Disclaimer: This article contains a well-known curse word loved, used, and abused the world over. If strong language offends you, you can skip this one. However I'm going to continue using the proper nomenclature, because (a) it's used in only the most positive, life-affirming, and splendiferous way, and (b) I just added "not cursing in my writing" to my Fuck It list. Enjoy.
We’re all familiar with the concept of the Bucket List: a list of activities, experiences, and goals you’d like to accomplish before you bid this life adieu. Sometimes though, it’s just as important to decide what’s NOT important to you as it is to decide what is important. This is where the concept of the Fuck It list comes into play.
What is the Fuck It list?
The Fuck It list is the Bucket List’s evil twin; a list of items that you really just don’t give a rat’s ass about accomplishing. The Fuck It list is a pretty powerful tool to help you focus your energy and decision-making on what is truly important to you and fully cut ties with what isn’t. The more we can do to tune out the bullshit, the better. (Three curses in the first paragraph? I hope you’re still with me…)
As you grow on your journey to unboring, you’ll try a bunch of new experiences and undoubtedly your focus on what is most important to you will change. This might result in adding a few related items to your bucket list, but more often than not your Fuck It list will be the real beneficiary of your experience. When you’ve explored enough to gain a real understanding of what values, experiences, and relationships are most important to you moving forward, your focus on your real goals makes it infinitely easier to cast off any experiences that you just know won’t be important to you.
And one of the advantages of dipping your toes in many different new things is that a lot of those things will not be for you, and you’ll know it almost immediately with very minimal investment in time and energy. Tried your hand at web design and knew immediately it wasn’t for you? Boot it to the Fuck It list, and feel the weight of one more consideration leave your shoulders.
Building your Fuck It list
Building your Fuck It list is best done as an offshoot of defining your own values and areas of interest. Just like in diet or exercise, defining your fitness or health goals (e.g. boosting your maximal squat, or gaining muscle, or hitting a target weight) will help you eliminate the types of training or nutrition that doesn’t help you reach your goals. Once you’ve written off these methods, it’s much easier to filter through the advice of friends, colleagues, or the internet to concentrate on what will help YOU, and ignore the advice that helps someone with different goals. Just like there is no exercise program that is perfect for everyone, there is no one-size-fits all bucket list.
Sometimes Fuck It list fodder is best taken from the bucket list highlights of others. Your friends and family might have a few lofty goals and worthy endeavors that, although to them represent crowning achievements, don’t really rev your engine. These are sometimes the best fuck it list items, because other people, the media, and society will do a great job of talking them up. If you’ve already written them off, you can ignore all the noise and focus your energy and exploration into new areas, or into activities you know are up your alley.
This is how I’ve started to formulate my fuck it list. I’m still just beginning, so it’s pretty light. But I can breathe easy knowing that I don’t have to waste an ounce of energy thinking about the following items. I’ll also try to include how I settled each of these examples.
1. Running a marathon. This one was easy. My short-term fitness goals include building strength and a bit of muscle, looking like I’ve at least had brushes with athleticism, and being well-equipped to be socially active doing things I love like playing basketball, kickball, or clowning around at the beach. So although I have the utmost respect for those who train for marathons and other tests of endurance, it’s not going to get me into the kind of shape I’d like to be in. It’s not something I feel I need to prove to myself or anyone else, and by safely ignoring it I can focus on my real goals without the distraction of switching up my training.
2. Becoming a millionaire. This one came out of some self-evaluation and realizing where my values lie. I’ve always been of the mindset that experiences and relationships are worth way more than money in the bank, and although I think that financial stability and freedom is important, I believe this stability is worthwhile because of the happiness and health it helps provide for you and those around you. It’s not a goal you reach at a certain net worth or with a certain number of zeroes before the decimal point on your bank statement. If I ended up with a million dollars, I’ll be the last one to complain – but I’m not living my life explicitly to get there. This also brings up another great point about the Fuck It list – these don’t have to be items you’ll never do, just items you don’t have to explicitly strive toward.
3. Drive coast-to-coast alone. This is an example of an item I sniped from someone else’s bucket list; specifically, the excellent “75 Things Every Man Should Do” list from esquire.com. Although I found the entire list enjoyable and even earmarked a few items that might make it on my own bucket list, I found a few that were perfect Fuck It list fodder, including #7, “Drive by yourself from coast to coast.” This sounds really awesome, and I commend anyone who does it, but it’s just not something that revs my engine (no pun intended). Doing it with a few close friends? Now we might be talking.
Please note I’m not passing judgement on any of the above items, they just aren’t my cup-o-tea. One of these items on your bucket list? Great! That’s what makes us unique, and that’s what makes this my Fuck It list and not yours.
Undoubtedly I’ll add to this list as I get older. In fact, I might even remove some things. If one of these items really becomes important to me, it could get knocked off the Fuck It list – but I know it will just happen if it happens, no need to plan for it. I’m much better off investing my energy into the goals I have today.
Start your “Fuck It” list today!
Do you have a fuck it list yet? If not, take 3 or 4 minutes to jot down a few activities, accomplishments, or achievements that you just don’t give a flying fuck about. Put it somewhere safe (I keep mine in [Evernote]). Every time you try something and decide it won’t make you happier or enhance your life, add it to the list.
Start by looking at your bucket list (or if you don’t have one yet, think about some of your specific short- or long-term goals) and think about a few items that, while cool and worthwhile for some, would derail you from reaching those goals. Jot those items down first.
Next, take a look at one or more of the copious “Things every man/woman should do” or “things to do before you die” lists. In fact, go take a look at our [bucket list] items on this site; you might see a few right off the bat that make you think “well, that’s something I don’t care if I ever do.” Add those to your list and then forget about them and move on to something more important. The beauty of the Fuck It list is that if your outlook ever changes, it’s really easy to remove something; but until it does, you don’t have to bother wasting one ounce of energy thinking about it.
Start by writing down 3 or 4 things to get your list started. It shouldn’t take more than 5 or 10 minutes, and once you have the list started and somewhere readily available, you’ll be much more likely to add to it when you think of something new.
Started your list already? Let’s hear some of the goals you won’t be wasting any time or energy on in the comments section below!