First, let me be clear and say I have no idea what these ladies in this stock photo are doing. My best guess is that they are celebrating their collective mad sarong game. Yet, the photo was infused with joy and it seemed fitting to include it as the image for today’s post.
A post about when I realized that I didn’t give a fuck about something anymore — and it was the most uplifting feeling EVER.
I could lie to you and say it was a brisk summer evening, air filled with lightning bugs and children’s laughter, the scent of 80/20 ground beef on the grill wafting through the air.
But I won’t.
It was probably closer to 2:38 PM on a Tuesday. I was likely locked in some cloffice (closet-office)/cupboard under the stairs. And I was definitely staring at a project that I couldn’t care less about deciphering, much less completing.
For eight years, branding and brand messaging — helping others find their voice — had been my life.
And I realized: Wow. I don’t give a fuck about this anymore.
Today’s hard truth is about how it feels when we admit that we don’t give a fuck anymore.
When I admitted there was a void where my fucks should be…like, here’s what I felt I should have seen:
But this was reality:
Nothing there. Zero fucks to be found for this pursuit I’d once given all my fucks. This goal I had to achieve — to become the go-to for brand storytelling. The sought-after Mistress of Missives. Magazine columns, book deals, speaking engagements. Referrals galore, work scheduled two months out, and sorry I’m all full-up but can refer you to someone if you need it done soonest.
I had all that. I’d done it.
And it was such a relief to admit that I didn’t want it anymore. It wasn’t important. ALL THAT.
Admitting that we no longer give a fuck about something we once gave all your fucks — jeez Louise, it’s scary business. Because when we finally up and let that burst of breath from our guts, our bodies want to do one thing that’s so natural that it’s nearly impossible to find fault in:
Fill that space right back up again.
“Hey, self! Whooooboy, that’s a relief — letting that shit go. Good job, you! So, what DO you give a fuck about?”
And my truth was: I loved the storytelling.
I’d run out of fucks for the branding part.
So if I loved stories — the construction and craft, the process of stacking up particular people in particular situations and following them on their struggles to fight for what they want — that’s what I gave a fuck about.
Aside from walking into a courthouse in Knoxville, Tennessee one day over 20 years ago and filing for divorce, there has been no greater weight I’ve lifted than this — the weighty obligation to keep giving a fuck about a pursuit I didn’t give a fuck about.
When I’d brought up hints that I was running precariously low on fucks for this consulting thing, the compliments kept me coming back.
But you’re so good at it!
I’m checking your avail for a speaking engagement in (fancy destination).
You’re the only one who can do this for me!
I have a new client and the budget is (insert metric ass ton of cash HERE). You’d be perfect for this project.
Like, I’m good at it. People want me. How could I not want to do this? All that time and energy to get myself to HERE (which was a rewarding place to be). Am I really going to quit now?
And it felt incredible.
The thing to remember, though, is that it’s going to feel incredible to you. Those who love you might have quite the opposite reaction
In-laws and parents might say you’re crazy. How could you do this to your family? They’ll loft pointed queries your way (Aren’t you a bit old to be switching things up? Well, must be nice to have the freedom to put yourself first. Some of us have other people to think about.).
The people who love you will freak because they love you dearly and all they want is for you to be happy.
They don’t know what this happy looks like yet. So folks we love freak. Let them freak. In fact, love them even more for freaking out. Don’t just hear them out. Listen. Digest. Hug. Hold.
And consider for a hot second that the people who love you are worried that you don’t give a fuck about them — when it’s quite the opposite.
So — as this old year winds to an end and that magical reset button approaches on January 1, ask if there’s something you stopped giving a fuck about…but you just haven’t found a way to said it yet.
If you feel obliged to keep up appearances. Put on a happy face and feel responsible for delivering someone else’s dream across the goal line.
Maybe it’s time to take inventory. Realize your fucks have left the corral. And get to the business of seeing where they’ve wandered off to in your heart and soul.
And when you find them, feed them.
They’re hungry. And they’re starving as they impatiently wait for us to realize we give a fuck about them.
PS: I know about 73 people will be inspired to send me a link to various pieces by Mark Manson. I’ll save you a step. I’ve read them all. 🙂
PPS: Shout out to my friend (you know who you are) who shared your don’t-give-a-FUCK conversation with me yesterday 🙂