Wednesday, October 12, 2011

There Once Was A List From Nantucket...The Dept. Is NSFW

One idyllic afternoon on the Lake House deck, my sister Patti and I were entertaining our mother, St. Patsy, with bad language (mostly me) and philosophy (largely Patti).  It was the kind of discussion that started innocently enough and soon became wide-ranging and free-flowing and all sorts of other participial hyphenated predicate adjectives.  You know?

Anyway, there was alcohol involved, so....

We were three older chicks sitting around bitching when I made the boozy pronouncement that "Life is too short.  It's time to cut a lot of stress loose.  More than half of my life is over.  It's time to live." (Hey.  I didn't say it was profound.)  This is when my sister introduced her List.

Oh, not That List.  Although, Patti is plenty self-actualized and I'm sure she has one.  And not one of those groan-inducing Life Lists that have taken over the Interwebs wherein bloggers all join virtual hands and help each other realize dreams big and small, like "Be a clown for a day!" and "Knit my own hammock" or "Fly a hovercraft."  Life Lists are inspired by Bucket Lists but are so much more POSITIVE!!  Well, Patti's List is inspired symphonically by the Bucket List and is called...ahem...The Fuck It List.

A true Fuck It List is a lineup of stuff that we are legitimately still concerned about.  Now, however, we have laid it out and asked ourselves the sterling question:  WHY?
And the answer is--you guessed it--Fuck It.

For example:  I have, in our thirty years of marriage, beseeched, pleaded, exhorted, and admonished Rick to let me know when he was using a ladder to go on the roof or to clean the gutters.  I would stand at the bottom and hold said ladder, I explained early on, for safety's sake.  About fifteen years ago, I gave up that crusade and settled for "At least let me know when you are going up there so that I will look out now and then to make sure you're not lying on the ground for too long if you fall." Now, Fuck It. He still rarely, if ever, tells me he's going to use a ladder. If it's not important to him, why should I get so calisthenic over it and lose valuable Serenity Time? 

The idea of the Fuck It List is life-changing for me.  It's all about acceptance as well as rejection.  It works for people,  it works for relationships, it works for everything:  Why are you sweating that?  Why are you so invested in it?  Why are you the only one who cares? If you cannot provide cogent, grounded, valuable reasons for these questions (known as the Why Filter of the Fuck It List), then something needs to go on the FIL.

I cannot begin to tell you how many things I have run through the Why Filter of the Fuck It List since I have been retired from teaching.  It's as if that part of my brain had been dormant or atrophied.  Why didn't anyone tell me about this sooner?  Have you all been keeping this from me on purpose? 

Better yet, what's on your Fuck It List?


  1. A squeaky clean house. Manicured nails. Reading the novels on the honours lists. Paying attention to my husband's criticisms and instructions. Well, that's a start. I have been at this longer than you have, but never knew what to call the list. Now I do.

  2. What Mary G said, plus: For 20 years my husband and I have been fighting about whether or not he is a baby boomer. Last weekend he read some article about baby boomers and declared me The End of the Boomers and exonerated himself from being a boomer. He knows this is a button to push with me. I refused to fly into a tizzy. I simply asked him what advice the article had. He was thrown for a loop and started pacing around, then said, "Why aren't you fighting back that I AM a boomer?" I replied, "I'm frankly sick of the issue."

  3. I'm much more mellow about things after almost 21 years of marriage - when I was younger everything was Very Important.

    I don't have a list, per se, but I will make a spontaneous decision to let go of something if I run out of time or energy (or money!).

  4. I, too, have an Eff-it List. It's been around for a while and if it were rope, you could wrap it around the world several times. So I'll just give you today's little Eff-it:

    Workin' all day long trying to get a new textbook package that students can actually afford. Just when the publisher's deal starts looking reasonable, they tell me, "Of course, you'll have to add a 25% mark-up from the bookstore." So Ortizzle says: Fuck it, Follett!

    On another note: Julie Andrews prancing around the lively hills chirping "Look at all the fucks I give" is the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. You're awesome, woman.

  5. Ortizzle--Oh, why aren't we neighbors? So sad. Anyway. That graphic of Julie makes me laugh out loud, literally, every time I look at it. I have no idea where it is from originally. I just Googled "Fuck It" on an Image search, and there it was. so wonderful. College textbooks are just ripe for a congressional investigation, but we all know why that won't happen. The fact that you care makes YOU awesome, woman.

    Bug--I think you really got to the core there when you said that it's an age thing. When you're in your twenties, you don't sweat anything, but when you start raising kids and building a family or building a life with a partner, whether it be spouse or business, you suddenly become invested in EVERYTHING. Later, things start to sort of plateau. That's when the Fuck It Philosophy looks best.

    Sputnik--Not arguing with me about something I deeply care about may never go on the FIL. THAT is my hot button for life, perhaps. Nothing frosts my cupcakes more than someone with no passion for...SOMETHING. But, certainly, when you've finally added something to the FIL, let it lie. Bravo for you. And, may I say, who the fuck cares who is and who isn't a Baby Boomer? BFD.

    Mary g--When I think of all the time and effort I put into doing my nails way back when, I could spit. ON MY NAILS. What a waste. Yes, they looked pretty, but I actually agonized over it. Now, due to medication side-effect, my nails are thin and peely, so I just cut them short and don't think twice about it. As far as Husband Critiques--Rick has never. I'll count myself as Lucky now.

  6. I don't think I have a list, but early on, reading a book about parenting, I read something about choosing your battles and letting other things GO, really letting them go. And saying yes whenever possible, because we say no so often, it's good to say yes when we can. I took these philosophies to heart, so I don't generally sweat the small stuff with my daughter, my marriage, or my job. Are there things I still haven't really let go of, that I should? Yes. I need to work on them. Perhaps a fuck it list is just the way to get rid of them.

  7. I'm saying fuck it to folks who won't cover their own backs. Simple stuff like that.

  8. Mage--Intriguing. Can you provide an example?

    J.@jj--Very Californian. LOL. Just kidding. Actually, very Dr. Spock, some would say, at least those who accused him of being at the heart of Parent Permissiveness. But I completely agree. Picking your battles is something I heard from my sister Patti, mother of four, and someone who started on her Motherhood Voyage much earlier than I did. As I said in a post I wrote in tribute to her a few years ago, she taught me a TON about life, parenting, and so many other things. Continues to, in fact. I love the Philosophy of Saying Yes, though, and it is one I am embracing NOW. I lived by The No my entire life. I could find an excuse NOT to do stuff for...well, EVER. Now, I'm done saying no. You and Mikey G. have reaffirmed the Say Yes Philosophy for me. But, returning to your original point, it's sadly true. Parents instinctively say No so often. Your daughter is fortunate that you read that book.

  9. Mikey G.11:31 PM

    Nance - Start planning your trip to San Francisco ;-)


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