When I retired eleven years ago, I made myself a promise that I would stop doing things that weren’t fun for me. Pretty lofty, isn’t it?
No more business dinners (that was easy) but I also wanted to pare down my social calendar to things that were fun. I don’t have a lot of time left (compared to my 20-year-old self) so let’s make it fun!
In reality, you can’t do that. You can stop saying yes to please others but there are times you do something because you care about someone (yes, those class reunions!). Sometimes it’s in your best interest to do them.
I also adjusted my butt time to 90 minutes max. That means for dinners and most social events, 90 minutes was the amount of time I am willing to give. Especially for dinners. There is nothing worse (for me) than a dinner going on and on and on. I’ve had some whoppers go on for three hours. Numb butt, fried brain and pasted smile. Nope, I don’t do those anymore. I’ve stood up to announce that it was “time” or I would turn into a pumpkin. People laugh as I put on my jacket and leave. Then they are stunned because in their mind, the conversation was stellar and the evening just starting.
Getting all this straight in my head is one thing but practicing it consistently is another. There are sneaky invites that get me to agree or something I want to do turns out to be different.
I take a pass for my mahjongg game. Those women are stuck in a chair for 3 to 3-1/2 hours without a break. I, on the other hand, have to pee and walk around. (They are older than me so where do I sign up for that kind of bladder?) I feel like I’m holding up the game but I’m the only one that doesn’t get leg cramps, stiffness or back issues.
Last week my resolution was put to the hard test. I have a long-term friend. I enjoy her company but not so much her husband. We tried to do “couples” things about 30 years ago and it didn’t work out. I find him crotchety, negative and generally not fun to be around. (He has positives, like being a great cook and he’s smart but that’s not enough.) She broached the topic of a couples get together. Nope, nope, nope. Been there, done that. I declined. She asked why and I was honest. I was so honest (just short of your husband’s a pip) that I shocked myself.
It was hard as I like my friend. She has enough struggles with her hubby, she didn’t need me piling on, but I didn’t want to do it. Making excuses only gets you out of the current invitation. I didn’t want to play the “too busy” card.
A couple of years back, a couple friend of ours (who we like a lot) kept inviting us to pro sports games. They had season tickets. I’m not big on sports and at this point, traveling and being cold aren’t on the top of my list. (They don’t make the list!) After declining a few times, I was honest and said we are not into that sport, not even the beloved husband who is very into baseball and football. The invitations stopped. We are still friends. It survived honesty.
Friendship should be able to survive the truth and you shouldn’t wait until you retire to practice it.
How about you? Do you let yourself get sucked into things you don’t want to do or have you mastered the art of no? How honest are you or would you rather wiggle out?