I’m speculating here but I think that we freak out less about decisions–big and small–when we get to a point in our lives when we simply care less about things. That’s what Gretchen Rubin recently wrote in a wonderful post called “The Secret Is Not to Care.” She writes:
A friend told me this story, and I’ve never forgotten it, though the following anecdote about G. Gordon Liddy may not, in fact, be true; I’ve never verified it. According to my friend, Liddy once held his hand over a candle flame until his flesh burned. Someone asked, “What’s your secret?” and he replied, “The secret is not to care.”
I think about this phrase constantly: “The secret is not to care.” Because if I don’t want to let certain things make me unhappy, the secret is not to care.
I think this “secret” is important, because while we can’t exercise complete control over the things we care about, we can take notice, remember that some of our concerns are idiosyncratic, and try to master them where appropriate.
This rings true for me. Ironic as it is, one of the most peaceful moments I experienced was talking to my friend Mike Leach from my hospital room in Johns Hopkins psych ward. I remember him telling me to care less … about everything except loving Eric, my kids, and a friend or two. That’s it. He said. There’s my job. Nothing else matters.
I go back to that moment so often. When I wrap myself in a tizzy over the best career move or a decrease in blog traffic, or about a major social etiquette faux pas–have had millions of those lately. I tell myself to simply care less. (But not so much that I burn my flesh. Sorry, but that’s just stupid.)