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.