see how my friend handles this one.  At least it will be resolved before 2016.

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About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness.
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