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Year of Yes

I said yes.

 

It came on the heels of Primetime Queen, Author Supreme and my personal inspiration Shonda Rhimes’ revelation – depicted in her new novel Year of Yes, which so conveniently coincided with my own. In no way were they related, but I still can’t get over the irony. How is it that when I, too, decided it would be better to say yes for the next 365 days, one of my career idols released a book that outlines why and how she did the same? Could it be the Universe telling me I made the right choice? Probably. Would I take the challenge 100 times more seriously, now? Absolutely.

 

I made the decision to be more open-minded, outgoing and flexible to change and other scary things four days before my 27th birthday. It was after a conversation between me and my good friend Morgan – we were praising our other good friend Killian for her outgoing nature, her ability to talk to anyone and to be unabashedly unafraid of an all-around good time. In that moment, I decided that would be my personal new-year resolution, and so it was.

 

Though my 27th birthday had not yet arrived, I started immediately. As far as I was concerned, one of the main points of this challenge was to also not be such a procrastinator, to seize the day. I wanted to get started early, or to at least practice throughout the next few days so I could be great at saying “yes” by the time midnight hit on November 20. I have to say, it worked.

 

You’re probably wondering what made me feel like I needed to say yes – it’s a great question. In short, I’m the “grandma” of my social circle. Albeit, I’m also the only one married with a child. But, I vowed on my 21st birthday to never lose my youth and to always remain open to new opportunities and fun times – even with baby and hubby in tow. The fact is, I still want to be me.

 

But somewhere along the way, I lost that zeal. Treading the fine line between responsible and reclusive, I chose the latter. I found it much easier to just say “no,” rather than to do the hard work of finding a babysitter or working out schedules with my husband or leaving work a little early. I saw these simple realities of womanhood as burdens and, quite frankly, I wanted nothing to do with them. So, I stayed in my comfort zone.

 

I now realize that being a great mom and wife does not require balance (what is that?) as much as it requires a top-notch skill for juggling and a firm self-identity. You can get lost in the demands of mommyhood and partnership. A great mom knows that you can make your husband his favorite beef stew in the slow cooker, teach your baby his letters and shapes and still make time to have some wine in the bathtub while laughing at videos on Vine. It’s about staying true to yourself.

 

I realize now I have just three years left until my 30th birthday, which I’m so excited to see. Like Shonda the Awesome, I, too, am saying yes to my health – taking yoga three times a week. I’m also saying yes to me. I’m shopping, buying as many wigs as I can responsibly afford, traveling with my family, friends and even by myself. I’m saying yes to work outings, whether they typically drain me or not, networking events, interviews, new relationships and anything else that could possibly encourage my end goal: being my best self.

 

I’ve only been 27 for about 72 hours, but so far so good. You’re never too old to learn, to change or to improve and I’m so excited to see where my Year of Yes takes me.

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Crystal Washington

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