As an individual who has just handed in an 8,500 word case study and a practical project portfolio that’s 135 pages long as part of my degree, I can’t help but think I should have read this book sooner.
Trying to juggle my degree with all the things I felt I should care about: whether or not my friends hated me for not going out with them, how my family back home are doing, whether I’m good enough for those around me -- the list goes on -- meant I couldn’t exactly focus on this book when I first received it, and so I offer my sincerest apologies to Sarah Knight for the lateness of this review.
I’ve often been one of those people who does things she doesn’t particularly want to, just because others would like me to or because I felt such is expected of me. Well, I can happily say that, having finally read The Life-Changing Magic Of Not Giving A F**k from cover to cover, I’m not that person anymore, and I certainly don’t plan to be in the future.
The tag-line to this book: ‘How to stop spending time you don’t have doing things you don’t want to do with people you don’t like’ reminded me very much of THAT quote from Fight Club:
Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.
For many people, myself included, life has worked very much the way the above quotation suggests – and it’s not good. Society has put far too much pressure on individuals to live up to expectations, to get good jobs just for the status and to work ourselves into the ground for money we can then use in ways we don’t or shouldn’t want to.
Knight’s book suggests we all make a list of what we don’t give a fuck about and, from then on, don’t give a fuck about it. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but, for me, it proved a great place to start when thinking about all the things that take up my time and energy when in reality, I couldn’t care less about them.
I grew up being the ‘good’ girl in the family – always keen to help out, to do extra chores and whatnot. Looking back, why exactly did I bother? To earn my parents’ approval? Such approval shouldn’t need to be earned it should just be – and the amount of hours I spent doing mundane jobs around the house or in the company of others sure as hell wasn’t worth it.
One of the things on my ‘fuck’ list is football – I grew up with two brothers who support Manchester United and a dad who is an avid Everton supporter. They’re always going on about who scored this goal, who might take over such a club, and I’ve put up with such boring nonsense for years, integrating myself into the conversations purely because they talk to me about it. This past Easter, such a football-related conversation came up, and, rather than sit around and wait for them to ask for my thoughts on the matter, for the first time in ages, I simply got up and walked away, saying ‘It’s men kicking a ball around a pitch, who cares?’ – and it was hugely liberating.
Living away from home while being at university has meant I’ve had far fewer things to be distracted by (yay!), but I know that, upon returning home for the summer, that number is likely to rise. However, thanks to Knight’s book and her advice, I'm encouraged to live my life the way I want and disregard anyone who objects otherwise (without a very good reason that is). The fact is, our time on this Earth is finite – we’re not all going to live forever – so why should we waste the time we do have doing things we don’t really want to do? WE SHOULDN’T, and from this point on, I won’t.
I’m taking back control of my life, removing myself from anything and anyone I have little to no regard for and will instead focus solely on what I need, what I want and what is good for me. I’ve spent years conforming to the wishes and ideals of others, but this is MY LIFE, and, with the help of Knight's book, I’m going to life it as ‘fuck’ free as I can and enjoy it.
The Life-Changing Magic Of Not Giving A F**k is available now on Amazon and from all good bookshops.