Why Are We Waiting So Long To Not GAF?


Daily, I find myself wondering, will it ever be enough? Will I even know when I’ve achieved this elusive internal utopia? Does it actually exist? How does one draw the line between contentment and complacency? At what point does acceptance and presence become a good old-fashioned case of settling?

Jen Anderson’s piece on Human Parts about self-improvement fatigue got me thinking a lot about ugly shoes. A friend recently bought a pair of hideous but incredibly comfortable, nearly orthopedic sandals. They look like something your aunt would wear, not the cool one who lives in the city but the one who wears necklaces from Skymall (RIP), and who is sort of insufferable but who, as you get older, you start to admire. You admire them both really, because they both seem completely content with who they are. My friend with the ugly shoes was incredibly excited about them, and sighed that she couldn’t wait until she was old enough to, like these imaginary aunts, actually not give a fuck.

But why are we waiting so long?

On one hand, there’s a certain level of granny fashion happening among what is possibly a very small contingent of media people with weird opinions and loud voices. Caftans are in, you know? Maybe we already are ready to live our best lives. But on the other, so many young women (and I assume men) see their DGAF years as a future goal, as if there’s a magical age where we’ll be able to let go and stop caring and find that contentment (usually it’s placed somewhere around 40). We’re tapping into DGAF culture with the caftans and the “mom jeans” and the ugly sandals, which have typically been the sartorial choices of older women, but we won’t allow ourselves the lifestyle yet.

I won’t deny that age helps, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Time just gives us more opportunities to accept our minds and bodies, to find people who know us for ourselves and to ditch those who don’t care, and so sort out what makes us happy. But it also gives us more opportunities for other things to happen. There will always be a thing.

Believe me, I’m all for the fashion — I have a black halter top jumpsuit that makes me look like a washed up disco queen and I’d wear it every day if I could. I’m also all for self-care and meditation and leaning out and you doing you. But there’s this idea that it has to start later, at some intangible date when the grind is done, and that’s just not the case. I think everyone knows there’s no such thing as that “elusive internal utopia,” no matter how much you’ve lived and learned and gotten over it.

I want to just not give a fuck now, if utopia is never coming. Not in like an “abandon all responsibilities” way, but where I can wear ugly shoes and comfy jeans and only do makeup sometimes and not have it be a result of a lifetime of trying. We already know that’s the lesson, so let’s learn it now. Buy a caftan because you’re the type of woman who likes caftans, not because that’s who you hope to be someday. Be the Skymall Aunt. Easier said than done, sure, but at least it’s said.