Thanks, But No Thanks

You know when you’re at brunch and the waiter talks of their artisan jam?

“It’s made from hand-picked organic cherries in Michigan, this tiny little farm off 96, and we infuse it with fresh mint from our herb wall over there and really, you’re not going to believe it. It’s divine. Trust me. Would you like some?” he’ll say.

But you’ve never been one for jelly, not really.

Oh, man, that does sound awesome! No thanks, though.

“Really, you’ve gotta try it on the sourdough.”

That’s OK. But thank you.

That’s how it’s done.

Your friend will order it, and so the waiter will smile as he brings it to the table, carrying in both hands his prized elixir in a tiny ball jar, and now it is two against one.

“Oh my gosh. Really, it’s amazing. You don’t want a taste? Here, just a bit,” she’ll say.

No, thanks. I don’t like jam.

“But this isn’t jam. It’s incredible. You’re totally missing out here.”

That’s OK, I’m good.

That’s how it’s done, too.

Years later, you’ll meet for brunch again. You’ll slide into the sticky syrup booth and a friend will tell you of her new job, her new baby, her new husband. She’ll tell you her secrets – the workout regimen she’s mastered, the skincare routine she swears by, the daycare she found, the promotion she landed. It all sounds good, sounds so unlike what you’ve ordered.

It sounds better than what you’d ordered, better than what you’d planned.

Maybe you’d like jam if you gave it another try?

Really? Fresh mint from the herb wall? you’ll ask.

You might forget for a moment that what’s great for others isn’t good for you, that you’ve never been one for cherry jam.

You might watch as the waiter brings it to the table, carrying in both hands his prized elixir in a tiny ball jar, and now it is one against one.

You can try it, if you’d like.

Oh, man, that does sound awesome!

The offer, the jam, the life.

No thanks, though.

Or you can leave it on the table.

You know what?

The offer, the jam, the life.

I’m good with what I’ve got.

That’s how it’s done.

  • Nice analogy. I’ve been realising more and more lately how fantastic my life is. It wouldn’t suit a lot of people, but it works well for me.
    Most of it comes down to simply acknowledging what makes me happy and doing that, not aiming for other people’s happy, because it fits the norm better.

  • Yes please to this. Perfectly and politely said (per usual). Curiosity and contentment can coexist.

  • Thank you for the reminder that we are not one-size fits all. And while I realize it is a metaphor, I don’t like jam, or jelly, or preserves or most fruit either. People really give me a hard time about this. “It’s sweet, You’ll like it.” No thank you, indeed.

  • wow. this was exactly what i needed. at exactly the right time. smack dab in the middle of the perfect day.

    well, not so perfect, but you get the idea.

    thank you. xxoo

  • because saying no to one thing means saying yes to another (and sometimes that “thing” you’re saying yes to… is YOURSELF!). just listened to your interview with tiffany han and love, love, loved it. thank you for sharing!

  • I think I’m in a place where I have no trouble saying no, but I’m totally okay with saying these things to Forrest, who at 3.5 has little idea yet what he likes until he tries it. Oddly enough, he doesn’t like cherries. = )

  • Beautifully done Erin. As always, finding the words to describe a woman’s path in life and expressing the reality of what it means to carve one’s own way. Thank you for speaking my truth.

  • Hi Erin,

    I read your blog every night so I can go to sleep with a peaceful mind. I found your blog about a year ago and it has helped me so much trough my depression by being able to see that others are fragile too and we all are just trying to be at peace with ourselves. This post really resonated with me because I always worry about others opinions of me and how I spend my spare time after being a full time mom of two boys. I know now that my happiness is just is mine and not anyone else’s.
    Thank you always.

    • Oh Alex, yes! I love hearing this little space is encouraging you, as it has been so encouraging for me. Thank you for taking the time to let me know, and big hugs to those sweet boys. :)

  • Your blog is fabulous, and your writing style is really good. No idea how I found this blog, but I’m glad I did.

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