The Life-Changing Magic of Getting Over It

Emily Zimiris

“New year, new me” is a phrase I’ve never used, because my usual New Year's goals have typically been based off of having new experiences instead of changing as a person. Hence, I never had the urge to actively change something about myself every year. But this year is different. During the past year, I have had perhaps the most hardships in my entire life in the span of only a year. Between dealing with mental illness, my mother's sickness, applying to college, losing friends, having troubling family relations, and just trying to figure out where I belong in the world, 2017 is officially “the year that shall not be named." 2017 left me feeling like I had experienced so much that it would be odd if I didn’t start off the new year as a new person. The things that had the biggest impact on me were overall very negative, so I wanted to change something that would help me cope with the recent changes in my life and enable me to move on so that I wouldn’t be held back from reaching my goals in this new year. That’s where the book The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck comes in.

The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight is a book my mother gave me to help me deal with the stress and anxiety that I've been building up during these past few months. It took me a while to actually start reading it because I tried to keep things together by caring even more than before, but in all honesty, that wasn’t healthy. It got to the point that I was staying in unhealthy relationships, keeping toxic people in my life, and doing whatever people told me to do. When I realized that I needed to stop this habit, I began to read.

The book is very inspiring in its truthful and straight-to-the-point structure, which allowed me to reflect upon myself within the first chapter. So I took the first step; I cut ties with a toxic friend. She wasn’t solely to blame in regards to what went wrong between us, but there’s no denying the fact that while I was always loyal towards her and helped her in all her times of need, she just wouldn’t do the same for me. We stayed near each other and forced conversations because, since we’ve known each other for so long, it’s what we felt we had to do. We did anything to fill the silence because we both knew what that silence meant for us. I stayed because I didn’t want her to feel as if I was just leaving her behind because I was selfish. However, while reading this book I came to a part which stated “Not giving a f*ck—crucially—means releasing yourself from the worry, anxiety, fear, and guilt associated with saying no, allowing you to stop spending time you don’t have with people you don’t like doing things you don’t want to do.” So I put myself first and let her go.

Feeling the relief of moving in the right direction, I decided to go even further and stop letting the opinions of others discourage or embarrass me for being the type of individual I am. An example of this isthough it may seem juvenilemy interest with horror films. Recently I stumbled upon the movie Hush on Netflix, and I was completely in love with the storyline. The film revolves around a strong female lead who, despite being deaf and mute, finds a way to save herself from a masked murderer who enjoys taunting her. I showed this movie to someone else, and within the first 15 minutes they judged me for wanting to watch such a gory film and told me that I shouldn’t watch something with such content. I would’ve understood if they had just told me they didn’t like horror films, but for them to respond to me like that and think of me differently simply because of the type of film genre I like made me feel as if I’d done something wrong. I began to have thoughts like, “Is there something wrong with me?” Why do I like horror films?" “Am I sick?”. It isn’t in just this situation either. Some people genuinely can’t deal with the idea of others liking something besides what they do. It’s beginning to be so common now that it’s getting ridiculous! People don’t understand why I listen to K-pop when there is perfectly good music in America, why I cut my hair so short, or why I want to get out of my home state. All of these things are being scrutinized by other people when in reality, their opinions don’t matter. I’m going to continue watching horror films while listening to K-pop and adorning my freshly cut short hair.

I want to finish this off on a more positive note, because I don’t want it to seem as if 2018 is my year of letting apathy take over. I am following some of the steps in this book because there are things that I truly want to do and overcome this year. After all, this is the year I turn 18, start college, move out on my own, and truly become an independent person. I can’t continue on and become the person I want to be if I keep worrying about satisfying people who want to completely change me or generally don’t even care about me.

To solidify my plans for this year that I hope to accomplish, here is a short list of goals for 2018:

  • Go to a concert with friends
  • Travel to Europe
  • Go to a film festival
  • Make a new friend
  • Have an accomplishment that makes my parents super proud
  • Go beyond someone’s expectations
  • Make myself proud

Happy 2018, everyone!

By Alana James

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