I read this book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson a few months ago. It changed my life. There wasn’t anything particularly groundbreaking in it. The basis was, decide what you care about and f*ck the rest. Duh, right? That’s rarely what we actually do, though. It’s definitely wasn’t what I was doing.
EVERYTHING was a big deal to me. All of my issues, all of everybody elses issues, all of society’s issues. Since I was a little girl, I convinced I could save the world. How I would save it and what I was saving it from changed through the years, but I was convinced that I could do it. WOULD do it.
My conviction had already started dissipating before I read that book. I started wondering “Who the F am I to say what the world SHOULD be? I, a teenager. I, a twentysomething.”…I realized that in the grand scheme of things, I don’t know sh*t. None of us really do.
I have to admit that after that epiphany, when people act as though they have all the answers, I find it distasteful. I also have to admit that I still find myself doing it much more often than I’m comfortable with. It takes a conscious effort to keep my mouth shut when someone does/believes something I disagree with. I’m still a work in progress.
Anyway, I realized the I wasn’t getting an S on my chest and floundered a bit. I still needed a purpose. Wondered if the universe had assigned one to me. Discovered that there were quite a few options and realized maybe this wasn’t something I needed to FIND so much as CHOOSE. That’s a tall order. At least it was for me. Kind of. Not really.
In college, I took my first Philosophy class. It rocked my world and my life has never been the same. I immediately fell in love with theory and critical thinking and logic. My favorite thing to do became dissecting philosophical works, grappling with them, trying them on, and then deciding how plausible they were. I loved thinking more than I ever had before (which had been quite a bit).
I slowly started to realize that many people did not like thinking things through so thoroughly. That bothered me. It was a minor annoyance up until recent events in the country that showed me how desperately we needed thinkers. I knew I couldn’t completely wipe out the lack of critical thinking that abounds. But I knew I could help. I knew I HAD to help. The only way I could figure out how to do that was to become that philosophy teacher that shakes young minds to it’s core. To teach HOW to think instead of WHAT to think.
That isn’t going to be an easy feat for me. School and I haven’t been on the best terms for a long time. I no longer have the ability to drop everything for school. I’m in my late 20’s and have big girl bills to pay. If I went to school full-time and graduated in 4 years, I’m 32 years old when I get my Bachelors. Add another full-time two years and I’ll be 34 when I get my masters. Add another EIGHT FREAKING YEARS (the average) to get my PhD and I’m 42…42 years old with 12 years of student loans and a teachers salary.
Of COURSE I pick a mission that’s going to cost me a sh*t ton of both money AND time.
Then there’s this damn book. This book telling me to pick what’s important to me and f*ck everything else. My relationship with my family and friends is important to me. Self-care is important to me. Self-sufficiency is important to me, which is why working for myself and dealing with my financial situation is such a big deal….but….there’s a this thing that may be more important to me than self-sufficiency: Purpose. My purpose. My mission to add to the army of thinkers.
In the book, he says, choosing means giving up the alternatives. I’m 100% (well…let’s say 98%) prepared to give up the alternatives.