Editor’s Note: What a difference a year makes, eh? Stay turned for the 2015 version tomorrow, which includes a sweet giveaway!
Welcome to my Fuck It list. Fourteen things I’m going to stop giving a fuck about in 2014. Because, as important as it is to push yourself to be a healthier, more compassionate person, that can be downright impossible. Refusing to give a fuck, however, isn’t just easy — it’s kind of awesome.
So fuck it. Here are the fourteen things I’m going to stop worrying about come 2014.
My friend Jason shared this most excellent post on Twitter the other night. I kind of totally loved it, and I thought you guys might, too. Sometimes it’s so much more freeing to give up the things that aren’t working for you instead of resolving to do new/better/different things.
I was actually thinking of this concept the other day, after I checked out a hangout with Gabrielle Bernstein and Danielle LaPorte. Danielle talked about how she didn’t like to do the same things every day because one of her core desired feelings is freedom (read her book The Fire Starter Sessions and The Desire Map and you’ll get it). Instead of adhering to the discipline of sticking with the same routines every single day, she adheres to “the discipline of devotion” to her desired state.
My point: Sometimes just hearing someone say that they don’t do things the way everyone else claims things need to be done just gives you so much…freedom. Like a big deep exhale of it. It immediately resounded with me, and led me to finally admit that, yeah, actually…while I crave a certain sort of structure, having to stick to the same routine each day makes me feel trapped. Claustrophobic. So eager to break out that I furiously rebel. It’s the very reason why I was notorious for skipping class (and work…sorry, former-boss-turned-now-forever-friend Keri!), and it’s the reason why I still choose to work at home (and on my own stuff) and only accept opportunities that will allow me to retain a sense of autonomy.
But you know what has been so ironic about my days since quitting the 9-5? I don’t take enough time to revel in the fact that I can go to bed when I want, wake up when I want, and take a break when I want. I have to constantly remind myself that I used to dream about being able to have a conversation with my friends on Twitter during working hours or tuck into writing in the middle of the day. I wasn’t lying when I told the ultra cool peeps at the SMBMSP gathering that I spoke to last December that I am a jerk boss…because I work primarily for myself now, I have a tendency to be more of a slave driver to myself than any other supervisor I could ever have. I mistake routine for structure and no breaks – i.e., no fun – for productivity.
Yet if I just let myself focus on the Big Things I want to accomplish (and The Why) – get in a meditation session so I feel centered and focused, knock out some weights or yoga so I feel strong and energized, ship a blog post so I feel fulfilled and jazzed, schedule a meeting so I feel connected to others and excited about the future – I get that shit done. I’ve said this before because it’s true: If I’m motivated and it’s stuff that I want to do, I can get more done in an afternoon that someone else can get done in a week. I’m the lazy teenager who can’t be bothered to clean up his room but will be up and out the door by 5:30 a.m. to hit the slopes.
So the goddamn point is this: In 2014, I’m going to stop giving a fuck about routines and time management schemes.
There are certain structures that make me feel better: I like waking up early. I’m a morning person, and I love the feeling that I’m up and writing while the world is still waking up. Putting on make-up every day and wearing an A-List outfit – even if it’s created around leggings so I can meditate or hit the yoga mat in the middle of the day – makes me feel good (lounging around in pajamas all day surprisingly doesn’t). At night I like to hang out in bed, reading or Dear Diary-ing for an hour before sleep time, and I like scheduling that sleep time so I can get in 8 hours (and wake up early!).
There are other structures that *don’t* make me feel better – I don’t like feeling that I have to check and respond to email right away in the morning: It makes me feel rushed and stressed, so I’m not doing it anymore. I don’t like forcing myself to work straight from 9-5 or 10-6 or whatever. In fact, my most productive days are when I can get into a block of writing in first thing, organize the rest of my projects throughout the morning, take the afternoon off, and then hit it hard in the evening.
So that’s what I’m doing today. Maybe tomorrow will be different. Maybe it won’t. And who really, but me, gives a fuck if it is?
