NO-A-TI-TIS (noun). Noatitis is the inability to decline those lovely folks who ask ‘one’ to volunteer time and treasure for worthy causes. The malady is characterized by a severe swelling of the throat when trying to utter the word ‘no’ to a righteous cause even though one should refuse.
I am afflicted with Noatitis, which explains why I am writing this post at an ungodly hour too late to be ‘night’ too early for the sun to rise, in the hazy consciousness when one’s ‘to do’ list makes sleep impossible.
There is no foundation looking to cure this malady – in fact nonprofits likely encourage those with the means to spread it within their milieu lest 501(C)(3)s have to beg for more bucks to pay for the labor that they once enjoyed freely. And, frankly, as I am blessed to have the means that allow me the time to do what I think is good in the world in addition to ‘work’, work. A sleepless night or two is a small price to pay to satisfy my belief that even without a cape or tiara that I am doing my bit to help save the world.
However, if I were able to talk to my younger self I would teach her to say ‘no’ more often and more confidently. Young Amy should’ve said ‘no’ to so many people and ‘opportunities’. Why was I so willing to accept as requirements the list of ‘shoulds’ others assured me were the hurdles to happiness that I must go through? At least now when I say ‘yes’ when I should say ‘no’ it is from a place of confidence – I’m pretty good at charity work – not from a place of trying to please others so that I can figure out who I am – and why that woman is lacking in something essential.
So, if you’re young, yes try to fight the ills that plague our world. Fight terrorism with random smiles and acts of kindness toward strangers. Don’t get too caught up in the consumer culture that instructs that we are nothing without a lot of everything – get some nice stuff but give a few dollars to a charity you find
worthwhile. Give yourself time to sit and let your mind wander – it’s not a waste of time, it is essential for the growth of your soul.
And, if it doesn’t feel right, no matter how essential others say the ‘it’ in question is… just say ‘no’. Because even if it turns out that you should’ve jumped through that hoop, being true to yourself makes being wrong a lot easier – and you’ll be a lot less regretful and bitter when you’re in your middle years. And maybe then, you’ll be able to say ‘no’ to that worthwhile fundraiser on which you’re asked to work.