Let’s all be honest with each other: There is a point at which you start living your life for yourself simply because the looming specter of death is galloping on your heels like a vengeful headless horseman. You look around at discarded ambitions scattered about your feet like cast-off children and realize it’s now or never. At 40, never seems a little closer than it used to.
It isn’t like I decided to not give a fuck anymore. You’re probably thinking one day I woke up, sprang out of bed and shouted, “I’m free! Self-consciousness and societal norms be gone!” Nope. This was kind of a gradual slide into the abyss of apathy. But I like it down here. It allows me to get messy and creative and brave without ever sparing a second for fear of failure. Here, in no particular order, are just a few of the things I no longer give a fuck about:
Does my braless state offend you? Are you insulted that I am still wearing fashion that was hip three springs ago? Good. Stare away at that blossoming yellow stain on my white shirt and speculate on what exactly it is. I am typically draped in a child anyway, one who is like a living faux fur that occasionally screams my name and makes attempts at suicide by throwing itself toward the pavement. I will not apologize for pulling through the carpool lane at 3 p.m. in the same pajamas I wore at drop-off. I‘m gonna wear these pajamas like a merit badge. I work from home. Eat that, motherfucker.
2. Basic Hygiene
Our ideas of basic hygiene might not be the same. My method is to assess if I can actually remember when I last took a shower. If I can’t, it’s probably time to soap-up. Don’t get me wrong—I put my deodorant on every day the same as anybody else. But shimmering waves of perfectly highlighted, clean tresses that swing off my shoulders? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Did you know that claw hair clips also double as great paper clips in a pinch? And please know, if I show up for your function with some lip gloss and mascara on, I really, really like you.
When you are focused on becoming the best version of yourself you can be before you kick the bucket, you tend to forgive others who might be in different places in their journey. I don’t see that embarrassment that floods your cheeks when you talk about the job you’ve had for the last decade as a barista or the way you might shuffle your feet and change the subject when the PTA group starts talking about healthy lunches and you can’t stop thinking about that bag of chips you toss into your kid’s lunch bag every day. You’re busy; I’m busy. We’re all doing our best here. I’m sure you have a good reason for the things you choose to invest your time and energy in. I do, too. Judging your choices isn’t one of them.
I used to love going dancing, shimmering around in skirts that barely skimmed my butt cheeks and losing myself in the pounding beat of a trendy club. It was a heady game to impress the hell out of perfect strangers by downing tumblers of whiskey like a champ. Now, my idea of nightlife is brewing the biggest mug of fragrant tea I can find and watching the next episode of Outlander. And I am perfectly okay with that. These days, when I find myself in crowded clubs being given the once over by the newly divorced dating scene, I spend way too much time thinking about being alone in my bed—my extraordinarily soft, welcoming bed. Fuck these people. I want to go home.
5. Being Nice
Look, I’m not going to go out of my way to be a complete bitch, but I’m not interested in sugar coating life so you can find me a pleasant, agreeable person. I value honesty, and I have made every effort to surround myself with people who also don’t give a fuck. If it needs to be said, let’s say it. In the long run, I don’t do you any favors by softening the blow. Everybody screws up. We’re all delightful, messy works in progress. Let’s stop giving a fuck about perfection and expectations that other people hold for us and really focus on what not giving a fuck can enable us to do for ourselves.
Forty. It seems like a momentous milestone, a mile marker that indicates a halfway point of sorts. You have as much time behind you as you have before you, unfurling like a ribbon of road in either direction. If you are like me, that pressing urgency to make the most of it is the utmost vital, pulsing, important thing in your life. Feed it, nurture it, and continue giving zero fucks about anything that doesn’t make the second half of your journey worthwhile.