In which I DGAF

This post contains swearing.  It’s behind the cut.

So I read a great book called The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have with People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do, by Sarah Knight.  It features the NotSorry method.

My favorite sentence comes from page 53:

Oh good God, the day I stopped giving a fuck about how I looked in a bathing suit, it was like a litter of kittens in black leotards had tumbled down from heaven to perform “All the Single Ladies” for the sole enjoyment of my thighs and belly.  Magical!

This post is to tell you (yes, you) that you should get it and read it.  Even though my mid-30s and upward are the Age of Not Giving a Fuck, this book was still useful to me.

The first burst of gooey goodness from this book came before I even finished reading it.  I was all stressed about this meeting I was supposed to go to.  I would have to drive there and drive back in traffic, and then I was maybe going to be late for my next thing, and have to rush, or leave the meeting really early, and would that be awkward, and… what if I just didn’t go?

barren field

It wasn’t a mandatory meeting.  I told my boss that something had come up and I couldn’t go after all, and he didn’t even care.  It instantly made my whole 2 days better!

Inspired by the book, I too began a (necessarily incomplete) list to figure out what I really did and did not give a fuck about.

I Give A Fuck:

  • sleep
  • cats
  • reproductive and other civil rights
  • my mom’s health
  • my hair (do I look fierce?)
  • my partner/relationship
  • good food
  • reading novels


No Fucks Given:

  • “appropriate” sleep habits
  • dogs
  • foreign policy
  • my mom’s weight
  • societal beauty standards, including my eyebrows
  • people I used to sort-of know when I was a kid
  • other people’s kids (usually)
  • meetings
  • “trashiness” of novels

If you stop giving so many fucks about so many things, then you can devote the fucks you do have deeply and passionately, or at least usefully.

When have you triumphantly not given a fuck, Grumpeteers?

30 Responses to “In which I DGAF”

  1. Omdg Says:

    Love it!

  2. David Stern (@sterndavidi) Says:

    Love this version:

    A bit closer to the English they would have spoken when that style was in fashion.

  3. bogart Says:

    Excellent post substantive comment to follow later in the day, I promise. Quick Q from curiosity, is looking fierce something you strive to achieve or avoid? I can.see either being worthwhile.

    • bogart Says:

      Alright, so substance promised, don’t know if this will qualify. Besides your excellent list? NFG to whether I have body hair visible in places where mainstream US culture says I shouldn’t; whether my clothes are in style (they’re not); whether I am enjoying “good” music or not; what others think about books I read for fun (the trashiness idea, but broader). Also? I have embraced the reality that I do not like food prep — which isn’t to say that I refuse to do any, but I certainly won’t embrace it for its own sake, and do not much care what my family thinks of what I cooked for dinner (must be comprised of food items they generally tolerate, must contain a protein, a starch, and at least 2 veggies or fruits, at least one green. And be edible. But if it passes those tests — it’s good to go. And anyone who wants better can cook it himself.)

      Do GAF: house is easy to clean (minimal nooks & crannies, no carpet, etc.); furniture is sturdy, functional, and easy to clean. Both surprisingly radical ideas.

      • chacha1 Says:

        Excellent points, bogart. I also DGAF about cooking but do GAF if the house is easy to clean. Probably because I am the one doing most of both cooking and cleaning. :/

  4. delagar Says:

    I love this post. And I endorse it 110%!

  5. middle_class Says:

    Love this!

  6. chacha1 Says:

    I may have to buy that book just out of solidarity. Pretty sure I have already achieved an apotheosis of DGAF.

    My “give a fuck” list is identical to NM’s, then has added items: the health of my immediate environment; and my personal fitness for surviving to age 85+ with a reasonable degree of functionality.

    My “don’t give a fuck” list is basically everything else, starting with looking “sexy” and professional sports, and going straight on to stuff that I’ve determined caring about will just make me anxious and unhappy, like trophy hunting and the population problem and ISIS.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      (#2 really does not care about her hair so long as it is clean and brushed)

    • Contingent Cassandra Says:

      “my personal fitness for surviving to age 85+ with a reasonable degree of functionality” This one is rapidly rising on my GAF list (and I need to do more about it), if only because it makes other things possible.

      Other items include forming/maintaining good relationships with friends and family, treating my students with fairness and respect and helping them get the best educations they can under the difficult circumstances under which we’re all operating, and generally doing my part to leave the world no worse, and perhaps a bit better, than I found it (but I have trouble figuring out how to focus those energies).

      The DGAF list is long and growing, but includes trying to have a “successful” academic career by traditional standards/the standards I encountered in grad school, most things having to do with meeting traditional standards of beauty/femininity/appearance (though I will definitely purchase and wear clothing appropriate enough to various occasions for me not to look seriously out of place as long as it is reasonably comfortable and affordable and available in my size) and any sort of interpersonal drama into which others wish to draw me (not to be confused with genuine sorrow/pain, to which I am sympathetic, but in the face of which I tend to feel pretty ineffectual).

  7. Ana Says:

    Love it! And especially your real-life example about the meeting. Such a good reminder to think (very briefly) about the cost/benefit ratio of things that make us miserable (or just generally take up our time & energy). I need to start moving more things from column A to column B

  8. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    My give a fuck list is mainly the same as yours, with the addition of my kids, and the immunization status of the kids around me, mainly because it’s a handy screening tool for people I’m sure to dislike And prob minus cats (I don’t have pets). I love ood novels and I don’t care how trashy/romance-y/ fluffy they are. I likes what I likes.

    I feel that I should also read this book!

