The Older I Get, The Less F*cks I Give About What You Think

Photo: courtesy of the author

This is freedom.

My first year of college was basically hell.

I'd left a small, highly religious town in the Midwest for a very liberal East Coast college.

I was supposed to fit in there. I was a short-haired, Doc Marten-wearing feminist, and was sick of be considered the girl who could be pretty if she just stopped being so opinionated. My plan was to be exactly who I was in college, surrounded by others who were just like me.

But when I got there, I felt like I stood out even more. I was relatively unsophisticated, public school-educated, and in comparison, quite mainstream in my Gap jeans and 10,000 Maniacs concert tees. 

It wasn't until two decades later that I realized the problem was never my surroundings.

It was me.

Despite claiming to be the girl who didn't give a shit what anyone thought of her, I was actually the girl who noticed every single thing that made her different. The girl who felt every person's judgment, and took it personally.

But now that I'm older, I have lost the thing that made life hard for me: Fucks. 

That's right. Every single year I get older, the less fucks I have to give for other people's opinions of how I live my life. 

And here are 7 ways I grew to be the kind of woman who gives zero fucks:



I've embraced my own style.
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peggy walking

After my babies were born, I felt ashamed anytime I perceived myself to be out of style compared to my hip, non-mom friends. I'd had a few very fashionable years, but I no longer had the time (or budget) for that.

Then one of my trendiest, most fashionable friends said nine words that changed my life:

"If it looks good on you, it's good fashion."


For too many years after moving to Los Angeles, I've been worried about looking stylish.

But it's been four years since I picked up a fashion magazine (which is also a GREAT way to stop feeling shitty about your body), and I haven't looked back.

I wear what I want, what I think looks good on me, and forget the rest. 

Don't like what I'm wearing? Too bad! 


I stopped defining myself by who was attracted to me.
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push him in the pool

This is one of the hardest things to admit ... but I know I'm not alone.

For so much of my life, my main source of power, and even a part of my sense of identity, came from who was in love with me. 

With my first real love, who was very intelligent, I felt like my intelligence was validated by the fact that he chose me. 

With another ex, I felt like I must have been very stylish and beautiful because he was creative, and all about the visual.

This continued in a zillion transfigurations, until I got married. That was when I had a major crisis, because without being able to be with more than one person over the rest of my life, I didn't know how to find a sense of who I was, or get that self-esteem boost. When your self-esteem is that unstable, one guy alone (no matter how great) cannot satisfy your need for validation.

And so I did an ass-load of work on myself, and over time it became easier and easier to see myself for who I was.

The freedom that comes with leaving that behind is probably the best feeling of all.

I only wish I'd figured it out decades ago.

I know I'm pretty f*cking smart.
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reading on a train

The downfall of being a cute little girl is that people generally focus on the fact that you're pretty, and ignore the rest.

I'm not saying I was some supermodel, or that cuteness is some form of oppression, but I was the type of girl that got attention primarily for how I looked.

As a result, nobody seemed to worry when my grades fell, and there was little concern for my education, even when I didn't show up for my SAT test in high school. 

An adult even once told me that I'd land on my feet because I'd find a great husband.


The truth was, school was hard for me because I had serious issues paying attention. Sitting still was basically torture, and my mind constantly wandered. I was disorganized and couldn't remember anything. But nobody ever said a thing. 

It wasn't until I dropped out of college and eventually transferred into UCLA in my mid-twenties that i realized I might actually have a functioning brain. And it wasn't until my late thirties that I realized that I might be pretty f*cking smart. 

And that's when I really started loving life. I didn't give a shit whether someone thought I was stuck-up or nerdy for spouting facts or giving my opinion. I'm smart, and if you don't like that, it's not my problem. 


I realized it was okay to piss men off.
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it's a no

For too many years I believed that all men had to like me. 

Yeah, that's pretty toxic thinking. 

I don't know if it came from fear of the consequences of a guy disliking me (physical or social), or if it was just a part of what society had taught me my whole life, but I felt like if I couldn't define myself as a "guy's girl" I would be lost.

Even when I fervently disagreed with a guy or thought he was a bad person, some twisted and weird part of me was terrified he would stop liking me and so I was always very appeasing.

It was exhausting and couldn't continue.

After all, being an opinionated woman means you're going to piss off a lot of men. 

And that's okay.

I think everyone would agree that these days I have no fear of displeasing men!

I'm at home in my body ... finally.
Photo: weheartit

I spent 25 years feeling like my body was failing me in some way. Whether it was size, shape, or performance, I never thought it was good enough.

But after years of battling disordered eating and body image, I found peace. 

For years, after I had kids, I felt like people were thinking I shouldn't be wearing a bikini or looking at my "imperfect" belly. Over time, and with a commitment to giving zero fucks, I try to focus on thanking my body for sticking in there with me ... even when I was kind of a jerk to it. 

In fact, the last few years I'm kind of feeling myself. Sometimes I catch sight of my ass in a reflection and think, "Damnnnnnn..."

My ass isn't better than it was, I just kinda love it now. And I don't care if anyone thinks I'm full of myself.

Being full of love for yourself, even if it's just for passing moments, is a great thing. 

I figured out whose opinions matter ... and whose don't.
Photo: giphy
mrs obama leslie knope

Giving zero fucks doesn't mean you start living totally selfishly and decide to screw everyone else.

The best way to give zero fucks is to actually give more importance to the opinions of people you respect and care about, and let everyone else fall away. 

For me, that means being less defensive when people I care about, whose opinions I truly value, challenge me. Because I don't let everyone's opinions get to me, I'm better able to handle being called out when I'm acting like a jerk or doing something problematic. 

Ignoring everyone is a recipe for becoming an entitled asshole with no friends. The real freedom comes from knowing who matters ... and who doesn't. 



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