the one thing you must do

October 24, 2013


Audrey, counting all the ways she don’t care

On the occasion of my first post as a 40 year old lady, it seemed fitting to write about a Very Important Conclusion I have reached: almost everything we think we have to do is bullshit. Ergo:

  • You don’t have to dream bigger, want more, want everything. You don’t have to want anything.
  • You don’t have to hanker for a life outside of the commute, cubicle and communal kitchen. You don’t have to stay at a job that eats away at your soul.
  • You don’t have to write a book. Or even want to write a book. You don’t have to be a starving artist.
  • You don’t have to keep your light under a bushel. Or flash it to the world.
  • You don’t have to juice everyday. Or be a vegetarian, fruitarian or fluten-gree. You don’t have to eat three meals a day. You don’t have to drink a metric tonne of water everyday. Or give up coffee. Or only drink rooibos tea.
  • You don’t have to love yoga. Or running. Or Crossfit. You don’t have to remain wrinkled. Or get Botox. You don’t have to believe anyone who says anything about your body. Ever.
  • You don’t have to put up with shitty customer service. Or ridiculous bank charges. You don’t have to spend any money with any company whose practices make you feel icky. You don’t have to tip.
  • You don’t have to accept bullying of any kind. Ever.
  • You don’t have to respond to your email, text, blog comments, retweets within 10 minutes. Or ever. You don’t have to have a blog. Or a twitter account. You don’t have to equate Facebook likes with acceptance and love. You don’t have to comment on anything online. Ever.
  • You don’t have to be passionately in love with your significant other every day. You don’t have to have 2.5 children. You don’t have to have a cute ‘how we met’ story. You don’t have to do ‘date night’.
  • You don’t have to stay silent if your relationship feels stale. If it dies, you don’t have to remain faithful. You don’t have to fight fair.ย You don’t have to give up.
  • You don’t have to believe in God. Or join a coven. Or put your faithย in the power of tarot, crystals, angels, spirit animals or signs from the universe.
  • You don’t have to go through a mediator to commune with the divine.
  • You don’t have to make life-changing decisions after months of therapy. Or prayer.
  • You don’t have to have 6000 square foot of ocean-side property. You do not have to do housework every day. You do not have to live in a big city. Or own a pair of shoes or a handbag that costs as much as your monthly salary.
  • You don’t have to like anyone else at the school gate.
  • You don’t have to volunteer. Or sign petitions. Or define yourself by a movement, charity, political party, music genre.
  • You don’t have to be blonde. Or a size whatever.
  • You do not have to ask for permission. You don’t have to get it right. You don’t have to believe there is a right way. You don’t have to finish. Or feel like you can’t change your mind.
  • You don’t have to do anyfuckingthing that does not feel good to you. Ever.
  • You don’t have to live one more day without joy.

The one thing – the ONLY thing – you must do, is find out what works for you.

Find what lights you up, what makes you laugh, what feels like freedom. What feels like love.ย Find your YES!

And then squeeze the freakin’ living daylights out of THAT.

ps: this is now a poster – click here to downloadย ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave a reply

35 Responses to “the one thing you must do”

  1. Natasha Celebrin says:

    I’m with every other woman/man here who finally realised all this is true xxxx it’s so freeing ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. ShanLeigh says:

    Oh hell yes.


    thank you x

  3. Happy Birthday, Sas, and thank you! Love, love, love this! It’s like the hobbits’ birthdays where they give gifts to others. I started a practice of making a practice when all the shoulds are becoming too oppressive to make “I get to” lists instead of the dreaded “to do” lists. At 51, I’m only now starting to learn what you nailed at 40. Brava!

  4. Jen says:

    I so needed this tonight … Re entry after over a month away is going to be hard. I cannot wait to talk to you. Yes. Yes. Yes. You nailed it, love. xx

  5. kelly barton says:

    thank you elle jaye for sending me here.
    thank you for reminding me that i have said all these things so many times to others, but never seem to remember for me
    and thank you for simply using “bullshit” it is one of my favorite expressions.
    but mostly thank you for just posting this.
    ps. my name is kelly barton and i am so happy to finally meet you.


