31 Things I Don’t Give a Shit About Now That I’m 31.
Those of you who know me personally know, that there are far more than 31 of those, and sometimes I may even come across as someone who simply doesn’t give a fuck about many, many things, but that is not entirely true.
I care about my family, a lot. Not just in a way one should, with an annual phone call and a Christmas card. I do actually enjoy spending time with my parents and any members of my extended family, given the opportunity.
I do give a shit about my closest friends. I consider them a family and should there be anything I could do to make their life easier, I am always happy to assist. That said, this courtesy only extends to the closest friends, and that’s a small pool. So what has changed since I was a teen that made me put some of the other, once important things into the “don’t give a shit about box”? The great thing about getting older: your idea of prioritising becomes clear as a raindrop, suddenly not only do you know what type of boyfriend you actually want to have, what sort of people you want to hang out with, but also what it is that actually matters to you and where you want to channel your energy and time.
Here’s a list of things that did not make that list.
1) Keeping up with the Jonses
This is a trait I see strong in many people, and sometimes this does not phase out until they die, worse: it gets stronger. “They” have a nice new car / kitchen / holidays, we need it too! The truth is, we probably don’t and living in this competitive bubble is more energy sapping than we are willing to admit. Break the chain. It’s exhilarating.
2) Spinning the plates when it comes to irrelevant acquaintances
I see this happen time and time again, and it’s not a terribly bad thing, if it works for you. Having a large group of friends with whom you touch base every now and then just to keep them at your finger tips is handy, however: again, time consuming. A phone works both ways, and if you don’t hear from them in a year, it’s probably time to let go.
3) Sticking to any diet 100%
On average we have around 71 years on this planet. There are thousands upon thousands of amazing things we could eat. I am not talking greasy, unhealthy shit all the time, however fat and “unhealthy” play a significant role when it comes to tasty foods. Keep a healthy balance. Choose natural over synthetic whenever you can, but when faced with a great, creative menu in a small, local restaurant at the end of the world, or a great, Michelin star place in central London or Paris, for Christ sakes: don’t go for a carb free salad or plain chicken! You are probably going to wash it down with Coke on the way back home, so why lie to yourself? Experience new foods, experiment, don’t be a boring eater.
4) Holding back what I really want to say
This in many cases leads to anger and stress. “I wish I had told him that!” Just do it. In the worst case, it’s better to regret things you have said, than go over all the things you wanted to say but haven’t, for days.
5) Making sure everyone likes me
This is something that is most likely at the top of everyone’s list when we are teens and suddenly fades away when we realise how much effort it requires to be the “liked” person. Of course many of us don’t even consider this to be an effort, being naturally gifted with a lovable personality, but for assholes like me it’s an effort, and sometimes I need to work out whether the input is worth the result, and in many cases it isn’t.
6) Constantly being in a relationship
After splitting up with one of my “serious” boyfriends, and being over 25, my dad mumbled the words I long feared: “You will never find anyone who will stay with you for longer, you scare them away, you will never have family, or kids. You will end up with a bloody cat!” You know what? Things happen when they suppose to happen, there is no such thing as a deadline for serious relationship or kids. And sometimes they don’t happen at all. It does not mean you failed. Sometimes you did not come across anyone worthy of your time, sometimes it does mean you are way too picky, but sometimes, given the environment you are in, there just aren’t any people worth the consideration. Change the environment and see what happens. If nothing changes, don’t beat yourself up. It’s always better to be on your own than to be semi-happy. Always. Which brings me to the next point..
7) Fear of being on ones own
No one wants to be on their own. Silence freaks us out. We are created as group animals. But what truly makes us stronger is the ability to fill this silence in our heads by ourselves. My mum always kept saying to me: “Only boring people get bored”, and this thought stuck in my head and somehow I always managed to keep myself busy. There is no excuse for anyone to be bored nowadays. Learn a new language, read a book, learn to cook something new, sign yourself up for a yoga class, volunteer. Get out of the house. Get a dog. Seriously, being bored makes you boring. Don’t be boring.
