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I have the habit of either whining about no one asking me to do things and, on the other hand, making all kinds of excuses why I can’t do something when someone does ask.

I’ve been like this for just the longest time. I have faked flu symptoms to avoid taking a bus trip to Italy with strangers — which I had already paid for, mind you — back in the 60s when I lived in Germany. I have turned down dinner invites and movie dates and concerts and who knows what else. I always have a good reason, or so it sounds to me. But at the heart of it is my somewhat selfish introverted self getting the upper hand and shouting down that other extroverted side of me by answering, “No, sorry, I can’t do that tonight.” Then that shy one just crawls into her little cave and there she stays. The cave, in this instance, is my very lovely apartment where I sit with a glass of wine and whatever I have recorded on the TV.

But I am tired of it. I am tired of back-pedalling my way out of a perfectly good evenings with friends or movies or dinners or concerts. So I’m moving towards “yes” a lot more often and as fast as my introverted self allows me. This summer I have made great advancements. I’ve been doing things I have not done since I landed in Oh Canada and probably even before that. I’ve said yes to spending money. Why not, eh? Not having money has been my back-pocket excuse for so many things but not any more. I’ve earmarked all the money in my little chest of cat-sitting profits as play-play-play money. I won’t spend it on cat food or groceries or the electric bill. No siree! That money is taking me to see plays at Stratford and down to Shaw, out to dinner with neighbourhood friends and even a concert or two. It’s called living, eh?

So, today, in the shower room, after a strenuous but really enjoyable aquafit class, when Sue yelled out, “Ann, are you here? Do you want to go see Wonderwoman with me and the boys today.” I hesitated only long enough to ask, “What time?” When she answered, “1:50” I figured out I’d get home in time to still cook up some chicken and roast vegetables before Renaldo showed up for dinner at 6. “Sure. I’ll be there,” I answered before my Capricorn, practical shy self could make excuses.

I’m not saying that there won’t be times in the future when I fall back on my life-time default of “no,” but for every “yes” I’m giving myself the opportunity to have a little fun — or not — it doesn’t matter. What matters is the “YES” of it.