Who gives a hoot what anyone else thinks?

Miriam Margolyes in The Real Marigold Hotel is the perfect example of an older woman who doesn't give a fig about her image
Miriam Margolyes in The Real Marigold Hotel is the perfect example of an older woman who doesn't give a fig about her image

We must have safer festivals in bid to avoid more tragedy

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Last week, I discovered a book that, for want of a polite term, was all about the subtle art of not giving a hoot.

Not one hoot in terms of spending time with people you don’t like, doing things that you don’t care for, expending precious energy about stuff you’re not interested in.

It’s something each of us has to come to learn. Or at least those of us whose brain function has evolved significantly since the primordial swamp we were once existing in

Verity Lush

This seems incredibly liberating.

My husband and I were chatting to some friends last week about growing older and the ways in which you change, and all of us agreed that, with maturity, comes a sense of not giving a hoot.

Obviously this doesn’t mean that you should hurt others.

But life is a game of self-preservation and, given that you will live just once, surely you should spend your time, love and energy on the people and actions that matter the very most to you?

This is not the kind of selfishness we experience when younger, when we are more interested in self-satisfaction. Instead, it’s an altogether different kind of selfishness.

One in which you get to an age where you face your own mortality a little more, you are willing to stand up for yourself a little more, and you are mature enough to construct a coherent argument as to why you should do exactly that.

I can’t imagine that in most people’s final moments, were you to ask them, that they’d tell you how they wish they’d spent more time in a mindless job, less time with their families and friends, and more hours involved in meaningless activity.

When we’re younger we get sucked into caring too much about what people think of us, what parties we are or are not invited to, and what label jeans we ‘should’ be wearing.

The problem is that once we‘re older and more tuned into what really matters, our children take not one jot of notice about our advice.

It’s something each of us has to come to learn. Or at least those of us whose brain function has evolved significantly since the primordial swamp we were once existing in.

Perhaps there simply comes a time when we recognise it truly is all about quality and not quantity. You can lead a huge life that has a positive impact on millions, or you can lead a small life that is meaningful and precious to you.

As long as you are living the life that you want to live, who gives a hoot what anyone else thinks?

Verity Lush is a 39-year-old mum-of-two who lives in Portsmouth.

She is a tutor in philosophy, English and maths and has written a book for newly-qualified teachers, plus textbooks and articles for teaching magazines and supplements.