Arlyce asked for two things. One: To celebrate on the actual day. Two: Cards.
Arlyce was clear. Her birthday falls four days before Christmas. For decades it has been gifts “for your birthday and Christmas” wrapped in Santa paper. She understood that the birth of Jesus trumped her special day. But still.
After too many times of feeling like a footnote to Jingle Bells, Arlyce marks this milestone differently. For her 90th Arlyce asked for what she wanted.
I admire Arlyce. She zips around in her scooter on her daily walks with her dog Mojo. She lives in an elegantly appointed apartment. She dresses with style for every occasion. When she was in her eighties she had the audacity to begin dating a younger man. (He was 79.)
Arlyce reminds me of the importance of asking. I have always been impressed by those who can ask with ease for what they want. More than one substitution of something on the menu. My most personal data. A discount on anything from legal fees to Lysol.
Asking may be an aptitude, or perhaps it is a skill to be learned. If you realize it gets you things in life, see how other people do it, and then practice, no doubt it could be the latter.
Old stories that stop me from asking include “I don’t want to be a bother,” “They’ll think I’m picky/cheap/lazy,” and “I don’t really need it.” In short, what Brene Brown calls the shame thoughts of unworthiness, swinging between “Who do I think I am? “ and, “I’m not worthy.”
Which brings me for the one thing I don’t need to ask for: permission to ask. While asking might evoke the judgment of others, what other people think of me for asking is none of my business.
Asking requires no permission. Asking creates no obligation. The answer to an ask can always be no.
To ask is my right. To say no is theirs.
I already blew out the candles on my December birthday cake. But thanks to the inspiration of Arlyce, I won’t have to wait until my 90th to ask for more sour cream, more feedback, less email, and anything else that is my heart’s desire.
What will you give yourself permission for?
Does fear of judgment stop you from asking for what you want?
What are you willing to ask for?