"I don't care."
Probably one of the most frequently employed phrase of adolescents. At least, when I was an adolescent, it was likely the most common response to most anything. Maybe I was an inordinately sullen girl, I don't know. I'm not sure how you were when you were the delightful age of 12, but I know that pretty much nothing mattered to me enough to say anything. Actually, beneath all that apparent apathy, I think there must have been a great deal of fear. Insecurity, perhaps; that standing out in stating an opinion somehow would make me draw attention to myself, which (for most of us) is the absolute LAST thing we want in Jr High. Maybe it was even the desire not to offend or hurt someone else by having a difference of opinion. Don't get me wrong. I am most definitely certain that I have always been abnormally opinionated; it's just a matter of whether or not I would share my feelings. In fact, the response, "I don't care," usually meant that I very much cared and that I knew I was not about to come even close to having my desired outcome, so, really...what's the point? So yeah. At 12, I DON'T care. And yeah, I kind of resent that I can't.
"I don't care!"
Throughout my 20s, the spirited enthusiasm which came through being an overtly passionate individual would usually give way to the highly agreeable singsong response, "I don't care!" Whatever was good for my friends was probably good by me...I mean, as long as we are together, what does it matter where we go or what we do? I knew we're going to have a great time and make a great night and create some awesome memories and just get closer and become better friends. While I was stoked most of the time about most of whatever I happened to be involved with, it didn't so much matter if I was at the helm of the ship, so long as I was on a good boat. Either way, I knew it was going to be a party.
"I don't care."
Lately I've been feeling like maybe the immense manic decade and a half of my life was either absurdly optimistic or that I'm going through some kind of punk attitude akin to my Jr High years. I find myself doing a lot of things I like a lot- alone. And I don't care. I find that I'd rather spend time with one or two people that I really appreciate and value and find interesting, than surround myself with a plethora of people in order to be busy on any given night. I've been wondering what happened to the super-optimistic, bubbly character I had become so accustomed to being...it was like I was the best part of everything I liked being. Where did I go? And how did I end up so sullen all over again?
And then I realize; I'm not sullen. I just don't care!
I love my friends- I don't need to have so many people around me that I can't have a coherent conversation!
I love live music- I don't need someone else by my side to immerse myself in the beauty and fire that comes from a live performance!
I love the theatre- I don't need someone to buy my ticket in order to laugh and cry and indulge myself in the lost art of good acting and a rigorous imagination.
I love art- I love getting to look at something that someone else has cared and nurtured so much and then stopping and considering all the thought that must have gone into their work.
I love being active- the best part of a hike or snowboarding or working out are those silent moments of clarity when there is no chatter noise or distraction, but simply peace and appreciation for the strength and health of a body that works and of the expansive nature and cool air of the wilderness.
I don't want to convince anyone else that what I like is good. I don't need to explain why something is enjoyable or deep or interesting. I don't need to feel justified for being who I am or doing what I like. I just don't care. I like who I've become, and it just doesn't matter if anyone else does- because the best thing about realizing you don't care is knowing that you do.
Go ahead. Tell us one thing you did this week that you were totally loving when it didn't even matter what anyone else might have thought. Maybe you'll find out someone else doesn't care if they get to appreciate it with you.