8) Chasing after people
When we are younger, we tend to do this quite a lot, or at least I did. As the time passes, you start to see things (and people) for what they are. Are you constantly the one initiating every meet up, the one who calls or texts first? Drop it. Restore the respect for yourself and your time. They will either spot the difference or you’ll never hear from them again, and both of those are good. It helps you sort through all the timewasters.
9) Trying to be perfect
We find value in praise. Praise comes from doing things properly. Well, most of the time, sometimes it comes from being a suck up, but that’s not something we will debate here. It’s lame. Don’t do it.
We want to be noticed for good work, and therefore we try our best to do things to our best abilities. Another reasoning behind it is the fact we simply cannot leave job half done or half assed. We wouldn’t be able to sleep. It may take us twice us long as it would by doing it 95% perfect, but we are willing to go that extra mile. Well, don’t! Shipped is better than perfect.
10) Being considered cool
Your roles in life change. Sticking to your previous one mostly makes you look desperate. If you are a parent, this comes before being your kids “mate”. If you are in a relationship, it’s probably a good time to stop getting spannered with the girls every single weekend. By all means, do it if you wish, but keep a healthy balance between that and spending some quality time with your partner. You can rarely have it all, and most certainly you cannot “be” it all.
11) Overthinking past situations
You wish you’ve said something else, resolved the situation in a different way, gone to a different school, studied more, or married someone else? It’s all fairly pointless exercise now. Done, gone, dusted. If you cannot change it, bury it in the sand and move on. All your actions formed the amazing person you are today, they were countless stream of lessons without which you just wouldn’t be the same. Unless you are actively trying to learn from your past mishaps and mistakes, stop dwelling on them for the sake of it.
12) Trusting people
This may seem odd but being less trusting, as sad as it may seem, saves you a lot of disappointment and headache. I mostly assume people will fuck up whatever they need to do, that they will be late for the meeting, that they will eventually disappoint, and by assuming this, I am rarely disappointed. If the situations reoccur consistently, I reduce the contact with this type of people and therefore reduce the amount of potential disappointment.
13) Sticking to one career path in fear or failure
Sheryl Sandberg famously said in her book “Lean in”: “Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder.” Which I wholeheartedly agree with. For some of us, who chose a clean cut career, like medicine or law, this won’t be true as relevant news as for others in marketing, or tech. The latter changes constantly and there is a need for various sets of skills and high level of adaptability. If you happen to pursue the flexible type of career, the phrase “it’s not in my job description” is not something you will use often. Being adaptable to the ever-changing requirements of the job market may be your biggest asset.
14) Being a poster perfect wife
I admire my friends, who come home after a busy day at work and get on with baking a pie straight away. Their kids always smell like baby powder mixed with freshly washed linen sheets, and they never run out of toilet paper. At some point I was aiming to be one of those wives. I failed. My husband lives on protein shakes and salads he makes himself, instead of home cooked meals with perfectly counted calories, which he eats whilst sitting at the beautifully set dining table. Somehow he doesn’t hate me for that. I may just be lucky here, but being a poster wife fell down on my list of priorities. I will happily settle for being an adequate wife, with enough make-up on not to scare our friends off and occasional home cooked dinner, so that we get the return on investment on the recently purchased oven.
15) Telling people what they want to hear
All my friends know by now, that if they want to hear what they want to hear, they won’t hear it from me. This simplifies life tremendously. The need for lies gets cut by half. Your ass probably looks fat in this. On a good note, I will happily give compliments if those are due.
16) Rat race
Happiness takes on different forms. You need to feel fulfilled, whether this is a career path you have chosen, a child bearing route, charity work or other. Money spinning is not the only way to achieve happiness. It took me over 30 years to figure this out.
17) Listening to cool music
If at any given time you were to ask me what’s in todays top 10, I’ll most likely fail miserably. I will, however, recite all the lyrics to any song from the 80s and 90s any time.
18) Entertaining my kids
I have a step daughter who randomly asks: “What are we gonna do today?”. She regularly gets the same answer: “I’ll be doing XYZ, how about you?” Kids need to figure out ways to replace their boredom with something else, without us getting involved, in order to be able to become more interesting adults. We do things together occasionally, go see places and do fun stuff, as inevitably it’s all part of parenting, but this can never be in form of jumping up at any moment, when your kids look remotely lost. Let them be lost in order to find themselves.