OTHER THINGS I’M GOING TO STOP GIVING A FUCK ABOUT IN 2014:
2. The idea that I have to totally abstain from carbs and sugar in order to be healthy.
I *shouldn’t* have empty/starchy carbs and/or sugar. In fact, I’ve actually started to suspect that I’m becoming intolerant to gluten (trust me…I’m fighting it. BEER! What has happened to us? We used to be so close…), and an intolerance would actually explain a lot. I already know that my body immediately responds to sugar and carbs in a way that’s freaky and totally not awesome, so I’ve made a conscious choice this past year to mostly cut that shit out.
But I keep wanting to do the whole “I am TOTALLY off carbs and sugar! FOREVER! Get that cake AWAY FROM ME!” because I feel like I should, right…but then I know that telling myself that I can’t have those things, even on special occasions, only makes me tempted to go right out and get some, just to prove that I still can and that my brain isn’t the boss of me (yep…it’s pretty entertaining in Amber-inner-dialogue-land). And honestly, it’s so much easier for me to eat really well day in and day out if I know that, come Feb. 6, one of my birthday gifts is going to be (a piece of) the kind of chocolate stout cake that haunts dreams. The special stuff makes it just that…special. (And kind of like anything you quit for a while and then “try” a little bit of, I will bet a hundred big ones that that birthday cake is going to make my body freak out so much that I’m not even going to want cake again for another six months. Kind of like with what happened with champagne on NYE…it makes thee sad, though, so I don’t really wanna talk about it)
3. The “30 Days” stuff (30 Days of Yoga! 30 Days of Meditation! 30 Days of Law & Order! That kind of stuff)
I always intend to commit, and then I literally forget all about it not even three days later. It’s like I have consistency amnesia or something. And then I feel guilty for not being able to commit or be consistent. So fuck that noise. If I wanna do yoga one day, I’m gonna do it. If I don’t wanna do it the next day, I’m not doing it.
4. Social Media/Branding/Copywriting Shiz
So tired of that stuff. I made a lot of money doing social media and brand consulting over the years, and I had an absolute blast during some of it. But now I read an article about social media practices and my eyes glaze over. I still have opinions, but 2013 was the year when I finally started to own the feeling that I don’t want to spend my time helping you build your brand. I want to spend my time working on my own thing. And I can, so…
5. What my Bible college/Youth Ministry/Bible camp friends think of me now.
My faith has changed. It has deepened, widened, morphed, and stretched. And I love it. I love what my faith has become. The first part of that was learning that I get to decide what my faith looks like and what it doesn’t. And it doesn’t look like it used to, and it certainly doesn’t look like what I was told it should look like back when I went to Bible college and Bible camp. And sometimes it makes me sad, when I become Facebook friends with someone I used to know from North Park or Okoboji/Riverside and then they end up defriending me when they realize that I swear a lot or that I post things that aren’t exactly lifted from Christian Life Magazine. And sometimes it makes me a tad nostalgic, when I realize just how different our lives have become. Their lives seem so safe and happy, secure…full of Yankee scented candles and Christian acoustic music and peaceful posts about family devotional time with their preppy spouses and smiling kids. I know that my life and the way I live it – single, childless, full of swears, the proud author of a book with a sex scene in it – makes me seem beyond the pale to some of them. And sometimes I want to stay friends with them because I want to hold on to the good parts of that past…the sunshiny stuff, like when I got to see Adam roll his eyes every day and watch Jason act too cool for school and listen to Joe make inappropriate comments during campfire and dance around with Ashley and Kristin during chapel and have late night talks with Nate in the kitchen. When I could look around at the people around me and know that every single person there cared about being a good person, cared about doing the best by other people. There was a part of it that still feels so…safe. Good. Warm. Like wrapping your heart up in a white down comforter.
So sometimes I miss that, but it’s not my life anymore. And I left it behind for a lot of really good reasons: The judgement, the close-mindedness, the disdain for the secular world, the refusal to question and explore. I’m still the same basic person – still loud, still obnoxious, still kind of boy-crazy, still inappropriate, still daring, still all about the underdog, and still stupidly emotional – and I still like a lot of those people that I used to know. But I also know that some of them feel like they don’t know me anymore, and that if the way I act doesn’t align with their idea of faith, then they can’t like me anymore, either. And I’ve decided to stop giving a fuck about that…or letting it hurt me. Their way is no longer my way, and that’s okay. To each their own.
