Nimue Brown shared a list of all the stuff she doesn’t do, after reading a list of stuff that Holly Wainwright, an Australian blogger, doesn’t do.

With the overwhelming amounts of lifestyle advice available, it is a wonder that we don’t all just give up and hide under a duvet.

Holly Wainwright writes:

Superwoman Syndrome has shaken off its shoulder pads, pulled on its activewear leggings and buddied up with Hustle Culture to provide you a continual feed of All The Ways You Could Be Better.  If you’re a woman with a child, then throw in a dose of Peak Parenting, and the bar for a successful life is now so high the Hubble telescope would squint.

And this isn’t just happening to women (though I think we get even more lifestyle advice than men). Men’s magazines have workouts and skincare routines. And probably DIY and car maintenance sections.

I think things need to get more realistic. No one should feel inadequate for not having a skincare routine and all that jazz.

So here’s my “I don’t…” list:

  • I don’t work out.
  • I don’t have a skincare routine (I wash my face. I put moisturizer on it when my skin gets dry, and cleanser if I get a zit).
  • I don’t wear makeup.
  • I don’t iron my clothes. I haven’t ironed anything for approximately twenty years, maybe thirty. And even then it was very occasional.
  • I don’t do housework (except if it gets really dusty).
  • I don’t cook every day. I miss cooking, though. I make curry on Fridays.
  • I don’t count calories (when I diet, I try to do ones that don’t involve calorie counting. Yes I know dieting is bad but being overweight is putting strain on my joints.)
  • I don’t have an exercise routine (I do go to Tai Chi, which is awesome).
  • I don’t lean in. (If you don’t know what “lean in” means, consider yourself fortunate. Leaning in is BS, as this article explains.)
  • I don’t have a career plan. I can identify a trajectory or a common factor across the various jobs I’ve done: it’s communication.
  • I don’t read self-improvement books.
  • I don’t (and have never, and would never) get advice from a life coach.
  • I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.
  • I don’t meditate or do mindfulness (I’m one of those people for whom meditation and mindfulness practices are harmful).
  • I don’t have a daily spiritual practice. I’ve tried over the years, but nothing has ever stuck. The nearest I ever got to a daily spiritual practice was noticing and writing about small beauties: the everyday sights and sounds and smells of Nature.
  • I don’t feel guilty about most of the above (except the ones where someone else picks up the slack).

As Pagans, we are somewhat insulated from the expectations of mainstream culture. We have our own aesthetic and we have other goals in life. But some of these might create undue pressure or unrealistic expectations.

If you’re going to set goals for yourself, make them something you’re going to enjoy doing (or enjoy not doing).

One of the best things I ever discovered in life was to do the things that make me happy, not follow other people’s expectations. I’ve always been like that about fashion. As a child, when other kids pointed out that my clothes were not fashionable, I said that I wear clothes because I like them, not because they are fashionable. I asked them if they liked what they were wearing, and why. They said they liked it because it was fashionable. There were other areas of my life where I did do things according to what other people thought I should do. They didn’t work out, because my heart wasn’t in them. I don’t give advice to other people, except for this: follow your heart, not other people’s expectations.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my books.

8 thoughts on “Nope

  1. Yvonne,
    This post reminds me of a statement made by a close friend – ‘An Existentialist is a Calvinist who has discovered they are not one of the Elect’, and my addition, ‘A Witch is someone who would never want to be one of the Elect, as then I would have to spend eternity with Calvinists’

    The ‘things I do culture’ is pure Calvinism, obsessive actions to prove ones spiritual worthiness to those who judge (with my own inner conversation being directed to my own personal Lord High Executioner). Idle time may be the Devil’s Playground, but please tell me what the hell is wrong with a playground?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the culture of doing all the things is incredibly harmful, but I think that intention matters in everyday things as it does in everything. For example, I cook because I love to and it’s my creative outlet, and I clean as a devotional offering to myself and my space, which makes it different than doing it because I feel like I “should” do it, does that make sense?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love cooking and do it because I love it (just not doing it right now).

      I totally agree with doing things because you love them.

      The purpose of the nope list is to share that not everyone does all the things that we are “supposed” to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My list of pointless activities is pretty similar. I do Qigong every day for grounding and the sake of my ageing joints. Also, I go for a walk every day with my daughter and my husband if he can join us. We take treats to a rescue horse that lives in the field near us, shoot the breeze and admire the trees. Spectacular at the moment. I just love autumn. But now it is time to do some minimalist housework and I know I will enjoy the look of a clear counter top.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How lovely!

      I did enjoy konmari-ing my clothing and towels recently. (The aspect of konmari where you roll everything up, not the “does this spark joy?” part.)

      I also enjoy tidying up, especially when it’s done. I recently tidied our back porch — and lo, order was created from chaos!


  4. Pingback: Yes! | Dowsing for Divinity

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