  6. Mark Bokody says:

    Why must we find what works for us ? I am 58 and if something “worked for me” I think I should have discovered it by now (although I do admit I am a very slow learner). I have tried most of my life searching for “what works for me” but couldn’t find anything. I became tired of searching for happiness, which I have come to the conclusion is just a shallow flipant feeling. I found that anything I thought could be “what works for me” to be shallow. Why does it appear now a days that everyone is caught up chasing happiness (perhaps too many life coaches)? Now I am trying to “just be” but even that can be a task. I think there are no answers. I am no Saint Theresa but try my best in my own lame way to let others in my daily path to know they are not alone, and that I sincerely care about them. We (the human race) are a frail lot. I think if we spent our effort trying to be kind to others, rather than trying to find what works for oneself, the world would be a better place.

    • Laurie says:

      Mark, it sounds to me as though you’ve found exactly what works for you – that in your own way you let people in your path know that you care about them and they aren’t alone. That’s brilliant. I think that’s exactly why we each have to find what works for us and do THAT.

      Well put, Sas. Another spot-on beautiful post.

  7. Cydney Mar says:

    Love love love this post !! In a sea of ” shoulds” how refreshing to hear ” you don”t ”
    Many blessings to you and Bravo !! For gently reminding us to just be our fabulous selves!! <3

  8. Brenna says:

    I *love* this post. I just turned 44 on Oct. 15th, and this is really something I needed to read/hear. Also, I am in love with Audrey.

  9. leonie says:

    i used to run a lot of my life based on a long list of ‘shoulds’. i should do this, or be like that, or feel this way in relation to these events. it got very tiring and i lost sight of what i really wanted and needed in my life.

    like Karen, i wonder if these realisations are something we grow into as we get older. its certainly been true for me. less shoulds now and a lot more joy. less ‘i need to be like someone else’, more i want to simply be.

    i tried blonde once. it wasnt good and i dont care to do it again.
    (refer to paragraph 1)

  10. karen says:

    The list that sums up entering into mature adulthood. If only I had that list in my twenties!! I find the older I get the more comfortable I am with who I am and what I’m doing. Sure I day dream and wonder but the “have to” ness is absent. If I like it, sure do it, and if not, nope.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this post ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Hannah says:

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, x infinity. THIS is what life is all about. One of the most important shifts in my mindset over the past few years has been switching out the phrase “I have to” for “I choose to”. Even though I understand the distinction intellectually, it’s a lot harder to process emotionally. Going to save this where I can look at it everyday and practice letting go of my ‘have tos’. Thank you!

    • sas says:

      my sense is that actually emotionally – in our hearts and our guts – we know this is true – its our tiny minds that believe all the shit we are told, that find this stuff hard.
      so glad you liked this ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Kath says:

    I think I’m a little in love with you right now.

  13. Mel says:

    Favourite. Post. Ever.

  14. Renee says:

    FUCK YES! I love this.
    And welcome to the 40’s club!

  15. jane says:

    God i love this. And you. And myself a little when i breathe out and exhale a few more shoulds.

  16. jennifer p says:

    Fantastic, in a million different ways. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Sarah says:

    Well I think we can safely say that 40 suits you love.

  18. Kimberly says:

    GO Sas! Welcome to the 40’s, Darling – it is SUPER FUN!

  19. Lynn says:

    So good! Thank you. As I near 40, I am slowly learning the same things.

  20. Sarah says:

    Body tingles. Talk about singing to the soul! xxx

  21. jeanine says:


  22. elizabeth says:

    holy shit!!! making this into a fucking WALL POSTER– except for the you don’t have to fight fair . .. actually that one I do– but WOW this is EXACTLY what I needed TODAY, this moment, a BIRTHDAY GIFT to all of US!! thank you thank you thank you– xoox, e

  23. Elizabeth says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous post. “You don’t have to make life-changing decisions after months of therapy…” – my favorite. Such a good reminder that we can embrace the next right step at ANY time, without waiting for someone else’s permission. Thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • sas says:

      oh honey yes – i can’t count how many times I’ve waited for ‘someone’ to know better than me about whats best for me. no more of that!

  24. Esmรฉ says:

    Oh, Sas, this is brilliant. What’s even better is that I can COMPLETELY hear your voice when I read it. I told Sus, but I don’t think I told you that in the last few days of Redfox, and even for a little bit afterward, I heard many of the caring self-talk as in your voice! (And others from Redfox, too — but you, my dear, have a very distinctive one.) Thank you for sharing the things that we don’t need to do, including the so-called Healthy Ones.

  25. Alicia says:

    Fucking YES YES YES! Awesome post!

  26. Kelly says:

    Hell, YES! Welcome to your 40s, Wise Woman! I am printing this. I am sending this to everyone. This is the very simple truth. xx