I fondly remember many years ago riding in the car with my dad one day. As he drove, we listened to Dr. Laura Schlessinger on the radio. It was usually that or Rush Limbaugh. Anyway, as we listened to the conservative call-in program, my dad made a simple comment that still rings true today... "Most of these people already know the answer to their questions. They just need to hear someone else say it." So true. Okay, so here I am to share some wisdom that you possibly already know, but you just need to hear it from someone else, compliments of Mark Manson's The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Emanating common sense and rational thinking, I enjoyed this book. My short perspective will in no way do it justice, so if you're finding yourself feeling overwhelmed with life and giving a fuck about way too many things, do yourself a favor and make the time to read it.
The perfect car, the perfect home, the perfect marriage, the perfect kids, the perfect homeschool. You get the picture. Everywhere we look, we are inundated with a mirage of perfection of every sort. It's almost impossible to not feel inadequate and insecure as we find ourselves constantly comparing ourselves to others. So, what happens when we just quit giving a fuck? Because *NEWS FLASH* we can't have it all, nor do we want to. The bottom line is this. We only have so many fucks to give, so we better figure out what they are and be okay with what they are not. What are we willing to struggle for? What do we value? Manson states that true happiness is only fully realized when 1) we determine which of life's problems we give a fuck about and 2) we set out to solve these adversities. By the way, denial (Problems? What problems?) and victimhood (It's not my fault I have problems!) are unacceptable.
So, how can we determine what the fuck we should give a fuck about? Manson narrows it down to a list of three things. According to Manson, good values are those that are:
1) Reality based (not superstitious)
2) Socially constructive
3) Immediate and controllable
You know where this is going, right? Just when you thought I'd leave religion out of it, here I go again! I can't help it. I'm a victim of my new values. Seriously though, I can't emphasize how important this is, given my past. Those three principles are the complete antithesis of Christianity! What can happen when your values are based on mythological stories from the Bronze Age? Well, potentially anything, because my holy book says so. Why care about the environment or global warming if you've got a better place waiting for you? Why care about your health if you've got a new body just waiting for you in heaven? After all, we are called to deny the flesh. It's the equivalent of asking what it hurts to live a lie. Christianity encompasses the exact opposite of good values. It is superstitious, socially destructive (tribalism at its worst), and it denies the finality of death and being present in the moment with its constant focus on the afterlife.
Once we've determined what it is that we value, Manson offers further tips to make the "art of not giving a fuck" a little easier. The order is a reflection of my own personal interest. First of all, don't rely on emotions to determine happiness because they come and go like the wind. Secondly, we can be exceptional in our own mundane way. Third, we must take responsibility for our actions, both good and bad, regardless of the circumstances. Fourth, quit being so certain all of the time. We should constantly be doubting and re-evaluating our values. Fifth, failure is painful, but it often leads to the most growth. Sixth, set boundaries and learn to say NO. Like I said, most of us know these things. It just needs to be reiterated occasionally.
Since I love to end on a positive note, I'll add my own little tidbit of encouragement here. If you're an atheist homeschooler, you've probably already mastered the art of not giving a fuck. First of all, you're an atheist, so you're living in reality (reality based), despite what your culture dictates. Secondly, you've chosen to homeschool your kids, again going against the grain. Because you know that they are so worth the time and investment and sacrifice (socially constructive). Because you know the time is brief and precious (immediate and controllable). BASICALLY, YOU'RE AWESOME!