There’s rarely anything worth watching, regardless of how many channels you have. Read a book.
20) Comparing myself to my extremely successful peers
Everyone goes through their own problems, and no matter how successful someone appears to be, it’s mostly through the sacrifices and commitments they have made throughout their life. Admire their perseverance, not the results of it and make sure you don’t compare your middle to someone else’s end!
21) Helping others solve their issues if they are not receptive to advice
This seems to be my most common time burner, but slowly I am getting my head around it and I start spotting people who will happily write your tips down, only to do things exactly the same way they had always done, achieving the same, pathetic results. The definition of insanity springs to mind.
22) Coming across as perfect
My social profiles are pretty close to my actual life. The “Instalife” doesn’t happen in our house, to the sheer horror of my husband, every quote or an awkward picture may find its way to Facebook.
23) Avoiding sun in fear of sun damage
A tan makes me look healthier, skinnier and happier. Since I have not been gifted by mother nature with a spotless complexion, it makes me look and feel better. I will only get off the sun lounger for lunch.
24) Booking hotels ahead of arrival and being an organized traveller with a detailed schedule
Because injecting a bit of unknown into our predictable lives is fun.
25) Being seen in the “it” spots
I used to be excited, whenever the opportunity to jet off to the Marbellas of this world arose. Nikki Beach sounded like the default party idea, whether it was opening, closing or anywhere else in the season. Then I started travelling. By all means experience the overcrowded beaches and overpriced bottles of champagne, but gain a perspective. Don’t limit yourself only to locations easily recognizable by the flash the cash crowd. World it a beautiful place, enjoy, experience, explore.
26) Coming across as indestructible
One can be vulnerable and if that’s how I feel, I won’t waste any energy to make it appear otherwise. If I feel like crying, I will be crying. Sometimes I, too, need a hug. It’s not to attribute this to being a woman, but being a human.
27) Following any religion
Growing up in Poland, I was “trained” to be a good Christian. Even in my teens, when my extremely religious grandmother passed away, I kept declaring myself as Christian, though the church visits were mostly limited to my friends’ weddings. It took me awhile to see through it and figure out religion is the best run ponzi scheme out there, that all the religions are essentially the same thing, with the small difference of the level of extremism required to be considered a member. Some of us need the hope that comes with believing in the intangible, and if that makes us happy and gives us the subconscious safety, that’s great. As long as you don’t shove it down my throat. Halal or not.
28) Upgrading my social standing by having tons of friends in high places.
We all just people at the end of the day. When you are younger, you seem to think anyone with considerable power will come in handy at some point, just to realise you never actually ask anyone for help anyway, whether it’s because they are too busy or because you don’t like owing anyone a favour.
29) Spending time somewhere where you no longer enjoy yourself.
The ability to leave a boring crowd of people without worrying about the implications or whether they’ll think you’re an asshole increases with age. It’s very liberating.
30) Drinking related peer pressure.
Or any peer pressure for that matter, but this one specifically affected many of my nights, and the words: “You can do this, have one more tequila!” often ended up being the last words of the night I have any recollection of, hence the change. Anyone trying to convince me now to drink, smoke or inhale anything I don’t really fancy, to justify their own retarded behaviour, will most likely waste their time and end up frustrated.
31) Spending time with people who do not stimulate me mentally
Crossing the 30 line made me value my time more. No shitty tv, no shitty friends, no shitty food. This was the case awhile back and I rarely stuck around boring people anyway, but previously out of politeness, I tried to find excuses to avoid their company. Not so much these days. Walking away and moving on from “the boring” seems to be the way forward.
Respect your time. If you treat yourself like a project that needs to be improved constantly, you start seeing it in the right light and visualise your time versus the benefits and gains received from being in the company of others. Sometimes the balance just doesn’t add up. This is not me saying: commit your time to people who can benefit you financially or via their connections. It’s all to do with enriching you as a person. Aim for the company of value generators not value vampires.
What has change with age for you?