6. The idea of wild, passionate, crazy love.
I have a larger piece that I wrote a handful of months ago about this (that I’ll probably post tomorrow, now that it relates to this), but for now I’ll just say: I don’t want crazy love anymore. I used to think I did. But then this year I realized…crazy love is just that: Crazy. When I’m ready, I’d rather have the peaceful, secure, intimate kind. Based on mutual respect and admiration and other totally boring stuff like that. Passion can be useful and wonderful and totally fucking awesome in the right measure, but…I’ve grown beyond the epic dramatic movie stuff.
7. The weight scale.
Fuck that thing. Do you know how much power I’ve given to that little computerized plastic square throughout my life? How much I’ve let it control whether I felt good or bad every morning for years? And it’s still not even the one that I want, where every time I step on the scale the voice of a sassy gay best friend tells me how I’m doing (“Honey, you get any hotter and Al Gore’s gonna do a documentary on you!” or “You betta shake it or you’re gonna break it!”, or “You’re not fat, you’re FABULOUS!”)
So in 2014, I refuse to give a fuck about what it says. My mission is to love my body regardless of how much body I’m rockin’, and I can do that so much better if I let that little glass platform collect some dust.
2013, I think, was the year of learning to cut the chord. Of trying to forgive, of resolving to move on, of Focusing Within Instead of on The Hims (Trademark: Amber L. Carter). I got hit over the head pretty hard this past year when it came to the lesson that I had to stop reserving feelings and keeping the door open for people who have chosen through their actions and words to no longer be a part of my life.
Last night, in fact, I ended up lying in bed and running through all the possible scenarios of what could happen when and if I ran into (one of) the men I dated last summer. It had started to feel like an insurance policy…things ended on a good note, I still have fond feelings for him, and we’ll be in the same geographical location again in a handful of months. So there has been this lingering, “Well…maybe…” in the back of my mind (mostly every time I read about some couple who broke up and then ended up getting back together and “see, now they’re getting married so maybe it ISN’T always called a break-up because it’s broken, Greg Behrendt!”), and last night I finally decided to face it and decide what I would want to happen if the Maybe became Hello Again. And the thing is…I would want something completely different. I would want slower, more formal, more reserved, more open…more different. And then I had to ask myself what it was that I actually really liked about him…what was it that I still wanted? The answer was surprising, and actually really good, but…I suddenly realized that if I wanted to become something new…if I ever wanted us to become something new, then I had to entirely let go of the Old. Any expectations, any anticipations, any still lingering ties to our previous relationship.
So I have to cut the chord on that, too. Even if I ever do want something again with him in the future, I still have to release him and our past relationship from my mind and heart. I have to stop giving a fuck about the way I felt about him then and the way that I feel about him now, and I have to stop giving a fuck about what happens in the future. And I have to do this for all the guys in my past – I have to stop giving any fucks about what happened or why it happened or how they’re doing or how much I might wish that this or that would’ve or could still be different. It’s over. Beyond the lessons that I’ve learned and can take with me, I have no more fucks to give for the Ghosts of Relationship Pasts.
9. Greeting cards.
I don’t buying and sending them, and while the gesture of receiving them is nice, I kind of feel like they’re just a waste of paper and money. And unless you’re a hoarder or it’s a super, super cool one like the T. Hanks / grey felt squirrel one that my friend +David Urbaniak has given me or the beaut Thank You card from Erica that I have on my altar, we all know that those cards will usually end up in the trash about 5 minutes after they were delivered. So friends, family, and future-lovers-if-I-ever-end-up-having-any-again: You don’t have to send me a card for my birthday, and please don’t get salty if I don’t send you one. Texts, phone calls, emails, presents…those I will and want to do. And you can do them, too, if you want! But I no longer have any fucks to give about the guilt that comes with sending/not sending greeting cards.
