How many fucks do you give, generally?
Me? I don’t give all that many fucks anymore. I have a theory that we are all born with a finite number of fucks. Bear with me.
I don’t know what that number is. I suspect it’s different from person to person. What I do know is that most of us give far too many fucks when we are young and think that we should give a fuck about so many things. When we are toddlers and are presented with dinner that is NOT chicken nuggets, we give a huge fuck about that. We can’t just simply accept the moment of disappointment we experience before tucking into the spag bol presented. Look at your own toddler (if you have one) for confirmation on just how many things they give a fuck about. Someone else has a toy they didn’t even know they wanted? They sure do give a fuck about that. You want to brush their hair or teeth? All the fucks are given about that.
Then they get a little older and go to school. Some kids they don’t even like doesn’t want to play with them? They give a fuck about that. Some other kid has a Smiggle pencil case while theirs is from K-Mart (and is identical in every way except price, am I right?) You guessed correctly- they give a fuck about having the correct brand of pencil case. Not invited to a birthday party? They sure give a fuck about that. And fair enough.
Then the teen years hit. I’m 34 but I still remember so many of the things I gave a fuck about that make me shake my head now. I gave a fuck about how thin I thought I should be. I gave a fuck about what other people thought of my taste in music. I gave a fuck about what other teenagers thought about whatever I did or said. Yes- I genuinely cared about what other kids (who were just as insecure and immature as I was) might have been thinking about my every action. Of course, I pretended that I gave ZERO fucks about what anyone thought, but since I am older now, and my fucks to give are running out, I can’t keep squandering them by keeping up the pretense that I didn’t care.
The teen years are probably the heaviest in terms of giving a fuck, in many ways. I see it now, with our older kids. They give a fuck about what their friends read or watch or wear and how that relates to what they read, watch or wear. Neither of our older girls is terribly interested in having a relationship as yet (unless the potential partner possesses supernatural abilities or their own viral YouTube channel) and both have been given a hard time by peers who are more interested in relationships. It’s a vicious cycle of caring about shit that really shouldn’t matter to anyone else. Is this what peer pressure is? A never-ending desire for everyone to give a fuck about the exact same things at the exact same time, enforced by ostracising or criticising those that don’t comply?
I survived teendom (GO ME!) relatively unscathed. Most of us do, but the number of fucks we have left to give afterwards continues to dwindle. We still throw them away on random crap like dress sizes, what our friends think, what our bosses say, what our families think we should be doing and who knows what else.
Before you know it, you may find yourself with a whole new person to care for! Yes, you! A parent! And then, despite your protestations of not giving a fuck what anyone thinks, you again begin to give a fuck left, right and centre about what other people think. This is partly because they will fall over themselves to tell you what they think (often with great authority) and partly because we seek out other opinions for reassurance or guidance. Yet again, the number of fucks we can spare goes down…
I should add that I think it’s perfectly okay to give a fuck about things, for the most part. If something feels important then there is probably not a lot you can do to convince yourself that it isn’t, regardless of whether it’s a pencil case situation or a matter of political preference. What makes me sad is that we live in a world where trivial things often take up all our care factor. Then, when the bigger stuff presents, we have such a limited capacity to care. There are far too many people in the world who give a fuck about things that ultimately don’t matter and are deliberately blind to the things that do.
Personally, I give a fuck about my family and friends, of course. I give a fuck about people fleeing persecution. I give a fuck about the mounting number of women abused, injured and killed by their partners. I give a fuck about homelessness. I give a fuck about climate change. I give a fuck about struggling farmers. I give a fuck about equality. I give a fuck that people spread misinformation about health. I actually care about quite a few things.
However, at this stage in my life, I reserve the right to no longer give a fuck about what people think of me on any superficial level.
I could not care less about the opinions of people who mean little or nothing to me. I don’t give a fuck about my dress size. I couldn’t care less about how I look in swimsuits. I dress to be comfortable. I wear makeup only if I feel like it. I don’t always feed my family organic health foods. We eat dinner in front of the TV. I swear. I have a crappy old car and live in a rented house and I just refuse to squander my fucks on anyone who is bothered by any of that!
What do you give a fuck about?
#FYBF @ With Some Grace.