The power of no

You might have noticed that this summer has been slightly different for me, but that comes after five years of constant motion. People keep saying they can't keep up with me and asking when I'm going to slow down. Well, that question has been answered this summer.

Jason, who has a profound meaning in my life and seems to know how to motivate me, somehow got me to appreciate how having what I might call a lazy summer would give us more time for us and what we enjoy - strange road trips.

So, to make this work, it became apparent that my schedule would need to be limited. Thus, new words came out of my mouth: Starting in June, when people called asking for my involvement in new projects, speaking engagements or meetings, they heard me say, "Sorry, I'm not making any more appointments until September." They then would say, "Well, when in September can we meet?" And I'd reply, "No, sorry, I'm not even scheduling until September; if you're still interested in my involvement, call me back then and make an appointment." Saying "no" was really liberating and empowering.

Thanks to that, Jason and I have had two road trips: Pigeon Forge, Tenn. (Dollywood), and Asheville, N.C., to see Biltmore. Then we did a drive along the Oregon and California coasts, from Portland to San Francisco, and spent three days in San Fran to meet up with friends. All thanks to the power of that word "no."

In the next couple of weeks, I'm taking another trip that I've wanted to do for several years but always put off since there were more important things to do: traveling to upstate New York to visit the gravesite of Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, simply to place flowers on this gay American hero's grave. It's time for a gay activist to pay homage to him in person.

Coming this fall, I'll be back in action, with a big BUT; I've learned something new so don't be surprised if I run off and do something with what I just didn't see I could have before: time. That all said, there are about six projects already on my agenda … so, let's see how successful I am at this new empowerment.

Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation's most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. His recently published memoir, "And Then I Danced," is available on, Barnes & Noble or at your favorite bookseller.

Connect with us