A month or so ago, I met up with someone for a cup of coffee.
Since moving to Germany last year, my all-encompassing loneliness has been much like a drunk, washed up glam metal rockstar from 1982: out of control, sporting an aggressive mullet, and begging for attention. As a result, I’ve been making waaaaaay more of an effort to meet new people.
All in all, the person I hung out with was great. We swapped stories about life in Germany (she’s a transplant, too), belly laughed about bizarre German traditions, and talked about how hard it is living in a country where you don’t speak the language. We bonded in the way that two people bond when they’re in the same boat—and then set adrift out to sea. It was awkward and lovely and weird all the same time, as meeting new people mostly is.
As we were leaving, we talked about how we should meet up again soon, and I texted her as soon as I got home. I was buzzing from our meet-up (and the caffeine), and excited at the prospect of a quality new friend to fart around with.
A few days passed, and I didn’t hear anything back.
(Maybe she’s just busy.)
Two weeks went by with no new news.
(Maybe she’s just lost her phone.)
And now it’s been well over a month, and still nothing. Nada.
(Maybe she just doesn’t give a shit.)
The thing is: I do give a shit. About a lot.
And I’m so completely over this whole not-giving-a-shit movement. Somehow, it’s become Cool (with a capital C) to not give a shit—about anything. I worry that the message being shouted around the Internet—the thousands of articles a quick Google search just now brought up, instructing people how to give less of a shit—is being misinterpreted as being indifferent.
After all, there’s a stark and important difference between accepting that you’ll never change your mother’s ways/caring less about what she thinks of you—and simply not giving a shit about her at all anymore.
This whole not giving a shit thing is probably why Donald Trump, a man who seems to not give a shit about anything other than himself, is now in power. Because most people stopped giving a shit about their voice and their right and their responsibility to be the change, and left it to the minority of people who actually care, instead.
I worry that not giving a shit means less about proudly fighting for what you believe in, and more about coming across as composed, unphased, and tuned out. I worry that not giving a shit means less about total, whole acceptance about who you are at your core, and more about ambivalence and apathy.
It’s this ambivalence and apathy that worries me the most, actually, because it’s spreading like a raging and rampant infection. I’m seeing it everywhere: That rising tide of people who don’t care about their people, their passions, their purpose, or most importantly, their entire motherfucking life—all because it’s trendy to tamp down enthusiasm and blow it all off in the name of somehow being more by caring less.
Caring less that most nights, for months, they come home from work and spend hours and hours dicking around on the Internet and and ordering another supreme pizza, because fuck it, they’ll start over on Monday.
Caring less that they’re in a career that was was once their dream—and now it makes them want to jab a freshly sharpened pencil into the juicy flesh of their right eyeball.
Caring less that they have absolutely no concrete idea of what actually makes them feel like themselves anymore, so they numb out to boxsets on Netflix and even more boxed wine.
Caring less that they’re consciously avoiding situations that need their attention the most. The state of their aching and empty marriage. The panic attacks that hit on the way home from work. The full-body dread that takes over every time they get up in the morning.
The bottom line? I care that my new friend hasn’t texted me back.
I wonder why she didn’t give enough of a shit to hold to her word and show some integrity. And I feel hurt, wondering whether I did something wrong. (I’m human, after all.) But I also give more of a shit about why it hurts and why I’m wondering if I did something wrong.
This blazing curiosity and intense introspection matters more to me than simply brushing it off and not giving a shit. Than tuning out. Turning off. And turning a blind eye. Because I can do something with this. I can learn and grow and evolve from this. I can totally thrive from this—all because I give the most shits of all.
I’m determined to live in a vibrant, passionate world where people give more of a shit about their lives.
So the real question then becomes: are you willing to give a shit about yours?