Doing a few things excessively.

<insert big number> Things I say NO to.

I’ve been saying no to a lot of things lately.

No to sleeping late. No to lazing in bed. No to watching a new web-series. No to ‘just one more episode’ of an old web-series. No to planning weekend getaways (nothing much to get away from really). No to junk. No to deserts. No to ‘just one more bite c’mon’. No to movies on Sunday night. No to movies on weekday nights. No to mid week drinking. No to drinking more than once a week (even if its free). No to skipping gym for work. No to skipping gym for friends. No to skipping gym for spouse, for family. Just a big NO to skipping gym. No to whiling away weekends. No to whiling away weekends reading articles online. No to exceeding my calorie count. No to not counting calories. No to not being obsessed with my fitness. No to not being obsessed with creative expression. No.


That’s a lot of No.

And I hope to keep expanding that list. Even as I work on getting better at sticking to this one. Because as it turns out, I’ve not been saying no to anything.

I’ve just been saying no for a few things.

My Health
My Work
My Creative Expression

In that order.

You might read that list as Body, Mind and Soul. In which case the order will sound upside down. And I can’t explain why. But it is that way for me.

Now work,I guess, all of us say no for. We might hate it, but we say no to movies and dates and dinners and family get-togethers all the time for work. Somehow we (read -we Indians) have automatically placed work at the top of our priority list. And I don’t think it’s a bad thing (unless you absolutely abhor your work — in which case it’ll affect your health and hence you must say no to such work). That’s what gives us our work ethic. Our edge. And failed is a man who hasn’t experienced the joy of slogging his ass off and delivering good work.

But after years of experimenting with all sorts of lifestyles — backpacking traveller, voracious reader and information guzzler, fish-like thrice-a-week drinker, and many other in-betweens, I feel I’ve finally found my sweet, simple list of 3 things I love saying no for. And work, I was happy to discover, sits there nicely nestled between two others.

Sure these aren't independent. They interact and feed off each other

And sure there are a lot of things that don’t feature here. Family, wife, friends, travel, movies, reading, chilling etc.

But that’s what I’ve learnt.

Taking care of yourself and your happiness is your paramount responsibility. All your relationships end up being a lot healthier if you are healthy and happy. And vice versa. So calling out what makes me happy and ensuring nothing comes in its way is what I need to do. Its actually all I need to do. Everything (and everyone) else takes care of itself. Not to mention — it acts as a great filter and helps me attract only those people who get this.

Coming to the other stuff — travel, reading, chilling on Netflix — all of these too are important to me. You would also (correctly) argue that these help me be mentally healthy, be creative and be better at work. And I’d agree.

Hence I do do all these. But not (ideally never) at the expense of those three.

So watching one MasterChef episode after dinner when I’m too tired to write or work, is cool. Watching a movie on the weekend once I’m done with my writing quota, is also cool ( and a lot more rewarding). Enjoying a vacation after a 7-week writing streak, is awesome!
But skipping gym for a friend’s anniversary dinner, in a week when I’ve skipped gym thrice already. Not cool. Heading for that awesome weekend-theatre-act, when I’ve not yet put pen to paper. Not cool. Hiding behind a great book when I really am just too lazy to write. Not cool. And planning a getaway when all I’d be getting away from is healthy food, exercise and pen & paper. Definitely not cool.

Am I able to do this all the time? Not at all.

Am I getting better? Hell yes.

Is my partner cool with all this ‘nay-saying’? Yup. She’s awesome and she gets it.

Why am I telling you all this? So the next time I say no to you, you know what it’s for. And it makes our relationship stronger.

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