Sometimes its Good to Say ‘No’

Personal Story:

One of my sisters used to think I was mean. She used to tell me I was too hard on people and that I was too mean to one of my brothers.

I used to tell her she had a “Mother Theresa” complex and needs to stop trying to save everyone.  She disagreed.

Ten years later she is finally gets it.

My sister and I are complete opposites. She’s loud, hot-tempered, intimidating, but funny, extremely nurturing, and entirely too trusting. I’m quiet, determined, I’m “the nice one”, but I trust no-one, and I say no with a smile on my face.

I’m the kind of person who will move on from someone if they betray me in some way just one time. This took strength, because I used to keep people in my life that never had my best interests in mind. So maybe it hardened me some. My sister is the kind of person who will trust you and forgive you multiple times until the damage is severe. Sometimes she’ll even forgive after that.

We’ve had conversations about this over the years, how our behaviors differ from each other. I recently told her that even though it’s great to help others, she needs to learn to take care of herself first and there is nothing wrong with that (the saying ‘you can’t give from an empty cup’ comes to mind). There are some people in the world who you just can’t help because they will ALWAYS need it. They will rob you of your resources, energy, time, and patience and then blame you when things don’t go their way.

I don’t mind helping people, even when it comes to giving money. I just have rules that I go about before I do those things. For example, I never give anyone money that I might need later on; if I’m going to need it, I don’t have to lend out. I’m picky about who I give money to as well; my younger sibling who works and just might be falling behind this month, sure. My unemployed adult cousin who I don’t speak to very often and always seems to find money to support their bad habits, probably not. I’ll offer time, help, and advice, or just flat out say no before I take on the financial obligations of another adult.

So its not that I’m mean or just like saying ‘no’ for the sake of it, I’m just making sure that I can take care of my own obligations before I’m giving my last to someone else. Especially to someone who cannot reciprocate the favor if the shoe was on the other foot and I was in a bind. It may sound crazy to some, but I will say that it has saved me a lot of time, money, and awkward situations with people.

Three Signs In Male Fists Saying No, No and No Isolated on a White Background.



Why its Time to Retire… A Letter to my Future Self.

March 13th marked the 19 year anniversary of when I joined the military. Just the paperwork portion of it, I didn’t actually go to basic training until a few months later. Every year on that anniversary I usually post a picture on Facebook or something and every year someone whom I’ve served with will jump in and encourage me to stay in longer.

I’m so sick of that.

Of course it happened again this year, and I think that no one believes me because I’ve been saying I wanted to get out for years and I kept re-enlisting. Once I hit the 14 year mark, I knew that I would stay long enough just to get my retirement. I figured if I completed 20 years, I can leave with no regrets because I did enough to finish and if I stayed in any longer than that it would be purely because I wanted to.

But I know me. I know that I will second guess myself half to death and end up staying out of fear (fear of what? I have no clue) and re-enlist again and ending up miserable. So I’m going to write a letter to my future self to remind me of this feeling I’m having right now and I’m going to put a reminder in my phone to check it also.

Dear Pat,

Enough is enough. Twenty years of your life is enough. You’ve been saying for years that you are tired of doing this, and you mean it. You have nothing left to give. The only way I can justify staying is if you’ve found another job that is relevant to your civilian career (which I doubt you’ll do in less than a year). Your back hurts, your knees are getting worse, you never really liked doing push-ups, you HATE running, and the food is terrible. Don’t be afraid to let go, don’t be afraid of the unknown. You have other things you want to do with your life so its time to move on.  You’d be doing a disservice to anyone you’d have to lead or mentor because you know your heart isn’t in it (and lets be real, you don’t even like half the people you work with anyway). You want your weekends back. You want to be able to plan a trip that’s not around their schedule. You actually want to travel to cool places, not middle-of-nowhere Arkansas. You can make extra money doing other things that won’t have you end up in the hospital because you threw your back out again, or because your asthma started acting up. You shouldn’t feel this way about your job. Don’t let anyone else convince you that you need to stay because they chose to stay. There was a time when you loved it, but I think that time has passed and now your heart is pulling your towards something else. If you decide to stay longer than planned stay because you want tostay because you’re happy, not because you feel like you don’t have any other options.  CREATE other options.

Love, Pat

Time to create some options…


This Degree Better Be Worth It

I never thought I would ever say this, but I am completely annoyed with school. Its not that the work is hard, its just very time consuming and I don’t want to do it.

I sound so childish right now, I know.

I actually enjoy being in school and I always have, it was just easier to deal with when I didn’t have a full time job, the military, a husband, and a mortgage to worry about. I also hate homework and tests. I guess that is why I enjoy reading: I can enjoy the content, learn something new, and not be judged about it later. I also do not mind having discussions about it and getting other’s points of view. But the homework…hard pass.

I’m glad that this class is almost over and that means just one more class to go. Most of my classmates will be done after this course and I can’t help but to feel some jealousy and a bit of regret for not being ambitious enough to take two classes at a time. I feel like I am squeezing in time to do the work for one class. I don’t know where I would get more time to take two.

Honestly, I feel that I get better grades than those who take multiple classes. I’ve noticed that some people who take multiple classes tend to get B’s and C’s on average and I (spoiler: nerd alert) have been maintaining a 4.0 GPA so far. I don’t want to mess up the streak. Of course there are other factors that could contribute to people not getting A’s, but that is just something I picked up on since I’ve started school.

I know a few people who’ve completed their Master’s programs and have vowed to stay a way from school for a while. I know I’m going to SAY the same thing but I’m a liar that way. I KNOW I will end up in someone’s classroom sooner or later.

I think I like to torture myself this way.