10. Fitting in with the Marrieds.
There’s a big crew of people that I really like up here in the Northwoods, and most of them hang out in a very particular sort of clique…all married, and most, if not all, have kids. The interesting thing is that we’re all pretty much the same age and a lot of us really like each other as just straight-up people. Yet when I first moved up here and started to get to know this group, I felt really hurt and more than a little angry by the veiled assertion made by a couple of the women-types that a Single shouldn’t be hanging out with a pack of Marrieds.
Women, stop doing this shit. It hurts your fellow female community as a whole and it makes you look small. Just because you have a husband does not mean that every single woman within a 50 mile radius is gunning for him.
Also, don’t flatter yourself (or your husband).
It’s true that we don’t have a lot in common and that I’ll probably never be invited to their happy hours or weekend outings, even when and if I have a +1 to even things out. And that used to bother me, and it actually kind of hurt my feelings, to be honest. But now I’ve decided to just not give a fuck. I know who I am and I know that I’m pretty fun to have around, whether we’re talking about my dates or your kids. I also know that I am so lucky to already have a core group of friends up here that I love, and I’ve only just begun to develop all the friendships that are on the horizon for me here. Maybe this thing will change…maybe it never will. Maybe I’ll just focus on just getting to know some of the people in that group on a one-on-one basis.
AND THEN GET CLOSE ENOUGH TO THEM TO RUIN ALL THEIR MARRIAGES!!!!
(See how silly that sounds? I couldn’t even do that if I tried. Have you even met me? 99.99% of the world’s population would describe me as weirdly awkward vs. cunningly seductive)
11. (Like I said last week) Whether or not my size has anything to do with someone’s attraction/lack of.
Because again, fuck that noise. I like someone or I don’t. People like me or they don’t. I’m no longer to going to use my weight as a shield, an excuse, an obstacle, or an apology for why someone shouldn’t want to be with me. Don’t entirely like the way I look? Would probably date me if my body were (even just a little bit!) different? Please refer to the above GIF regarding how many fucks I now give.
12. On that same note, what you think I should be doing/eating/hating/loving/quitting/starting in order to be the size you think I should be.
I know you might think you’re being helpful. Or that you simply care about my health, and just want me to be happy. But what you’re really saying to me is, “You’re not good enough exactly how you are right now, so let me show you how to be what I think you should be.” Did’ya just read a new study that told you that the food I’m reaching for that very second is actually bad for me? Heard on TV that if I want to get in better shape, I should really be doing XYZ? Who the fuck do you think you are?! I do not give a fuck about someone else’s unsolicited nutrition/fitness advice, no matter how well intended you think the delivery might be. If I want further knowledge or clarity on those two subjects, I’ll ask for it (though I’ll likely ask this guy first, and then probably NOT. YOU.).
13. Whether or not people *get* why I love Real Housewives, The Bachelor, US Weekly Magazine, Twilight, bubble gum pop music, or majestical wolficorns.
I used to care about defending these things, because I consider myself a relatively intelligent person who is not often given over to cheesy vapidness. Therefore, it bothered me that people didn’t automatically know that most of these loves were either irony-based or dork-out fun. And then I realized…why do I care what someone else thinks about what I like? I don’t like Fifty Shades of Gray, but I definitely don’t think that any woman who does is stupid or shallow. And anyone who makes character judgements based on the fact that someone likes something they don’t? That’s pretty fucking shallow, if you ask me. To a lot of people, it’s pretty cool to hate on stuff that other people love, especially without offering up a little curiosity as to why a person loves it. And those people? Are not my people. Sometimes I love stupid shit because it’s stupid. And I really like that part of myself. And if you don’t…?
Well. You probably get it by now.
But then, this is really nothing new. I’m just continuing on with a thing for which no fucks have been given for an eternity, and that has yet to fail in making me happy, so. Hooray for continued reinforcement!
The two exceptions to this, however, are the Winter Olympics and anything pertaining to Erin Andrews.
Because that chick is DOPE.
How about you?
What fucks do you refuse to give 2014?
Share ’em up in the comments…and let’s revel together in the saving of all of our fucks!
(Or something like that)
And if you’ve found value in this post, please share it with your friends!