I just started reading Mark Manson’s “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,” because I have been giving far too many ducks* these days.

(*Duck = f***, because I only generally only swear when I pair up with alcohol or anger, watch out if I pair up with both at the same time).

From the book:  

“As the existential philosopher Albert Camus said (and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t on LSD at the time): ‘You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.’

Or put more simply:

Don’t try.”

(9% through on Kindle app, how’s that for a citation, lol)

Now. You maaaaay have noticed that the name of this blog is Watch Mom Try. This is a name I have regretted since it became something I couldn’t change, because I consistently loathe nearly everything related to me. The name does bring a decent amount of traffic from folks looking for porn; this was unintentional, but a good way to reach an audience I was unlikely to ever reach, lol.

But truly, the point of my blog is trying. Trying new things, trying to improve myself, and, more than anything, trying to stay sane and manage my stress. Because writing does that for me. It allows me to download my thoughts and make sense of them in a more or less coherent way. And I don’t do anything for myself unless there is an audience or a tangible outcome “worth” working towards, and I also loathe myself for that.  

Back to the topic at hand.  

He clearly says, don’t try.  

What do I always do?



I could say, who gives a duck what Mark Manson thinks? He is one guy.  

But what he says resonates with me because I know I give far too many ducks about EVERYTHING and it is EXHAUSTING.

Typical minute in my brain:

I should really get working, but I just want to procrastinate and eat. Food is gone, shouldn’t make more, but really don’t want to work. If I work, there is the pressure that what I create won’t amount to anything and will have been a waste of time that could have been spent with my feet up on the couch blissfully watching a show or reading a book and actually enjoying my downtime for a minute. Shoot! I have been pulling at my hair this whole time, now I have less hair, I am going to look bald, maybe I can get a haircut to make my hair look more full, I shouldn’t even be allowed to have long hair if I won’t leave my hair alone and take care of it, the ends will be all split now from the pulling. Shoot! Now I have been scratching at my scalp, now I will have dry skin flakes all over my scalp. Am I going somewhere that people will notice or care? Shoot, I didn’t pack a hat, people will definitely see. Maybe it isn’t that noticeable, but if it is noticeable, will people know I have a ton of anxiety and think I am weird? I should just wash my hair, but I just washed it yesterday and washing it too much will dry out my scalp more and cause more flakes in my scalp and on top of that, it will waste more water. Are there water issues here? Does this Airbnb I am staying in have owners that can handle a big water bill? Is it free for them and am I overthinking this? Should I ask? I should just take military showers like usual, or not pick my freaking scalp so I won’t need to wash my hair often. No one else does this, why are you such a freak?!?

(I am so sorry for writing such an honest diatribe, and I am sorry that you, the reader, may have just given up a minute or two of your life to read the anxious crap that runs through my head. Gah! But no ducks are to be given anymore, so duck it.)

So yeah, I give a duck about every last little thing I have ever thought of or considered and deemed important, which is everything. I specifically remember having a moment when I realized I could be on top of EVERYTHING in my life if I just kept lists and kept every idea spinning in my mind at the same time.  

However, I never considered just how exhausting that might be. Because that wasn’t part of the consideration. I think it is part of my utterly self-destructive nature–if doing something can keep me from upsetting someone else or letting them down, I want to do it exactly right. My nightmares consist of situations in which not enough specification is given to do the job correctly.  

This is exactly why motherhood is such a mind-duck for me. There is no “right” way to do it. My kiddos will find fault in how I do it no matter what, because there are a million ways to be a mom and it is inevitable that they will see superior qualities in their friends’ moms at some point. Maybe I just need to lay out my own “right” way to do it, stick to that, and feel like I did it “right” by some measure. Then I can stop trying, and give at least one less duck about something. (I just did it. Read my mothering manifesto here. Just taking the bull by the horns here in Sevilla, a place seemingly dedicated to flamenco and bullfighting.)

Now I am afraid to continue reading the book. I am afraid it will make me feel like a failure because I keep trying and giving ducks about everything. But in this case, I MUST TRY. I know I am a neurotic mess, and I frankly owe it to the people who live with me to at least try to improve that situation a little bit. Especially now that our lives are in flux again and I am not regularly seeing my wonderful and supportive friends who help me say, “Duck it,” when I cannot do it for myself.  

So now, I will put down my “pen” and my procrastination-via-writing-habit and get back to reading the book.  

Maybe I’ll really learn something and be able to rename this blog Watch Mom NOT Try.

Jennifer Jasensky is a Dubai resident, United States transplant, former mathematics teacher and dancer/choreographer. She is an outgoing homebody and perpetual idealist whose love of learning knows no bounds. She is most happy enjoying a good book with a plate of kaya toast, runny eggs, and kopi-c peng siew dai, but now that she has moved from
Singapore to Dubai, drinking an iced latte in the ocean is fast becoming her happy place.

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