Monday, January 14, 2013

New Year’s Resolution Report

This year I resolved to give zero shits, pardon my French. That is not a commitment to constipation, but rather a determination to overcome my social conditioning and become a Zen master. The goal is to care less, by caring less. The means is the end. See? I’m well on my way to enlightenment!

I come from a family of maniacs enthusiasts. We’re passionate and pour our hearts into our favorite activities. We can get downright obsessive. And one of the things we love doing most is worrying. And by “worrying,” I mean “making venomous, seething volcanoes out of molehills.” We over-think, over-plan, and work ourselves into a frenzied state of over-anxiety. It’s practically a hobby.

My mother’s bold example in competitive over-worrying started during my childhood. My every complaint about a headache was met with a crisp, “It’s a brain tumor.” Stomachaches became gallstones, ankle sprains were bone fractures, and bad gas translated into pregnancy. But aspirin or other medicines were a no-no because they tore holes in the stomach and damaged the liver. Compound all this with pressure to conform to society’s standards of being thin, pretty, and partnered by age X, and you’ve got a highly neurotic young woman on your hands.

But starting this year, I give zero shits. It helps that I’m no longer in my twenties and running around lost, bewildered, and completely aimless. Fiancé’s presence in my life is also a giant plus. In fact, our being together points to the rewards of giving zero shits, because had I cared about what one psycho other people thought, I wouldn’t have asked him out after two years of unspoken mutual-yet-passive attraction.

Let me clarify: when I say “give zero shits,” I mean that I now care less about unimportant things, such as controlling things I can’t control. It means my reactions will be stoic, instead of hysterical. It does not mean I turn into a raging d-bag, although I certainly can, if you like.

Case study 1: Many of my dear friends and extended family are scattered around the world. They might not be able to make it to the wedding because of the distance and/or expense. Or, they won’t come because they give zero shits about the event. If I were two months younger, I would twist myself into a pretzel of agony at the prospect of looking like an unpopular loser at my own wedding. Now? I give zero shits. It’ll be awesome.

Case study 2: Blog readers object to my gratuitous use of the word “shit.” Do I give zero shits? Yes, I do. The big, fat nothing burger is on me. You’re welcome.

There you have it. If all goes well, I will listen, think, and then decide if I give a shit, which will be unlikely. Measured indifference has to be better than uncontrollable shit-giving. I hope it’s clear that I’m trying to redefine the phrase “give a shit.” I’m attempting to make it into a positive thing that means gradually replacing the worrywart in me with a serene warrior-goddess. And if I fail in that attempt, well…you know what my response would be, right?

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