For the past two-and-a-half years I've been a party to teaching my granddaughter the meaning of the word "no." I have also tried, with limited success, to teach my dog and my cat the same word. I spend the better part of my life teaching four children the same word. One would gauge, based on my experience, that I have a full understanding--and appreciation for--the word and that I would excel at applying it in my own life. But, as they say, "those who can do, and those who can't, teach."
I am learning again the meaning of no. No, I can't climb that. No, I can't carry that. No I can't do all of that. And, no, I can't/won't eat/drink that. I have never been accused of being too thin. Since young adulthood I have battled off an on with my weight--specifically how much I can eat based on how much I am burning.
Then I entered into that most revered status: perimenopause. All bets were off. I didn't necessarily gain a great deal of weight but my body reverted to its once familiar state: pregnancy. I lost what little there was of my waist altogether. I adjusted. I got rid of two-thirds of my clothes. I learned to live with elastic waistbands or pants that sat below the waist.
But then, the stroke and post-menopause and a broken hip. I'm fairly certain now that my body doesn't burn a single calorie for anything. I just got rid of two-thirds of what was left in my closet. I weigh more than I ever did at full term. I have to learn to say "no" again. No, thank you, no wine for me. No, thank you, no toast for me. No potatoes, no pasta, no, no, no. In truth, I do not like the word. No, I do not.