Part three of our ‘Samsung Summer of Spontaneity’ series, supported by our pals at Samsung! in this edition, Kelly Bertrand says ‘yes’ a lot in an effort to find some joy – did it work?
I don’t know about you, but the start of 2023 hasn’t felt like the easiest. Floods? Check. Crap weather? Check. Overwhelming sense of ‘meh’? Hells yes.
A few sodden weeks into summer, staring out my lounge window as fat raindrops hammered against it, I decided enough was enough. If summer joy wasn’t going to come to me, I was going to go and find IT.
I’ve always believed that the key to joy is spontaneity. There’s something so magic about unexpected happiness and summer is always the season for it – think spur-of-the-moment trips to the beach; catchups with girlfriends that go from lunch to dinner, those self-care days you don’t plan but treasure for their slowness.
So instead of wallow and pine for sun-drenched days, I decided to magic up a little spontaneity for myself by saying YES to as much as I could for the remainder of the month.
To contextualise this, I’m usually also a pretty firm believer in saying no as often as you can. Women get wildly trapped into the ‘yes yes yes!’ vortex (especially as freelancers and business owners). But all of the ‘yes’ for everyone else always comes at the expense of the ‘yes’ for you – and that’s what I’m looking for this week. So, armed with my trusty Samsung Galaxy Flip4, I set out to find the joy, the fun and the spontaneity – here are the highlights:
Are You Going to Light That? YES!
Who else among us is hesitant to light the fancy candle? They’re so expensive and nice and perfect and while it would be so lovely to see a flickering flame at the top of their designer wicks, I can never seem to bite the bullet and light the damn things.
It’s a bugbear of my partner’s, who has bought me WILDLY expensive candles because he knows I love them, but he can’t fathom why I never light them. “It’s their point,” he laments, waving around a gas lighter like a frustrated Harry Potter.
So, knowing full well my mission for the week, the first sentence to slip out of his mouth was always going to be, ‘So, are you going to light that?’
So I did, and I have to admit – it was glorious. It felt special and remarkable on a random Tuesday to be indulging in something so lovely, so random. It made me pour a glass of the good wine, put on my favourite Odesza album and sit back and just relax.
Do You Want to Come With Me to Choir Practice? YES!
You know when you talk to a mate about doing something and you know deep down in your soul you’re both joking – but you still kind of want to do it? This has been my friend Rachael and I for years as we’ve had a laugh about joining a local choir. We laugh about it because it makes us uncomfortable thinking about the potential embarrassment of us singing in public.
But when we went through the usual ‘God wouldn’t it be HILARIOUS’ to join a choir routine over a glass of rosé, to her abject horror, the time had finally come to say yes.
So, off we trotted to our local community choir two nights later where we met some LOVELY women, explored a lot of Neil Diamond’s niche back catalogue (the man has some bangers) and had a thoroughly good time.
After the first 10 minutes we’d forgotten all of our fears and just enjoyed ourselves. Would HIGHLY recommend.
Would You Like Dessert? YES!
I’m not a dessert person – give me a slice of cheese or another glass of wine and I’m good. But when our server asked if I’d like dessert, well hell – it was time to broaden my horizons. In the spirit of the thing I figured I’d try something I’d never had before, which is how I ended up with a wildly intricate rhubarb caramel thing with lots of different little bits and pieces on the plate.
Of course, it was delicious. So now I like rhubarb?!
Should We Go for a Walk Down That Path? YES!
I’m also not one for tramps where I don’t know the paths (God I’m sounding like I’m a person who hates everything in this story – I swear I’m fun and I normally would say no. But on a holiday on the South Island’s West Coast, my partner asked I wanted to take a walk down a random path we drove past on the way back from lunch.
It ended up opening up to the most stunning lookout over rocks, blowholes and a gorgeous beach that we’d never have known was there.
Want to try a new workout space? YES!
Gah, I knew this experiment would come back and bite me in the butt at some point and here it is – an invitation in my work inbox to try a new fitness studio (where was the invitation to go to Cabo!?).
But again, in the spirit of the thing I went along and enjoyed a HIIT/ Cardio workout that was actually quite good, although I do think I rather pushed myself a bit trying to keep up with the impossibly gorgeous woman in front of me, but that’s just 32 years of competitiveness and about 10 years of too much wine.
I actually felt really proud of myself after this one – it wasn’t something I was looking forward to, but it pushed me outside my comfort zone and reminded me that my body can actually do more than I give it credit for.
Meet Me at the Beach For a Cheeky Break? YES!
My friend Catherine, who does shift work, sent a message at 2pm on a Friday afternoon when the weather actually held for an hour or so, and asked me to meet her down the beach for a beer and a catch-up.
Normally I’d decline and stay at my desk – the guilt of skiving off, even when you’re your own boss, is STRONG (is this the same for everyone?!). But I figured I had a golden ticket to head down and enjoy the one hour of sun the summer gods had given us, so off I toddled with a chilly bin, a hat and a spring in my step.
I came home an hour and a half later less stressed, more centred and with the dual benefit of having had a great yarn, and some refuelling time in the sun.
So, what’s the bottom line?
I’ve realised that while saying yes to all of these things wouldn’t be sustainable during a normal week – boundaries are there for a reason, after all – I’ve been missing out on the little moments of joy you get when you say yes to things that scare you, that surprise you, that challenge you.
I’ll be saying yes more often, that’s for sure – well, to the fun stuff anyway!