Zimmerman’s Challenge: Say ” Yes “

The difficulty of saying “yes” can be so intimidating that it can blind you for the rest of your life. Literally as I write this I am attempting to work up the courage to say the most difficult “yes” of my life and frankly I’m so god damn terrified that tears are falling from my eyes. In some amazing twist of fate this essay, which I started thinking about a month ago, is not just a hypothetical challenge but a very literal and life-altering challenge to myself. Frankly, I don’t know if I’m up to it.

You know the adage “the grass is always greener on the other side?” I suppose the moral implied is that we should appreciate what we have and not to focus on what we don’t. Yet, there’s always been this voice in the back of my head telling me what the adage really means is “stop complaining and take what you can get.”

What if the grass was greener on the other side? What if we’d simply been standing in one place so long that the grass at our feet had become a downtrodden, neglected brown patch?

By and large I think my generation—millennials—have a really solid work ethic. We stand our ground, we’re responsible, we’re safe; we were raised on the slogan “just say no.” I was taught to be wary of strangers, to read and follow directions, and to absolutely under no circumstances ever do drugs.

The “no” life is safe. It establishes order and simplicity and that is precisely what we need for this little society of ours to function as a predictable and controllable entity. We’ve been asked to trade in our wild spirit for the promise of a “better tomorrow.”

But I have killed so many Today’s for the sake of Tomorrow that all my Yesterdays have turned fallow. The future looks greener because I’ve made it so. By putting off into the future what makes us happy, we instill a mindset in ourselves that has us always looking ahead with hope, and never look back with fondness. It’s the now that is the fertile ground where real futures can be sewn. 

It’s easy to forget that we emerged as adults not out of absolutes but out of blissful ignorance. To say “yes” is to acquaint one’s self with that ignorance and to turn your back on the haunting fear of failure. “Yes” is not just an affirmation of a course of action or an acknowledgment of agreement. “Yes” is a conscious decision to relinquish anxious deliberation and to trust what’s in your heart—whatever that may be.

I do not say these words lightly. I would never issue a challenge that I myself were not willing to do in its purest form. And so as I contemplate my future, I look to you for inspiration. I look to you to say “yes” to something. Dig deep and find the courage to say “yes” to one thing—just one thing—that you would never normally agree to. Say yes to someone who loves you; say yes to a new job; say yes to a new food or a new experience or just say yes to taking a leap of faith.

Just say yes to something. And write about it here. I don’t know what the future holds but if you can find the power to say yes then maybe I can too.  

I leave my fate lovingly in your hands.

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