No is a complete sentence

The week came and went, and although I made some progress clearing things out and away, it wasn’t enough. I almost, but not quite, reached the same level of tidiness I had achieved before the summer began. It all became a bit wearing and I started whining at a meeting – about the sloppy state of affairs in my sewing room, and around my computer, and the rest of the house. The ladies who listened patiently to my complaints – quilters all – then shared their stories. At the end, the wisest of the group said, “No is a complete sentence.”

We were in awe. Oh, the dizzying freedom that comes with saying, “No, I didn’t get it done. No, I’m not going to do it. No, I’m not going to take on another project. No, I’m not going to explain, apologize, or negotiate.”

Well, of course, the next morning I realized it isn’t quite as easy as all that. Then I thought of all the other wise sayings I have collected over the years, some in tee shirt form, some on tote bags, some on scraps of paper that I will some day make into tee shirts or tote bags.

Here is one of the earliest:

In case you can’t read my handwriting, the note says, “Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.” The note is very faded, but very true. Experience is wonderful, and we will make the same mistakes over and over. I will, at least, because I have.

This next one follows in the same vein:

This one says, “Time is the best teacher; unfortunately, it kills all of its students.” There are so many things I need to learn, and re-learn, and never enough time for it all. This goes beyond learning to make perfect points on demand, or learning to check all the boxes on the computer screen before I hit the “accept” button. I long for the day I learn to keep my mouth shut when my kids tell me about issues in their lives that aren’t mine to solve, or the day I learn to smile and agree that something should be done about the crisis of the day without volunteering to head the committee (perhaps I should have the title of today’s blog tattooed on my palm).

Although I will grind my teeth over the state of the sewing room tonight, tomorrow I will go in and try once again to tame it. Perhaps it is part of being a quilter – there’s a wellspring of optimism we all have that keeps us trying to create, trying to invent, trying to improve. And so I end with the latest addition to the collection of useful phrases:

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2 Responses to “No is a complete sentence”

  1. Marlene Says:

    “Keep calm and carry on.”

    Hoo boy. Do I need that.

  2. B. Lynn Goodwin Says:

    “Time is the best teacher; unfortunately, it kills all of its students” is a great observation. True…sadly.

    I like what you’re doing here very much.

    Lynn
    http://www.writeradvice.com
    Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

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