When to Say Yes, No, and Guideline to Other Challenging Questions

How to answer?Knowing when to say yes, when to say no, when to walk away, when to let go, when to give up, when to have faith again, when to bury ghosts, when to be silent or when speak up, are all questions that elude me most of the time. I remind myself just knowing there is a question to ask means I am aware, and, therefore, enlightened.

When I need some reassurance, I have a clue regarding the complexity of life’s more delicate matters I have a tendency to rationalize. But if I am absolutely honest with myself–a meditative practice left for the darkest hours before dawn–I have to confess my lack of certainty. The exact answers to any of the questions I posed earlier are generally out of my reach. Like Gibb’s rules (NCIS character) I have similar yardstick to the most complicated subjects in life:


Knowing when to say yes: When stranded at the Denver Airport during a snowstorm and the lanky stranger seated next to you offers to buy you a drink.


Knowing when to say no: say no anytime the question makes your skin crawl or if the question limits personal liberties or feels constrictive. Almost like it does when you are trying to slip your curvy torso into a pair of jeans one size too small.


When to let go: When love hurts.


When to give up: when everything you have tried fails or when the person you are giving your heart and soul to, gives up.


When to go silent: when your honest words will cause unnecessary angst, when honesty will put you in harms way, or when the doubt is too thick to wade past.


When to have faith again: one of those meditative debates that rage during the darkest hours of a person’s life. Look far and wide, but come back to your heart, whatever you need to answer is almost always right where you left it.


When to exercise your voice: always and ever but not after, now that you can, in the cool moment, as long as you have a breath.


The right or maybe it’s best described as the not exactly perfect answer–depending on the question–often tests my true grit. Sometimes knowing the choice is not mine to make absolves me of the struggle but as blissful as this appears going along with another’s decision can be equal agonizing. Since donning the persona of a writer, no is my go-to answer when I don’t want to do something. Professing a commitment to the blank page is my get out of jail-free-card.  As for the rest of the questions, it’s on a case by case basis.

I have come to believe, a remarkably high percentage of life is nonsensical, often confusing, and consistently perplexing. Thus, it’s necessary to give way to guilty pleasures, avoidance, daydreams, adult recreation, abandoning conventions and any pretext that I give a damn about rules. The usual caveats and good judgment apply, the later is generally absence when I am on the brink of behaving badly, but I do try. Life, after all, is a journey. In the interest of full disclosure, life is infinitely more entertaining when I consider but refrain from exceptional behavior and later, just before sunrise, ponder a fresh start. It’s a lot like dieting.

As always, my quest for answers to the hard questions continues to push me beyond my limit, as such I remain a novice. I continue the journey and despite the odds I keep trying, hoping to get it right now and again.


What is your approach to answering a difficult question?



I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

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