To the chagrin of my mother, I like (no, love) the f-word.
I realize that it isn’t Namaste appropriate and I probably make my third eye angry when I blurt it out loud, but at times there really is no better word to fill in the blank, to express an emotion, or to tell someone where to go. I do my best to not drop the infamous f-bomb in social settings where I am required to wear a name tag, but I can’t promise that I do not think it or secretly direct it at some idiot on a regular basis.
With no filter between my brain and my mouth, the f-word and I have created many memories together. When I recently turned 40, I decided I was old enough to no longer apologize for dropping my favorite adjective and noun at the drop of the hat. With what my heart endured in the last decade, embracing the f-word without abandon seems like a free gift with purchase.
There is another f-word that I believe does more damage than the f’er I have constantly on the tip of my tongue. The word that excites me as much as a wet noodle is “fine.” Even when it rolls out of my mouth, I start to gag. Have you noticed that nothing good ever comes from the word fine?
How do I look in this dress? You look fine.
Are you mad at me? No, I’m fine.
How are you? I’m fine, thanks.
Ironically, the definition of “fine” can vary between “high quality” (adjective) or “pleasing manner, very well” (adverb). If fine is the mistress of positive, how did it become the word that yields a response as exciting as chips with no guacamole? Fine is now the filler word we use when we don’t really have anything else to say. When our emotions are dragging on the floor, it’s all we can muster.
I hate fine; I hate everything the modern generation has allowed it to become. I strongly dislike when I feel fine because that means I am content. At the ripe old age of 40-ish, content is like making the B-team instead of being selected as an all-star. Content and her cousin, fine, are the bridesmaids—never the bride.
Being fine equates to getting sucked into the Alanis Morisette song, Ironic; “It’s like a black fly in your chardonnay.” It’s still fine to drink, but you lose interest because Jeff Goldblum took a diver in your glass. (Will the younger generation understand the movie reference I made there?)
So in an attempt to turn my frown upside down, I’m campaigning to rid the world of fine. If you are living in a life that you didn’t design, going to a job every day that doesn’t fill your soul and/or in a relationship that feels like you are wearing a heavy coat full of burden, you are a fully paid up member of the Fine Club. In case you need a smack in the f’ing face, you are bordering between the neighborhoods of content and just getting by. Believe me, I was the mayor of this town for a long time! I realize I can’t point my finger at you without pointing three back at me.
In spite of every great intention, when I rounded into my 30’s, I found myself in a very high profile job in corporate America; I regretted it on the third day yet I stayed five years. I landed in a relationship that started as a casual friendship yet became emotional abusive; it lasted two years and 11 months longer than it ever should have. And I found myself existing in a world that went from colorful to dark gray because the architect of my life apparently took a hiatus. It should come as no surprise that I look back at my 30’s and can’t help but think, “f*ck off!”
It’s easy to point fingers at my ability to choose the wrong job, the painfully wrong man or the wrong life; being the victim allows for so many excuses. The honest reason my life fell off the rails is because I let it. I didn’t allow the inner voice that spoke loudly, on the third day at my fancy corporate job, to completely derail the American dream of having a consistent paycheck every two weeks.
Regrettably, I closed my ears when my intuition raised its hand and started campaigning for the end of my relationship the first time he used the c-word. As my life imploded, exhausted from being in a place of crisis of management versus thriving, I shut down completely. The only answer I could muster up when asked how I was doing was always the infamous “fine.” Life was winning against an opponent that was no longer in the game.
They say time heals all wounds, and as much as I believe that, I have come to learn that giving yourself permission to live the life you want really is the best remedy. When you start to view your life through a selfish lens, you can no longer live with the rose-colored glasses of fine.
I realize that the use of the word selfish may shock some but it’s really the crux of the solution. I’m not giving you permission to be selfish so you can have the biggest piece of cake (in your 40’s, your metabolism slows to molasses so, believe me, leave the cake alone!) Instead, selfish is meant to be a rallying cry so that you put yourself first. There is a reason the airlines tell us to put our oxygen mask on first before we help others. When we do not allow our heart to explore the vocation our life intended, we experience turbulence. And this turbulence doesn’t come with complimentary peanuts.
The next time you utter the word fine, I implore you to do a gut check. If fine starts to pepper your daily language, it’s time to call in the architect of your own life and start to make plans for a major overhaul. Scary, sure; doable, absolutely! Please don’t ever get to a position where your job, relationship or view on life is just “fine.” Take it from someone who lived far too long in that space; life is winning when you get to that point.
With self-initiated permission to design the life you want to live, I promise there is a whole lot of “f*ck yeah” ahead!
Author: Nicole Matthews
Editor: Caroline Beaton