First off, I have to say that I’m finding it difficult to respond to a post written by someone whose book includes textbooks as something one can do without. Not if one is a student who wants to who well in a class (by which I mean actually learn something — not just get a good grade. Not having regular access to the textbook also makes getting a good grade rather difficult). Also, I’ve spent a lot of time getting my house (both literally and figuratively) in order over the last few years, so I’m not sure that I have 11 things I want to eliminate from my life. I perused some of the other entries for today’s prompt and much of them include things like guilt (which I don’t do), extra weight (which I don’t care about), television (which I don’t watch), excess “stuff” (which I generally don’t have unless you count gadgets), etc. So I’m going to make my list about the big things. In random order, here are 11 things I (and the world) could really do without:
- Obsessing about weight. It was truly depressing to browse through today’s posts and see how many folks put “those extra five pounds” on their list of things they could do without. It is also depressing to constantly hear the bright, beautiful I know talk endlessly about their weight and appearance — and to see the lack of pleasure people have when it comes to food. Yes, healthy is good and everyone should eat well and exercise. But the fixation on the number on the scale, on a certain ideal of thinness, and feeling “guilty” for eating “bad” foods is something we could all do without.
- Violence against women. Just this week the Victim Services Adjudication Advisor at the Women’s Center has had to deal with a few absolutely horrendous cases of sexual assault and rape. Watching these young women come through our office to meet with her, knowing that their lives have been changed forever, is heartbreaking.
- Westboro Baptist Church. Protesting Elizabeth Edwards?!? Seriously? I would not have believed they could sink any lower in my opinion and yet they did.
- Sexism/racism/homophobia, etc. No need to explain this one, I think.
- “Holiday” parties that are really “Christmas” parties. At my institution, we are starting to (once again) have conversations about how “holiday” parties and decorations that privilege Christmas can make non-Christians feel excluded and how we, as a public institution, have an obligation to be welcoming to all faith traditions (including the lack of faith). What’s sad to me is how many folks still do not understand this in the year 2010.
- Unnecessary meetings. Folks, we do not always need to meet. More often than not, the “business” of the meeting can be taken care of with a quick phone call or email. Stop asking to meet when we don’t need to.
- Grade-grubbing students. Look, I get that you’re worried about your grade because you need to keep your scholarship/get into grad school/find a good job when you graduate/make your parents happy/whatever. However, the way to that good grade is to do the work and master the material, NOT ask me a zillion times what your grade is/can you do extra credit to make it better/berate me into adding one extra point to your test/whatever. That just gets on my nerves and doesn’t help your grade.
- People claiming that your Facebook friends are not your “real” friends and thus you should cull them. I know this is shocking, but those of us with lots of Facebook friends, Twitter followers, etc. actually understand the difference between a weak FB friendship and a deep, lifelong, IRL friendship. What those of you berating us don’t get is that we value both of those things differently — and that, in fact, having a large network of loose ties IN ADDITION to a network of close ties can be a good thing. Stop telling me that my experience is wrong. It’s not wrong. It’s just different from yours. And that’s OK.
- The “busy” excuse. I wrote about this in my first #reverb10 post and was reminded over the last few days how much I hate it. Please stop with the busy, busy, busy nonsense. It’s a privilege to be busy with friends, family, and good work. A lot better than being busy with walking 3-4 hours per day to fetch clean water. So stop your whining.
- Endless discussion instead of action. Sometimes “just do it” really is the right way.
- Positive thinking. Don’t take my word on this. Go read Barbara Ehrenreich.
Note: This is my eleventh post for #reverb10, an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Each day has a prompt. Today’s prompt is: “11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?”