Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Random Tuesday: 6 Things I Don't Care About

As I get older, I realize more and more that I care less and less about a lot of things. I'm not becoming apathetic, just more selective about where I direct my energy. My teens and twenties were all about creating an image for the people around me and hoping like hell everyone would like me. It killed me when someone didn't like me, and I'd do just about anything to get approval. Being a people-pleaser is an exhausting pursuit, and somewhere around my thirtieth birthday, I started to burn out. I began to drop things (and even some people) from my life and found that the less I cared about, the happier I felt. Now I'm at a very limited level of caring, and I feel amazing! Here's a little list of the things I have stopped giving a crap about:

#1. Having a "ripped" body.

For one, it sounds painful. "My body is totally ripped, man." I can't help but think of the velociraptors from the first Jurassic Park movie whenever I hear this phrase. For two, I spent way too much time in my twenties doing squats and crunches and push-ups, hoping to sculpt my body into something that looked like the women in Maxim magazine. I honestly believed that, as a woman, I was worthless unless I was chiseled and covered in oil and wearing a pair of boy shorts and a bra. I obsessed over the circumference of my waist and felt a sick pride in my thigh gap. I hated wearing a bathing suit and cared an awful lot about the number on the tag on my jeans. Not anymore. I just want to feel good and healthy. I don't do crazy workouts or embark on special diets anymore; I keep myself limber with yoga, I go on walks, and I try to eat more healthy food than unhealthy food. I don't care if I have a six-pack or a rock-hard anything. It has taken years and years of work to get to this point of bodily laissez-faire, but it has been worth it.

#2. Having a bunch of college degrees.

I have a bachelor's degree in English Literature, and I've gone back and forth about getting a graduate degree since the day I walked that stage. In the past, I have felt compelled to earn a master's, not so I can get a better paying job, but simply so I can say, "I have a master's degree, you must respect me." I looked into it quite seriously, having decided to get a master's degree in education or creative writing or library sciences, but it never felt like the right decision for me. I cringed at the idea of taking on tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt (I have never had a student loan, and I'd like to keep it that way) for something that would not guarantee an increase in my income. Not long ago, I made the decision to NOT get a graduate degree, and it felt like losing five thousand pounds.

#3. Driving a cool car, living in a big house, or wearing designer clothes.

I own my 12-year-old car, and that is awesome. I live in a trailer, and it's huge and I have a fireplace, and it doesn't cost a lot of money, and that is awesome. I buy most of my clothes second-hand or on clearance, and my closet is well-stocked, and that is awesome. My lifestyle is pretty modest, and it allows me to keep most of my time for myself and my family rather than working constantly to pay for my lifestyle, and that is awesome. I want for nothing, and that is awesome.

#4. Having an impressive job.

As I have mentioned before, I am a waitress in a high-end restaurant. I love it. No, I don't think you understand: I LOVE MY JOB. I love my customers, I love my coworkers, I love the work that I do and my schedule and the food I get to eat and the short distance I have to drive to get there. This job allows me to earn a living while also allowing me the time to pursue my dreams. I don't plan on being a waitress forever, but right now, it is the perfect job for me, and I refuse to feel bad about it.

#5. Listening to "approved" music.

I like Taylor Swift, and I don't care what you think about that.

#6. Failure.

I'm convinced this isn't even a real thing, even though the very idea of it used to scare me to death. I have adopted the belief that there is no failure where there is effort and action; as long as you do something, you can't truly fail. Sit on your butt being paralyzed by fear of failure, and well, then you really fail. I've gotten into a habit of doing things specifically because they scare me, and I have never regretted the effort, even when it didn't result in anything great. I started this little blog because I was afraid to put my writing and beginner's photography into the world, and now I see that I had nothing to be afraid of; I'm doing just fine! I don't worry about how many views each post gets or what people say about it; I'm happy with my work here, and it's teaching me some great things. I don't care about failure. I just don't. I care more about trying, really trying, working my ass off and reaching my own personal best.

Now, I don't want to be totally negative, so I'd like to mention a few things I do care about. My kids. My relationships. My time and how I spend it. My bunnies. Literature. Critical thinking. Kindness. Compassion. Fashion. Art. Great food. The list could go on and on and on, and for that, I think I'm pretty lucky.

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