As I get older, the things that are important to me are becoming crystal clear, and the things are aren’t…well, they can just go screw themselves. I see the clock of my life ticking away, and I realize that I simply don’t have time for bullshit anymore.
And so I’m letting go of the things that bring me down. I will no longer dwell in the past, obsesses over the future, or give any more fucks about what anyone else thinks about me or my life.
What I want is to be happy. I want to surround myself with people and things that bring me joy. Each year, I find myself saying goodbye to more of the nonsense that has cluttered my life. “No” has become easier and easier to say. I love how it rolls off my tongue. I love how, ironically, it no longer carries a negative connotation — saying no to one thing means saying yes to something else. Banishing the darkness means letting it in the light.
My list of nos gets longer each day, but here are the star players, my top IDGAFs that have emerged in the last few years:
1. Caring whether my kid is a star student
I want my kids to be happy and successful. But I’m no longer going to take over their science fair projects. I’m done nagging them to do their homework. Their success is not a reflection of mine. I want them to do well because they want to, for their motivation to come from within.
2. Worrying about how I look in a bathing suit
I’m almost 40. This cellulite ain’t going nowhere. Neither is this squishy paunch. And you know what? There’s a beauty to be found within me. No matter my size, what I radiate out is how people will see me. So fuck it. I’m wearing a bikini this summer.
3. Volunteering for every position on the PTA
I love that I have a flexible schedule and can volunteer at my kids’ schools. But seriously? The PTA is not my life. When my kids are in school, that’s time for work, and for me. So I’ll show up when I can, but nope, the PTA is not my full-time job.
4. Holding on to dysfunctional friendships
Since the political election season began, I have “unfriended,” blocked, and unfollowed more people than I expected to on Facebook. And if I haven’t called or texted you in a while? Maybe the time of our friendship is over. It’s OK. Let’s just agree that we get to choose who we want to be surrounded with, and that’s totally rad.
5. Being afraid of speaking out about my political beliefs
You can disagree with me all you want. I’ll listen to your beliefs. But I’m pretty much going to think what I think. And listen up: I’m going to open my mouth and say something if someone is being homophobic, sexist, or simply lacks compassion for the human race. Why the hell shouldn’t I stand up for what I believe in?
6. Being embarrassed about letting my freak fly
I’m a little strange around the edges. Maybe we all are. But I’m not going to cover it up anymore. Don’t like my chipped blue toenail paint, my wall full of feminist poetry, my off -color humor, or my F-bombs? See ya later then.
7. Apologizing (#sorrynotsorry)
How many times do you apologize during the day? No, not for things that are worth apologizing for, but for the stupid stuff — the stuff that you really don’t need to be sorry about. I dare you to take note, to count the the number of times you say sorry. I did, and I was appalled. Try taking “sorry” out of the equation. You’ll start kicking some serious ass.
8. Having an immaculate house
I live with three males. They do their part (sort of), but frankly, I’m tired of either asking them to do stuff or cleaning up after them. So my house is just what it is. Clean enough. Lived in. Homey. Perfection is overrated.
I was never that into fashion, but when I was younger, I’d do what I could to squeeze into a pair of skinny jeans, a too-tight top that accentuated just the right curves. Now? It’s all about comfort. I don’t care if it looks killer hot on me; I’m not wearing it unless I can breathe in it and/or stand up after a meal.
10. High school
I skipped my 20-year high school reunion. None of my friends were going, and I realized I just don’t care anymore whether the most popular girl in the school is as miserable as I expect her to be. If she is, I’m sorry (#notsorry). If she isn’t, great. High school was lifetimes ago. I’m not invested in it the way I was even a mere few years ago.
I’m an anxious person. I own that. I’m working on it. But when I see fear for what it is, I try to look it right in its fat, ugly face. Because you know what, fear? Screw you. I don’t have time for your second-guessing, your life ruining shenanigans. I don’t want to spend one more second of my life weighed down by fear. I deserve better than that.
12. Being afraid to ask for help
When I first started a family, I thought asking for help was a sign of weakness. Little did I know, I would need all the help I could get raising a couple of babies and toddlers. Parenting is still hard as hell — though in different ways — and now I sure do ask for help when I need it. I see it as a strength now, an ability to speak my needs and allow them to be met.
13. Dwelling on the past
I used to spend a lot of time wondering how my childhood shaped me, and wishing, in some ways, that things had been different. I think that’s an important place to inhabit for a while, but it’s not a place to be stuck in for too long. Shit happened, it sucked, time to move on with my life.
14. Toxic people
Sometimes you can change people, maybe. But the majority of toxic people, especially the most damaged ones, often need help from someone or something else. So if there are people in your life — even family or close friends — who bring you down, criticize you, guilt you, hurt you, or worse, you can say “no” to them too. You have to. It’s probably the toughest thing of all, but it’s best for everyone involved.
Letting go isn’t always painless. It doesn’t always feel nice or safe. But the older I get, the easier it becomes to cast off some of the crap that used to weigh me down. And nope, it’s not selfish to do so. Caring for yourself is the only way you can care for anyone else.
So, lose the cape, drop the shit, and make your own IDGAF list. Start checking the items off it now. Believe me — it will feel so damn good.