The Year is Complete!

Please feel free to look back through the 365 days of 2010 sunrises, but "a year of getting up to meet the day" is officially completed. There will be no more new posts.


Thank you so much for visiting.
A one year blog project in which I share a process of transitions: emptying of the nest, reacquainting with my rusty intellect, plowing onward with my first full length book, entering the second half of my first century, and generally reflecting on life.

(see Dec. 29th, 2009 entry for further explanation)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

the psychology of no

sunrise:  7:10  2 degrees Fahrenheit

They call it child psychology - that thing where you tell a kid they can't do something in order to get them to do it.  The funny thing is, the same tactics work on grown people.  Myself, for example.

If anyone had suggested a year ago that I go outside to witness sunrise every day for a year, I'd have laughed.  Good luck trying to get me out for ONE sunrise, I might have said.  But something changed when I was faced with an injury and the diagnosis "unstable core," when they told me NO carrying heavy objects, NO tennis, NO strenuous activity.  On top of that, there was the voice in my own head saying NO - you're never really going to finish that book.  NO - you don't write every day, and you probably won't, so forget it.

Something woke up inside me.  I didn't like being told no.

So here I am, going to exercise classes, stretching every morning, walking out to see sunrise when it's 2 degrees outside, and so far in 2010, writing every day.

A similar thing happened to me at age 18.  Three days before leaving for my freshman year of college I fell water-skiing and tore ligaments in my knee.  I had been lukewarm about playing college sports, though I was expected on the field hockey team.  But when I was suddenly faced with NO to sports, I became a rabid athlete - physical therapy several times a week, swimming, weight training.  I got into better shape than I had ever been in before.

Perhaps I am childish.  I believe, though, that the stubborn inclination not to give in to outside controls is a strength.  Is it especially American?  We who won't be pushed around, who want the freedom to do and make of ourselves whatever we choose?  I'm not sure, but my guess is that it is a rather universal human trait, for humans with enough confidence, hope, and opportunity to cultivate their egos.  So -- never mind the children.  If you really want to get yourself to do something, just say no.  Then see what happens.


  1. It doesn't work on my kids (I think they were reading ahead back in the days when we optimistically took parenting classes or read kiddie psychology tomes), but it does work on me.

    If one of my kids says "Mom, don't worry about getting in shape, you are so nice and cuddly, not like all the anorexic trophy brides around here" I instantly develop more discipline about resisting the cookies and going on longer walks.

    Also, I think it is an espccially American trait. The ancestors who settled this beautiful country came because they would not take NO for an answer in the Old World.

    I'm really enjoying your blog (found it via Tigerhawk). Now, whatever you do, do NOT keep writing, do NOT keep getting up at dawn...:)

  2. Thanks for the pep talk!

    I'll have to thank Tigerhawk for creating connections for me --

  3. Actually it's called "reverse psychology" and it does seem to work on adults... sometimes.

    What a cool thing you're doing! Sunrise in the cold maine winter! Lord have mercy. I wouldn't do that for all the tea in china.

    Anyway, nice blog and nice photos.
    xoxoxo mc

  4. I wonder if ANYONE would ever want all the tea in China?

  5. Hello Heather -- I have sent you an email, but I'm not sure it will get to the right place. The address you offered above has an extra "s" in it, so I took a guess on the correct spelling. I would be very happy to get in contact with you -