(Almost) everything is optional

I recommend you read this article by Alexandra Franzen about not using social media for her business. She makes a lot of good points, but here is the line that made a big light bulb appear above my head.

I certainly don’t believe that social media is “bad.” I do believe, however, that for most people… it is “optional.” (This is something we forget.)

This so chimes with my experience of telling people my age that I’m not on Facebook. They look at me like they’d never considered before that not being on Facebook is an option.

It got me wondering about all the other things that we forget are optional.

Things like:

Owning a television.

Wearing make up.

Owning a car.

Striving to be a certain weight, or buying into diet culture.

Having a career plan.

Having a career.

Inviting your family to your wedding.

Basing social interactions around alcohol.

Being in one relationship at a time.

Making sure your tattoos are “discreet” or can be hidden.

Staying friends with someone who is mean to you.

Staying in a relationship with someone who is mean to you.

Owning a smartphone.

Having an internet connection.

And almost everything else.

I used to think there was a lot of things that I needed to do. Many of them made me anxious. Lately, I’ve been shedding the beliefs and physical possessions that don’t serve me and I feel a lot lighter.

These days, if I say or hear the word “should”, it makes me run as fast as I can in the other direction. I don’t do things that I should, I do things that I want to.

I’ll finish with one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite books, Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed:

You have to pay your own electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that’s all.

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