The Year of Yes

The Year of Yes

Spoiler alerts for: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han

Though I’ve heard of it, I haven’t read Shonda Rhimes’s book Year of Yes. For the purposes of this post, I read the blurb. Here’s the part that stuck out to me in particular:

With three hit shows on television and three children at home, Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say no when invitations arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No. And to an introvert like Shonda, who describes herself as ‘hugging the walls’ at social events and experiencing panic attacks before press interviews, there was a particular benefit to saying no: nothing new to fear. Then came Thanksgiving 2013, when Shonda’s sister Delorse muttered six little words at her: You never say yes to anything.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Why am I talking about this book, you may ask?

Today I spoke with someone who made me feel truly… boring. “What do you do for fun?” was asked, to which I responded blankly, “I hate fun.” Which is true in a sense–I hate traditional fun, which involves spontaneity and doing wild things just for the sake of it. My idea of fun is staying at home and reading a good book. A nose was wrinkled.

I know that the definition of fun is personal, but the truth is that sometimes my definition does fit the average mold. Sometimes I do want to do the wild thing but I don’t even let myself entertain the idea, because…. well, just because I’ve never done it before.

My mood sank the longer we spoke. It became a vicious cycle in which I retreated further and further into myself in the face of someone who clearly thought I wasdull.

In fact, I was reminded of the first few chapters of Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, in which Sophie plods along, working at her father’s hat shop. When pushed to go out to celebrate May Day, she is afraid of the loud noise and vitality of the large crowd. A man tries to flirt with her, which she finds confounding.

Throughout the course of the novel, Sophie evolves like a good character should, but not entirely through her own volition. A witch curses her into becoming an old lady, which turns out to be a freeing experience, as it enables her to find her backbone and speak her mind.

While we’re going with book analogies, that’s kind of why I’m jealous of Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. She had to do… absolutely no work for the fake relationship to get started. And she lived her happily ever after.

Unfortunately, there are no witches to turn me into an old lady, nor little sisters to send out my nonexistent love letters, but more importantly, I’m not a character in a story. I can’t change my external circumstances like God or an author, but I can change myself.

So here it is. The Year of Yes, inspired by Shonda Rhimes because I remembered that this was a book she wrote, though I haven’t read it. I can’t say I know exactly what the year will entail, but that’s part of being spontaneous, right? All I know is that I’ll write an update every month for a year. The details will be ironed out later.

To living a life that we are proud of.

x B

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