Just Say Yes

The Inspiration

Recently I had the chance where I could try something that had a good probability of failure but I knew was the right thing to do. I tried and failed probably as hard as I could have. Although I didn’t get the result I was looking for, I don’t regret doing it in the slightest because it was what I knew was right. I feel that I truly embraced one of my favorite quotes, “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done” (Lucille Ball), and it feels great.

I have been watching Yes Theory for a little while now, where the group pushes themselves to live in the moment, does what makes them happy, and seeks discomfort. I always admired their “just say yes” attitude, but for at least the summer of 2019 I’m going to embrace it and not worry about what might go wrong. I’m grateful that I have a group of friends who already live in this mindset and who are willing to join me along the way. Yes Theory has much more flexibility in their schedule and budget, so the experiences that I have chosen are limited by what is realistic for me. That being said, I’m lucky to have the work-life balance that I do at MITRE and to have the financial resources to be able to do each item on this list, because I know that many out there have had the same idea as me and their list of what is realistic is more limited than mine.

I’ve always tried to figure out what defines Nick Merlino by determining the things that I like to do. I realized recently that it’s not doing certain things that I want to define me, but it’s being able to make the best of anything. I’ve already done many things in my life that initially made me uncomfortable due to their high-risk or due to doubting myself, but those things were some of the best I’ve ever done. I’ve backpacked across Europe, lived with and hosted a foreign exchange student, danced like no one was watching, went skinny dipping, went skydiving, told someone that I could see myself with them forever, joined a fraternity, killed the karaoke stage, went scuba diving, went cliff jumping, bought a Tesla, and so much more.

The Idea

I’ve been saving up for something for a while now, but I’ve chosen to instead spend that money on experiences that will help me discover more about what I love to do and who I am. I’m going to go on adventures, do activities, play games, be productive, learn new skills, and seek discomfort. Some experiences need to be scheduled, some are going to be spontaneous. Some I’ve already done, some are completely new. All are federally legal, because my long-term employment is very important. Although I plan to stop actively perusing this list on September 3rd when I start graduate school, I want to continue to have this mindset.

I’m not going to publish videos of these events along the way. I’m not limiting myself to a certain number of experiences or telling myself that I have to do at least x things. I’m doing whatever I feel is right in the moment. If you’re looking to follow along with my adventures through your phone then you’re out of luck for the same reason that I don’t actively use social media anymore. I will not be doing any of these things so that others know, but I’m doing them for myself.

I encourage you to join me for any of these experiences, whether I know you or not, by letting me know which things I should reach out to you for by this quick checklist.

The List