On ACTUALLY not giving a F*ck

So, I had to return “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” to the library because I was on my way home for winter break, but I’ll definitely get it and finish it when I get back.

I was reading all about not “giving a f*ck” about problems that you encounter and I saw mostly as — ok, if other people wrong me, or if other people do something I dislike, then I need to pick and choose what I actually care about. It actually worked out pretty well and I had to apply it a few times to some situations.

However, I didn’t consider how to react to the situations that simply happen because life…happens. Like my car battery dying, or accidentally leaving large shampoo/conditioner bottles in my carry-on (I mean yes, this was my fault…but stupid airplane security, am I right??). When these two things happened to me in the past few days, I was infuriated. I started victimizing myself again. “Woe is me” and such. That’s such a silly, child-like mentality, and my least favorite quality about myself. Well, one of them.

But anyway, I realize that applying this “theory” goes for every single thing in life. There are some things that are horribly infuriating and irritating and downright annoying as heck, but sometimes, and probably most times, you can’t do anything about them. There are some times when you should fight for things and speak your mind, because things either need changing or they can actually be changed. You can’t control people, but you can try really hard to get them to change their own minds. But you also can’t get frustrated when they don’t change their minds. You just have to do what you can.

A big part of Mark’s book is that shit happens. You’re going to run into problems in life, simply because sometimes people, machines, the universe, ya know — those things can make mistakes. You can’t control those things. So instead of fighting the inevitable and living in ignorance, which sounds very fun, but is ultimately awful — you accept it. You live with it, not because you’re “brave”, but because you have to. And not because you really have to, but you could make your life much easier.

The other day my sister was bleaching her hair (this is nothing new to me, I think it’s now just one of her hobbies) in the bathroom as I was getting ready to go to bed — taking contacts out and brushing my teeth. I was wearing a Pitt sweatshirt that I decently like, the nice charcoal grey color I love. Today I looked down and realized there was discoloration all over the front of the sweatshirt, sort of where I lean down on the counter when I’m brushing my teeth, and it was that coral pink color you get from bleaching grey/black things. Normally, I would have flipped out. But I didn’t.

Growing up as a kid, I was always really possessive of my items. Whether it came from distrust of others handling my things (this is the epitome of enneagram one), or just me being a brat, it’s definitely trickled to various parts of my life regarding control. Today I just got a little exasperated, told my mom about it and ended up just laughing about it, in a way. Here’s why — 1) it’s just a thing. 2) it already happened. I can’t unbleach it. 3) I have other sweaters. I’m going to buy new ones.

A tiny victory to some, but to me, it just showed me that my 5 months of a very intense football season (fall camp included) taught me a lot of patience…and a lot of other things. I can’t recall an exact moment where I suddenly became less uptight about certain things, but I think I’ve started to see what issues are important to me, and what issues are small and in the grand scheme of things, quite insignificant.

I sort of just read the introduction to the book, before it was snatched from me by those dreaded due dates. I’m quite excited to get back and look at those 5 steps he listed and figure out ways to implement them into my life. I tend to try and look at every small detail and try to do all of them all at once, which we all know seems very efficient (another enneagram one trademark, I am actually obsessed with this) on the surface, but is very ineffective in the long run.

This book is the first one where I’m actually like, hey, I think I can do this. The big picture — things will piss you off and life may suck, but don’t react to all of them, but you should probably react to some of them or you might be a psychopath... And you’re ultimately responsible for the way you act, no matter how badly someone else wrongs you or how badly the universe screws you over.

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Jen Xu

Jen Xu

Athletic trainer, coffee lover, looking for a hobby I don’t have time for. I write about fitness, mental health, being Asian-American, and personal growth.