I love me some non-fiction — in fact, it’s all I seem to read at the moment — but I have mixed feelings when it comes to self-help books. There’s something about them that just seems a bit, well… wanky and pretentious.
I flew by myself for the first time at the start of 2017 and since I get quite nervous on planes, I downloaded a lot of new books on my Kindle to serve as a distraction. One of them was the much-raved-about The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight. It’s been all over the blogosphere over the last few months and I can see why.
It’s sweary, it’s straight to the point; it’s my kind of self-help book.
While it would be a massive cliche (and also a lie) if I said that it had changed my life completely, it’s definitely helped me to put things into perspective and figure out what’s important right now.
The key idea in The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck is that you budget the amount of fucks you have to give. By doing this, you can be fully focused on your priorities and stop caring about things that don’t matter to you.
Don’t want to go to a distant workmate’s birthday drinks because you want a night in? Don’t go — spend your evening on the sofa with Netflix and food. Bored of Aunt Jane and her constant, pointless Facebook posts? Unfollow her — you won’t have to see them anymore but you’ll avoid the awkward ‘Why aren’t we friends?’ conversation. The idea is to organise the fucks you have to give in a way that makes you happier, but without being rude about it.
So, with that in mind, today I’m sharing my fuck budget (so far!) and the plans I’ve made as a result.
Do give a fuck: Working somewhere with a friendly community feel, where I’m given support and the opportunity to develop. Working abroad. Improving a writer. Publishing a book.
Don’t give a fuck: Long commutes on crowded trains. Staying late when I don’t need to. Working in a job that makes me miserable. Working for free.
- Keep commuting time to 45 minutes at an absolute maximum.
- Organise my time efficiently, so I can finish on the dot each day having ticked everything off my list.
- Don’t take anymore internships.
- Plan my next steps, job-wise, when I get back to the UK (and then go abroad again as soon as I can).
- Go back to writing projects I’ve put on hold and look for ways to develop them.
- Join a writing group once I’m more settled.
Do give a fuck: Staying in contact with my family and seeing them as often as I can.
Don’t give a fuck: Having a family of my own. I have so much respect for anyone who has kids because of how difficult it must be, but I really don’t like children enough to push one out and then take care of it 24/7. I’m not going to have babies just because that’s what’s expected.
- Email, message, and Skype everyone regularly.
- Help to plan fun family meet-ups. (Not gonna lie, ours are normally based around food.)
- Politely disagree with anyone who tells me I must have children to be fulfilled, or because my parents would make wonderful grandparents. They would, but my brother is the one who wants a family.
Do give a fuck: Keeping in touch with friends and family, most of whom live a considerable distance away.
Don’t give a fuck: People I never see or speak to. I wish everyone well and I hope they’re happy and enjoying their lives, but do I want or need them on my newsfeed? No.
- I had a huge Facebook cull just before I sat down to write this and my god it was therapeutic. I deleted over 100 people and I may get rid of more.
Do give a fuck: Despite the odd craving for fried chicken and pepperoni pizza, going vegetarian is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I want to continue experimenting with recipes. Once I’m more settled somewhere I’d also like to start planning my meals in advance and batch-cooking on my days off.
Don’t give a fuck: Negative attitudes towards veganism and vegetarianism — people can be so bloody rude about it. I can either waste time getting angry, or I can keep writing about my experiences and answer any questions when asked.
- Find (and create) recipes for vegetarian meals on a budget.
- Figure out a routine for planning and making meals in advance.
- Buy a set of tupperware so I can take food on the go.
- Continue to write about vegetarianism. I lose blog followers every time I do but I also get the most thoughtful, engaging comments from you, so I don’t care. Comments make my day and I’m enjoying documenting my experiences of giving up meat and fish. (I’m still trying to reduce my dairy consumption but I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to cut it out completely, just cut down drastically.)
Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck? What do you think about having a fuck budget? Let me know, and feel free to leave links to similar posts in the comments — I’d love to read them!
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Beth, 26, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travelling, and gin.
I write about ethical & eco-friendly living, minimalism, and mental health, as I muddle through one step at a time. Enjoy!