We adopted a kitten recently. He was no more than four weeks old when my neighbor found him and asked if we could take him in. I said yes, of course, because I no longer know how to turn away abandoned animals.
A couple of days ago, I bought some snapdragons; I’ve been missing flowers now that frosts have pinched my gardens. I placed them on the dining table because Waffles, the kitten, has already mastered the kitchen counter. Still, Waffles found the bouquet without any trouble and I’ve spent the last two days saying, “No, Waffles. Waffles, no.”
I realized not long ago that three out of four of my closest female relatives died before the age of 60. The older I get, the less I want to say no. It is such a finite word without hope and possibilities. It is the period at the end of a sentence. It is a stop sign, a circle with a slash across it, an overused credit card, an expiration date on a gallon of milk. Of course, these things save us from ourselves.
But I am at an age where yes sounds melodic. I want to be incautious and do the things that are most impractical. I want to say yes to Waffles and let him rip up the snapdragons because it gives him joy. I want to quit my job and spend my days writing. I want to say yes to kindness and honesty and courage.
I want to love the world again and hear music in my head and see beauty in the mundane sidewalks crossed by strangers. I need to find that place in my imagination where life feels like a film— each image is tender and sweet, and the camera pans across the faces of friends, sees my husband play guitar, catches my siblings doing everyday things. I want this time.
I want to say yes to everything.