I’m Against It

*I’ve been asking my sweet husband to guest post on the blog for ever and he must’ve missed me a whole lot last week when I was in Utah. I came back and guess who had a post all ready to go? Without further ado, here’s Aaron's first guest post on My Life at Playtime...

A friend of mine recently introduced me to a musical jewel I’d somehow passed over long ago. “I’m Against It” by the Ramones instantly made it into my current playlists. But that simple, tongue-in-cheek commentary churned in my mind a larger understanding that I think has only started to crystallize in my consciousness now, as my 38th year of trying to make meaning of life is fast approaching and I have to admit that late thirties has got me. Not mid thirties or thirty something, but late thirties. 

Listening to the words of that song makes you realize how easy it is to reject things as a default stance. Being negative is easy. I recently heard someone make the proclamation that real power is demonstrated by the ability to say yes, fake power is always the ability to say no.

Think about being on hold with a phone company over a billing dispute. The first person you talk to will never have the power to say yes to giving you a credit on your account, it’s always a higher level manager who can size up the situation and has demonstrated enough good judgement in the past to be awarded with the power to do good, to make people happier, to say “yes” ("you may pay us a little less than we were planning to make you pay”). 

So the point of this is a larger personal goal I’ve become more aware of with myself. I feel too old to be caged into telling everyone around me “no”. Can I say yes more often? Can I embrace rather than fold my arms in a defensive posture?

An entire culture in past decades surrounded itself with the i.d. of hating everything. Punk was all about not liking normal things, rebelling by hating everything. I think of times past when I rejected things I could have enjoyed because I couldn’t risk looking “uncool” or because of what I feared others would think of me. Ultimately I lacked the power to say “yes, I will try to learn that” or even “yes, I do need to spend time getting to know someone better”. Getting older has advantages, and one I am really beginning to enjoy is the security of not allowing self-consciousness to sway decisions as much. 

But what might limit me in wielding that new power of well earned confidence is the fact that I will, at times, get burned by saying yes. People will take advantage of me. That homeless person may just put that dollar I gave him into another hit of meth for him and his malnourished pit bull. Not everyone will appreciate how risky it is to allow an emotional attachment to them. Each time you get burned it may cause you to lose the power you possess of saying yes by making you scared of the risk. But I will not let go of that power. Life is too short to go around rejecting things. I’m not against it. Of course, unless that thing you want me to give a chance to is contemporary country music, then you’ve asked too much of me.