MAKE 2016 A YEAR OF YES
Friday afternoon usually means that we devote our attentions to unbridled wedding pretty here on BLOVED, but we are taking a break from our usual scheduling to talk to you about the other thing that weddings symbolise; the start of a new life with the one you love.
But we are not asking you to get married to do that (particularly not those of you that are already hitched), we are simply asking you to endeavor to live life to its absolute fullest and to share it with those that you love the most.
We all lead such busy lives that sometimes it can be easy to forget that time is precious and it is up to us, and only us, to make sure we make the most of the time that we have.
I had a very stark reminder of that nearly three years ago when I lost one of my dearest and oldest friends, Lou, to a car accident at the age of just 27. Although it is truly the most heartbreaking thing that I have ever experienced, I’m not sharing this with you to make you feel sad. Because in her short life, Lou has inspired an incredible legacy…
Lou knew how to enjoy life. She worked hard throughout the week but every weekend she had plans, seeing one friend or another at various corners of the country. Lou was a ‘yes’ person; she lived life to the full. And so, in her memory, Year of the Yes was born.
Founded with my best friend Christina, Year of the Yes, is all about having a positive approach to life – visiting new places, trying new things and spending as much time with our loved ones as possible.
It’s about finding your passion(s) and embracing it. For some it is travel, for some it is a burning business passion, for some it is reading a really good book, for some it is joining a yoga class. It just means saying yes a little more to the simple things in life as well as the great adventures.
Here’s some of my favourite things that I said yes to in 2015, in the hope they will inspire some of your yeses in 2016.
This year team Year of the Yes joined a book club and it is one of the best things we have ever done. Every six weeks or so we get together for book chat, gossip and wine. It’s great having the chance to talk about the books you have read and discover so many things that you hadn’t noticed yourself. But it isn’t stuffy or boring. It’s just chatting with friends. Best of all, book clubs are really easy to get started. You just need a small group of friends, alternate the hosting (with the host choosing the designated book each time) and everyone brings along a bottle. If you want to join a preformed group though, you can find some here.
Start a grub club
Love food? We made a commitment at the beginning of the year to eat out at a different place in the local area once a month. You can do this in a group of friends on a set day every month, or you can just make a commitment with yourself and then visit different places with whoever wants to join you each month.
This one can get a bit pricey, but last year my boy and I made a list of the places we wanted to visit together. So this year we just made a commitment to start ticking some of those off. Some were in the UK, some further afield. Some were just day trips. But we meticulously saved to make the trips we wanted to make happen and spent time planning out trips carefully (what we wanted to see and where we wanted to eat) so that we made the most of them when we were there. We also made a commitment not to visit the same place twice over the next few years…so that we can get as much of that list ticked off as possible.
Take on a challenge
You often don’t know what you can achieve until you push yourself. This year team Year of the Yes took part in a half marathon to raise money for charity. Given that we are the kind of girls that used to hide in gym class, this was a challenge so far out of comfort zone that it was actually laughable (literally). But we did it. A definite lesson that you can achieve anything you put your mind to – so push those limits hard, you will amaze yourself with what you can achieve.
Do a course
I’m a bit of a geek and I love to learn all of the time, so I am often dipping in and out of different courses. One of my absolute favourite things that I did this year was join a Make Light photography class with Emily Quinton. It has really inspired me to take better photos and build a stronger brand identity for Year of the Yes. Next year I want to learn calligraphy… Just because I want to be able to write pretty quotes (told you I’m a geek). But whatever your passion is, I am sure there is a course, YouTube video or podcast out there that will help you hone your skills.
That’s just a few yes ideas right there for you but above all, if you take just one thing away from this post, I implore you all to make a conscious effort to spend more time with the people you love in 2016. Set aside specific time to do this, whether it is a regular date with a friend, partner or family member once a week or once a month. Or perhaps designated ‘you time’ to spend on a particular hobby.
Of course this yes malarkey doesn’t mean that you don’t ever say no but think about why you are really saying no. If it is something you truly don’t want to do, then by all means say no loud and proud. But if you are just being a little bit lazy or grumpy, or you are wary of new things or people… push yourself a little harder. You may just find you have the time of your life, or at the very least collect a few new memories.
Just say yes.
You might say yes for a loved one you have lost. You might say yes to push your limits and challenge yourself. You might say yes to meet new people or try new things. Whatever your reason for saying yes, we encourage you to embrace the philosophy and to spread the word.
Because as Richard Branson once said, life really is more fun when you say yes. It seemed to work out really well for him…