  9. The Frugal Ecologist Says:

    Love it! Now I want to see your hair!
    My GAF list includes the environment – locally and globally.
    My DNGAF list is like chacha’s Things that will just stress me and make me anxious (ISIS,Donald Trump, the fact that my student could openly bring a gun into my classroom!!!)

  10. Foxy Says:

    Life is SO Much easier when you DGAF about most of the things you encounter. I am slowly learning this. In my therapy they call it “boundaries and containment”. I much prefer the term DGAF.

  11. Becca Says:

    D NOT GAF:
    *Sports my spawn is not participating in
    *Economic “theories” that cannot be proven or disproven (i.e. unfalsifyable by their very nature)
    *Any opinion on the new $20 other than “wooo! Harriet Tubman!”
    *How my state got to be screwed up
    *non actionable aspects of climate change (solely due to fatigue)
    *how anyone feels about their vehicle
    *what lie trump is telling today (seriously, is anyone swayable by fact checking voting for trump?)
    *germs spread by hand dryers

    DO GAF:
    *world politics, outside of Israel and ISIS (fatigue on I & I due to election season)
    *how to fix lead poisoning
    *things I can do to fix climate change (ideally effectively)
    *generic proxy, generally true: whatever Amnesty International GAF about
    *getting soap without triclosan

  12. Debbie M Says:

    Do not GAF:
    * how computers work; why they aren’t working
    * sports rankings
    * gossip about famous people (who I don’t know)
    * what my hair is doing once I put it up for the day
    * wearing make-up or nail polish (and eyebrow plucking–I tried plucking an eyebrow hair a few times; it hurt and wouldn’t come out)
    * dents in my car (that won’t rust)
    * green things in my yard that are considered weeds but do not have burs
    * status
    * what the stock market is doing right now
    * time shares
    * what’s in style (unless maybe it’s a color I love that is normally hard to find in clothing)
    * being popular

    However, I did used to go to meetings. Most of them were good. Virtually all of the ones that weren’t had good food at them. The commutes were generally a nice walk across campus (or perhaps a quite hot walk across campus, but I still enjoyed getting out of the ridiculous A/C).

    I remember when I quit wearing make-up. Like many people, I started wearing it in middle school. But I didn’t wear it while working at summer camp. When I went to grad school, I had just finished working at summer camp and had not yet gotten back into the habit of putting make-up on. My dorm had a 3:1 male:female ratio, so I got plenty of attention anyway. And that was the end of that. Saves so much time and money! I do still shave, though–I’m used to it and can’t quite talk myself out of it.

    I also stopped being religious in college. If there were only one religion, I would be religious, but experience multiple ones, it stopped making sense for me. This was not super-liberating. I had to figure out my own way to be a decent human being (Girl Scouts helped, science on how to be effective when trying to be nice helped).

    Not worrying about being popular has probably been really great. There are so many issues I never had to deal with.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Oh, sports! Yeah, I don’t GAF about sports. Thanks for reminding me. So many fucks not given.

    • chacha1 Says:

      Great list of things not to give a fuck about. :-) I grew up going to a Presbyterian church and “believed” in that not-very-thoughtful way that adolescents believe … then took a comparative religion class in college as part of my anthropology minor, and that was the end of all that.

  13. undine Says:

    Today, in fact. Twice. The redacted versions:
    1. Yes, I know you want this and have successfully bullied other people into agreeing. Me, not so much. Not doing that. Nope. DGAF.
    2. I see your mean girl drama ways and am wise to them. You want me to engage? Nope. Done with it. DGAF.

  14. Revanche Says:

    Oooh I have to find that etsy link from which I am sending fucks to the people for whom I do in fact, give a fuck. There aren’t many so it won’t cost much.

    I’m DEFINED by my DGAFness by some people who haven’t figured out how to wield their own yet. I am admired for it. And it’s not even that unique, it’s just STRONG.

    I DGAF about other people’s drama, clothing, hair, or any of their other things that have nothing to do with me or mine; celebrities; flashy nonsense.
    I DO GAF about society, the people that live in it, our infrastructure, comics, the outdoors, positive, supportive relationships.

  15. First Gen American Says:

    Aside from your awesome list, I do GAF about my community.

    I don’t GAF about what other people think of me or being in certain parental/social cliques/work cliques. And so many people care so Much and end up spending enormous amounts of time with people they don’t even like. Eew.

    It was earth shattering when I discovered that just being the real me was enough….in fact, real me was a lot better than fake me Could ever be.

    Real me is an amazing filter…i love to be with the people who enjoy and appreciate real me…be it a job or a social circle or activist group. If they don’t get or appreciate real me, why am I even there?

  16. Alyssa Says:

    I immediately put this book on my Amazon wish list. I’ve been working slowly but surely to give less f*cks over the past few years. Unfortunately, I’m one of those people who is overly sensitive to things (especially when treated badly by others) and get easily hurt, so I GAF about stupid things sometimes.

    Things I DGAF about include: what other people read/wear/do in their spare time/etc., the parenting “debates”, having things perfect (I’m very much a “that’s good enough” person), the latest fitness/diet trends, celebrity “news” of any kind.

    Things I GAF about: doing the best things for my family, caring about my students & their success, wanting to get into the public school system (!!), keeping things generally clean and tidy, my health/fitness (but I know I need to start taking this more seriously).

  17. What Now? Says:

    I am also sensitive to other people’s comments, which means this is probably exactly the book I need to read! I’m getting it on Kindle right this very minute. (I’m also wondering if my mother could handle getting this book for Mother’s Day.)

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