The year of the yes

I think that anyone who read Emma’s Friend that made me me post was touched by it. It was a post full of love, and it was clear that Emma had been hit very very hard by Lou’s death. So it is so inspiring to read how Emma is choosing to live her life differently, in honour, and because of Lou. This post made me realise that I need to say yes more, to do more, to live life to the full as much as possible, and I’m grateful to you, Emma, for sharing this with us. Thank you. 

Back in May I shared my Friend that made me me post with you all. It wasn’t about any old friend. It was about someone incredible. Someone that I have known all of my whole life. Someone that was cruelly taken from us at the beginning of this year.

The support that I received from the AOW community was truly unbelievable. I cannot possibly find the words to describe how comforting it was for me to know that you all had a glimpse of the beautiful and inspirational person that Lou was, even though you didn’t know her. I know that it has been of comfort to others as well.

At the end of that post I made a promise to you all. I promised that I would spend every single day trying to make Lou proud. That I would do everything with twice the enthusiasm and double the smiles. That Lou would continue to be my inspiration even though she can’t be here in person anymore.

I thought now might be a good time to give you an update on that…

I would be lying if I said that the pain of losing Lou isn’t still bitterly raw. I think about her every day and would do anything to still have her here with me. I know that so many others would too. But having the reality of our own mortality brought home in the most heartbreaking way can have a profound effect.

Quite quickly after Lou’s accident my friend Christina spawned the fantastic idea of the ‘year of the yes’.

Year of the yes is about making the most out of life – visiting new places, trying new things and, most importantly of all, spending as much time with our loved ones as possible.

Initially, and perhaps predictably, my ‘yes’ activities mainly encompassed social events. Partying. Which has, on occasion, lead to drinking more than the recommended weekend-ly intake of wine. And jagerbombs.

This is pretty usual behaviour for a 27 year old and I have loved every second that I have spent with my friends this year. Even though Lou’s absence has been felt keenly and frequently, they have been my greatest support. But there is an obvious problem with drinking through grief. Alcohol is a mood enhancer. It can make you high when things are good, or hit rock bottom when things aren’t going so well.

You can become someone that you don’t like through the influence of alcohol. Bitter, cruel, pained. ‘That girl’ crying in the toilets. Or sprouting angry retorts to well-meaning friends.

All expected, I suppose, and perhaps accepted for a certain period of time. I know that time will heal and pacify this. I know that it perhaps isn’t as frequent or as obvious as I imagine it to be. I know that there will come a time when my smile won’t be so strained, that my eyes won’t tell a different story. I will never, ever forget but I will deal with it better, I know that. Even though it is only just over six months on I believe that I already doing it, little by little.

But as I start to emerge on the other side I am quickly reminded that there is much more to life. That we all need to push ourselves to do more than just survive.

The ‘Year of the yes’ has become about much more than just socialising and partying. It is also about trying new things. Pushing comfort zones. Having a more positive outlook. Being a glass half full kind of girl, rather than a glass half empty. It is having a sense of pride and achievement.

It is about doing a new course that might help to make your dreams happen. Speaking out for what you believe in. Trying your hand at things that you might not so good at, pushing your limits.

For me it is about being a good friend, daughter, sister, employee, writer, blogger, and whatever else I might be defined by. It is about being the best person that I can be.

It is about doing it for Lou. But it is also about doing it for myself.

So, I have signed myself up to a course to improve my writing skills. I have been on a leadership course through work that has encouraged me to dream bigger.

And perhaps the biggest challenge of all (for me), I am running a triathlon with Christina in Lou’s memory. It’s not until next year, so there will be lots of training involved but I am determined that no matter what, come 1st June 2014, I will be crossing that finish line with a smile on my face.

I am a glass half empty kind of girl by nature, but year of the yes is encouraging me to think more positively. To embrace challenges. To laugh again and to smile often.

And of course to continue the partying, but to continue it knowing that I am not doing it simply to feel better, that I am doing it to make great memories.

I hope that some of you will join me in the ‘yes’ revolution to think more positively, challenge yourself and to make great memories. It might be in honour of someone you have lost. It might be in honour of a dream you want to achieve. Or it might be in honour of being a better you.

Whatever your reason for saying ‘yes’ more often, in ‘the year of the yes’ all are welcomed with open arms….because that was Lou’s way and ‘the year of the yes’ is her legacy.

Categories: Family, Friends and Relationships, Life Experience, Wise Women
7 interesting thoughts on this


  1. ChirstyMac
    Posted August 29, 2013 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    What a bloody fantastic idea, and a truly awesome legacy!
    Being a bit glass half empty in nature myself I find this idea truly inspiring. You go girl! I’m sure Lou would be chuffed to bits.

    Have you crossed paths with Bex Olive-Dragonfly ( I feel you super ladies have a lot of go-getting life-affirming determination in common:) X

  2. Lee-Anne
    Posted August 29, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    What an amazing legacy for Lou x

  3. Posted August 29, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    This is lovely, a brilliant way to honour your friend xx

  4. Posted August 29, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I know first hand how amazing the AOW community support is and I’m so glad you’ve managed to make something positive out of such a terribly sad situation. This is a lovely way to remember Lou and I hope you continue to do so in such an optimistic way :)

    Good luck with the triathlon!! xx

  5. Posted August 29, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    This is a really lovely idea, I’m feeling inspired.

    A few times, instead of new year’s resolutions like giving stuff up, I’ve had positive resolutions, so a list of say three things I want to do / achieve in that year. Like going on a specific holiday, taking up a hobby, or doing a challenge (like your triathlon). Once it was learning to drive (and I did!). Usually has worked best when a group of friends set their goals together and then compared progress through the year!

    I haven’t actually done this for a couple of years, but was already thinking I would do it again for 2014, perhaps I can incorporate the year of yes into it somehow!

    Good luck with the rest of your year, and the triathlon, it’s a lovely tribute for your friend. I’ll try and keep updated on your blog.

  6. Posted August 29, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    This is such an incredible thing to do, I’m sure Lou would be very proud to know that you’re living your life to the full both for her memory and for yourself. I’m so glad you’re dealing with such a traumatic and devastating event in such a positive and life-affirming way, it’s absolutely inspirational.

    When I was at uni, my 1 year old cousin died of leukaemia. Ever since, I’ve been making myself do challenging things, as much as possible, just because I can. Because he never got the chance to grow up and do all those things, do anything, it just made me see that life is a gift that not everyone gets to keep for as long as they should, and it’s a shame to waste it. Your story reminded me of that promise I made to myself, sometimes it’s easy to forget how precious life is, and how you should live it as fully as you can. Thank you for coming back and writing this.

    KL xx

  7. Beth
    Posted August 30, 2013 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Emma, this is inspiring, good luck with your training and keep saying yes. Please keep us posted. Bx

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