December 04, 2015

I Don't Want To, And You Can't Make Me.

I've spent almost my entire life doing what other people wanted me to do—with notable exceptions. I didn't marry the man everyone said I should marry. I didn't stay at the school everyone said I should stay at.

But generally, I'm a peace keeper, a team player, a good-time girl, a Jill of all trades, an olive-branch hander, a white-flag waver. I don't rock the boat. I won't shake the tree. I never spill the milk. I rattle nobody's cage.

I've been cajoled, badgered, bullied, bamboozled. (Love that word.) I take full responsibility. I thought that's what you were supposed to do. Be easy going. Be a yes man. Be a do-be not a don't-be.

This year, I've been working to make a difference. Small changes, perhaps, but notable to me:

I have broken bad habits. (Well, I'm working on breaking bad habits.)
I have tried to find my arc. (Look at me in the tree.)
I've searched for the positive (and fairies fucking in batteries).

And I've failed at all of that and broken down in public. (Like you do.)

But here's something I've been mulling over, kicking around, toying with... There are things you don't have to do if you don't want to. No, really. Look at your schedule. Check your lists. (Check them twice, if you want. 'Tis the season.) There are emails you don't have to answer. Phone calls you don't have to return. Groups you can not join. Boards you don't have to serve on. Cupcakes you don't have to bake. (If you're like me. And not a baker.) There are movies you don't have to watch, articles you don't have to read. Parties you don't have to attend.

I mean, that has to be a plus in the sea of negatives regarding aging.

Now, I'm not suggesting you should live in a cave with no human interaction. I'm simply saying this:

Do you want to fill-in-the-blank? No? Then don't. 

In the past, I have been slammed into deadlines I knew were bad for me. I have been coerced into jobs I had no desire to do. Guilted into situations that felt unending and unrelenting.

Sure, there are things we can't get away from. (Taxes always comes up.) But I've jettisoned so much extra fluff, so many expectations weighing on me that were placed there by others, I am ending this year much lighter than when I started.

Surprisingly, I am becoming very good at not doing what I don't want to. You can no longer drag me by my wrist to an event I have no desire to attend. But the thing is, if you took me by the wrist into somewhere I wanted to go, I am there. I am yours. I am more than 1000% present. If we stood against the wall and watched the writhing bodies in the room, breathed in the heat and musk and raw scent of human sexuality, then, baby, I won't leave until they turn the lights on.

And I might not even leave then.

Because here's the unexpected and lovely flip side of not doing what you don't want to. You have so much more time to do what you want to do. Whether you spend yours at an orgy, or elsewhere, that's entirely up to you. (I want pictures.)



Miz Angell said...

This has been on my mind a lot lately. I always thought that the bonus of being an adult was picking and choosing what you want to do. Unless it's an obligation. Like my life - always obligations that I don't want to do.

I'm hoping that soon I'll be able to say "I don't want to" and have people listen.

Giselle Renarde said...

I am sooo good at saying no. Always have been. People probably think I'm rude but I don't care. It's wonderful.

I conduct my writing business the same way. If I don't want to make some business move, I just don't do it. And I stagnate and my sales stink, but guess what? It's MY business. If I want to be hard-headed about something, there's no one to stop me. I don't have any high capitalist hopes. Many of the people I know who have succeeded financially (people who make far more money in one month than I make in an entire year) are miserable.

Why would I want to stress myself out and be unhappy? That sounds terrible.

Clifford Carruthers said...

In my best British accent I say, "Here, here. Bloody good!"