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Real Story: This Man Crossed The Ocean To Follow The Love Of His Life

Real Story: This Man Crossed The Ocean To Follow The Love Of His Life

The Mystery of Love

In this digital age, what would you do for true love? Would you allow yourself to embrace mystery, to become untethered and follow your heart?

I recently came across an article from a writer, David Vecsey, who wrote of finding love in the mysterious age, that time before texting, Facebook, e-mail, and easily traceable electronic footprints. It reminded me of how I met my wife in the middle of an epic two-year motorcycle journey. We didn’t spend our time visiting historic European cities and sights, we ventured into the wilds of America living off of love, cheap coffee and a small tent!

David related his love story for the New York Times which was subsequently published in Reader’s Digest. David retells the courtship of his future wife as a sort of mystery, a mystery that might have only been possible because it was done old school.

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He bemoans the fact that the instant access of our electric age can take the mystery out of life and lead to the missing of more ephemeral opportunities. In the summer of 1991, long before the rise of the Internet and social media, the mysteries of life took a hold of his heart and sent him on an epic journey of love.

Backpacking in Europe when what you really want is an ocean away

David and Joelle met while he was still in college and she was a recent college graduate spending time in her hometown of Peoria, Illinois where he went to school. They became inseparable, in spite of the fact they both knew the inseparability would soon be coming to an end – David would be leaving for a European backpacking trip and Joelle would be moving to Chicago. They agreed to write each other, but it was 1991 and “write” didn’t mean e-mail, texting, or Twitter, it meant actually writing a letter and waiting for it to make its away across an ocean. It was easy to get lost and forget things that seemed monumentally important in the moment. And to be honest, David thought Joelle would be “waiting” for him, so off he went confident she would be there when he returned.

David landed in Frankfurt, Germany and began a journey that would expose him to some of Europe’s finest landmarks – the Roman ruins in Trier, summer solstice in Strasburg, a rock concert in a soccer stadium, and the amazing artwork and churches of his ancestral hometown, Budapest. In spite of this wonder, he felt alone. He missed his girl.

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By the time he met his parents for a rendezvous in London, he was almost inconsolable. His soul was heavy and he sobbed his way through historic London. Nothing could requite the fair maiden he was missing. Oh the drama of young love!

Searching for his girl, but no answer

But hopeless and forlorn is no way to act, so thankfully his father ordered him to call his girl. So he did. But he had the wrong number, Joelle had already moved to Chicago. Her old roommate gave David her new number and he called, but nothing – no answer, no answering machine, no caller ID, no way to leave her a message. He wasn’t even sure if the number was correct. He kept trying but nothing. In 1991, people could get lost easily. Tracking someone down wasn’t as easy as Facebook or Google. And it aroused a great fear, what if she wasn’t waiting for him!

Still yearning, David and his parents drove to Wales but his heart was in Chicago. His parents had enough of what had become a blubbering mess, and sent him back to London to fly home and find his girl. Upon arriving at Heathrow airport though, he was horrified to learn that the round-trip ticket his parents had bought him could only be used out of Paris. Talk about the wind being knocked out of you! So he caught a boat to France in Dover and continued his journey.

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The boat was filled with fellow students and they beckoned him to stay in France for new adventures – running with the bulls in Pamplona, a pretty young lady invited him to the coast with her friends – he turned them all down, he had to find his girl.

A one-way ticket to the rest of his life

Once he arrived in Paris, David headed straight for Charles De Gaulle airport. But getting back to Chicago wouldn’t be as easy as he thought. The United Airlines ticket line was utter chaos, and he was told it might be three weeks before he could get a seat and depart. He was almost in tears. But as fate would have it, he left through the British Airways wing to see ticket agents waiting on no one. He approached and asked, “you wouldn’t happen to have a ticket to Chicago today would you?”

“We do,” they answered, “but the plane leaves in 20 minutes.”

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It was a one-way ticket that cost twice that of the round-trip United Airlines ticket his parents had already paid for, so he had to use the “for emergencies only” credit card his parents had given him. Soon he was airborne and headed for Chicago. Surely, this counted as an emergency!

In the Windy City he found his girl and four years later they were married. It was only then that he told his family how he had paid for his expensive one-way ticket home with the “emergency” card. And no, David did not explain what happened during those four years and why it took so long for them to marry! We’ll have to rely on our imaginations.

Life is a mystery. Embrace your adventures, do crazy things for love, follow your heart. You don’t get a do-over of life, make it special.

Click here to read the full story in David’s own words.

Featured photo credit: by Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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