(This blog has swear words, truth-bombs, possibly offensive stuff and an affiliate link. There's your heads up)
I've had very few "life changing" moments in my 37 years. Moments that diverted the trajectory of everything....altered my world view....made things clear.
My grandmother Betty died in 2008. I had feared that moment since I learned what death was. The second I realized as a child of 5 or 6 that someday Grandma would not be around anymore, I lived my life in complete and constant fear of it happening. I held on tight to every solitary moment with her because "it could be the last". It wasn't really a fun way to live, and because of my overwhelming anxiety over the inevitable....I probably missed out on some "life" in there.
When it finally did happen, I kind of lost my shit for a bit. I felt set out into the world without a compass, because SHE was my base. She was there and all was right with the world and then suddenly she wasn't.
My greatest fear had become realized and I was terrified of what it was going to do to me.
In reality, it really "did" very little. I grieved. Big time. I held on to any little piece of her I had left. I would cry and be sad....but years pass, as they do, and the grief dissipates into a regular old missing. I survived it. Even though I feared it.
We live our lives in a constant state of avoiding fear, fearing fear, fearing failure, and fearing death. This sucks. There's no other way to say it. Living your life this way sucks. But, it's what we are trained to do. We don't talk about death because it's scary. We don't talk about things we are afraid of because we are afraid of them and....duh...TALKING about that will make all that true. Then we have to admit that we are weak. We don't attempt things we may fail at because we live our lives in the wide open social network and people will SEE our failure...they will notice it...they will point....they will laugh.
This is how I live my life. Lived. Do live. Still living, I suppose.
I purchased a book (I had a gift card. Naturally). It was by Mark Manson and it's called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. The title itself drew me in. Because I was really tired of giving a fuck about SO much that I knew, in my heart of hearts, didn't matter.
Over the past few months I've found myself starting to get worked up about something and then asking myself "OMG...WHY DO I CARE!" or, even better, WHY DO THESE OTHER PEOPLE CARE!?! And do I have to care if THEY care if I care about them? (Whoa.) And if I don't care....does that make me a gigantic douche canoe?
I am self-employed and I work in an industry (photography/weddings/seniors) that is very centered on "cool". Looking cool, seeming cool, seeming worldly and well-traveled and cosmopolitan.
Since the advent of Instagram this has increased ten-fold because now we are expected to have nicely curated feeds with "color schemes" that are pleasing to scrollers. We should be handing out various encouraging tidbits of wisdom along with our beautiful images. We should be constantly encouraging....we should be worried about our reach, our ROI, our tribe, and our message. We should always be aware that someone is watching and any misstep into the reality of our extremely pedestrian, real situation will cause them not only to not hire us and give us money, but to unfollow us and drag our names through the internet mud.
I can be a bit dramatic, eh?
But I started to worry about things like "What filter matches the "feel" of my current feed" or "If I say what I really think about whatever current situation is going on in our industry, will I lose friends/followers/clients?"
OMG. WHY DO I CARE!
Because we ALL DO. Hell, marketers RELY on us being all anxiety ridden with giving far too many fucks about shoes, hair, cars, iPhones, nail wraps, fidget spinners, pancakes, eyebrow shapes, and/or Kylie Jenner's newest appropriated hair-do. And while we are drifting through life handing out our fucks like so much parade candy, the things that DO REALLY MATTER are getting little to no attention....because we are afraid.
I fear my kids getting older and leaving.
I fear my parents dying.
I fear one day people will just STOP hiring me and I'll be without an income.
I fear dying.
I fear cancer.
I fear people being mad at me.
See.....we are big old bags of anxiety and fear and wanton fuck-giving.....and people are preying on this human behavior to sell us stuff.
Shit, I'm gonna give you an affiliate link at the end of this. Click on it. Buy the book. It's good. Or don't. Whatever.
But that's how it is right now. We are afraid of the real stuff so we cling to the bullshit because it makes us FEEL good in the moment.
We get a rush from our favorite lifestyle-influencer-You Tube Star telling us to reach for our dreams, because apparently it never occurred to us to do so otherwise.
We get an absolute jones for MORE celebrity gossip, more things to be offended by, funny or inspiring memes shared on Facebook, people on Social Media telling us we are good, pretty, right, amazing, or agreeing with us that we are victims and how DARE someone make us that way.
Because the real stuff is scary.
So, what the hell does any of this have to do with personal finance?
We spend. We spend like insane people with unlimited credit limits chasing that immediate but fleeting high of STUFF. Stuff to make us happy, pretty, cool, and influential. We post our stuff on Facebook or Instagram and we say "SEE....I'm happy, pretty, cool, and influential. Buy this!"
And we do.
This book I bought with my birthday gift card was one of those books where I finished it....I closed the cover and I took a big, deep breath. Because everything I had been wrestling with, all my anxiety and my fears and my frustrations with my job and social media and people in general were all laid out there in funny, relate-able prose.
So is it life-changing? Maybe. Seems a bit shallow to say 1 book may have changed my life. It certainly has changed the way I've approached selling my services to people, relating to my clients and my peers, and the way I see the world in general.
I hope it changes my fear. I hope I can feel fear and jump anyway. I hope the closer I get to 40 I can slow down the liberal handing out of fucks. Because we only have so many to give.....save them for what counts.
Here's the affiliate link to the book. Affiliate links to stuff I love and use helps me keep the blog goin'. I appreciate your support! Check it out HERE.