The No-Conditions Challenge: How Saying ‘Yes’ Transforms Ordinary Days into Extraordinary Adventures!

happy seniors on the lunch table

“Do you want to go to the party Saturday?”

 “I don’t know, who’s going to be there?”

 “I’m not sure, a lot of people though.”

 “Will Bob be there?”

 “I really don’t know.”

 “Well, if he’s coming, I’m not going. I don’t want to be around that guy. Is it outdoors?”

 “Yes, I think so.”

 “What’s the temperature going to be?”

 “I’m not sure, I haven’t checked the weather.”

 “Well, if it’s going to be hot, I’m out. What kind of food will they have?

 “I have no idea.”

 “You need to find out because if it’s hot dogs again, forget it.”

This conversation becomes all too frequent as we get older. It seems that as we age, we place more and more conditions on our social activities, our outings, and our fun. And while we may chalk this up to things like…

 “I’m just not willing to put up with certain things anymore.”
 “My standards are higher nowadays.”
 “I just like staying home these days.”

 …more often, the truth is that we have simply created so many conditions that we have sentenced ourselves to spending most of our free time on the couch, or in front of a TV, or at a gaming console.

Think back a few years, back to when you were younger. What you will likely find is that you had no such conditions – or at least not nearly as many. You participated mostly without conditions, expecting to have a great time every time. And in most cases, you did. If something wasn’t especially to your liking, so what? You simply ignored it and went on about your merrymaking.  But then something happens.  Slowly, often imperceptibly, we begin to rob ourselves with our ‘acceptable parameters’ for fun. We try to control everything we possibly can. In so doing we not only strip away all of the spontaneity and wonderful surprises that are so integral to life’s joys, we begin the all too common transition into the life that pop singer John Mellencamp described in his hit song, Jack and Diane…

 “Oh yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.”

 I can’t think of a much more sad or depressing belief than that. But here’s the thing, it absolutely does not have to be that way. Life doesn’t have to be that way.

 The real danger is that one day we wake up and realize that years, perhaps even decades have slipped by while we were collecting and deploying all our conditions – more and more conditions. Now all that time is gone. Those opportunities are gone. And what did we trade them for, really?

 I saw a video meme not long ago that showed two older couples who looked to be in their late sixties, perhaps early seventies, riding bicycles to a beachside cantina. There they met up with other friends and they were all dancing, having a margarita, laughing, and smiling. The caption read…

 “Ya know why some old people seem to have such a great time? Remember all that insane stuff you used to do at 3 a.m. when you were young? They figured out you can do that stuff at noon.”

 I’m certainly not suggesting that as we get older our priorities, tastes, energy levels, etc don’t change. Of course they do. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t adapt and roll on. Of course we can.

 Life at any age is as glorious, mysterious, surprising, wonderful, inspiring and joyous as we will allow it to be – as we will allow ourselves to be. The thrill of living that Mellencamp missed lies in the simple fact that we have already won the cosmic lottery. Against staggering and incalculable odds, we were born. We’re alive. We’ve received the greatest gift imaginable – astounding really, if you stop to consider it.

 So, throw the conditions on the scrap heap where they belong and say ‘YES’ to your life.

 Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Being alive IS the special occasion.

Go do some happy.

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