Last week I met with a lovely woman with whom I’ve worked on art exhibitions for the past couple of years. She organizes a group in another town, which meets now and then and puts on shows under the art group platform. It’s an involvement that’s weighed heavily on me for some time—the time it requires of me as a good participant, the travel (although not far, still), and the energy.

When I outlined my 2012 plans in December, this was one of the projects I was on the fence about—should I continue my participation, or drop out? I’m not someone who likes to drop out of things, so it was a tough call. Like most women, I have a hard time turning down projects and saying no to possible opportunities. This was a tough call for me, and who knows—I might be making a mistake. What if I was missing a big chance to exhibit my work, or network?

Yet time is, unfortunately, finite—and I had a lot of upcoming projects I  wanted to devote energy to. It was either this or something else.

In the end, I decided to say no to future projects with the group. While I love the organizer, the other participants and the overall ideas, I simply wasn’t excited enough to justify the time and energy and travel required to do justice to the group…and when I’m not excited about something, I know I need to reconsider it.

The ability to say no, or to quit a project is important. The timing is also important. I think it was vital that I quit while in good standing…it keeps the relationship on good terms, and the organizer appreciated that I was honest about not being able to give the group the kind of time and energy she would want before we got in the middle of a project.

There’s one project very important project that’s taking the place of this group. I’m now on the Advisory Board for a soon-to-open cultural center for the international community here in Amsterdam, and I’m very excited (see, excited!!) to be part of something so needed, in the city where I live. And after talking to this woman, we realized this new cultural center is a perfect match for many of her projects. So we’ll still work together on things, but in a different capacity.

Sometimes saying no is easy. Most of the time it’s hard. But very often, it’s just necessary, and the more you do it, the healthier you’ll feel. And sometimes, miraculously, the decision turns out to mean even better things on the horizon.

Here’s to all the yeses and nos for this week! Happy Monday!