the post that you really MUST read (but only if you want to)

soapbox

Every time I click onto online media, or look at a magazine these days I seem to be confronted by declarations that I “must”, “should”, “need to” read these books, visit these places, eat these foods, look at these pictures, view these videos, before my life comes to an abrupt end and I turn to instant dust.

Also an instant guilt trip. A little like those obnoxious chain letters and now chain emails that declare that all the fires of hell will descend if you don’t pass on to your nearest and dearest within minutes, the must/should/need declarations always leave me feeling the faintest bit anxious that maybe I really am missing out on something when I skip passed them

Lingering doubt, that maybe my life would be complete if I went back and viewed it, read it, pinned it. As if my life needs more anxiety crammed into it!

And who are these so called experts who declare that my life will be incomplete, I will be a social outcast and unable to hold me own at the next dinner party if I don’t do as I am instructed by them?

As a mother I fell into the habit of telling my children what they “should do” until one of my daughters asked me not to say should to her anymore as it stressed her out. She was right. She was grown and no longer needed Mummy telling her how to live her life. I have tried very hard not to “should” (except for Mr FD, who desperately needs my constant direction) ever since.

I have always been one of those who hated people telling me what I “should” do and have always, always pulled against that as hard as I can. So why do it to others?

So I am starting a movement – the LET’S SAY NO TO LISTS THAT DEMAND SHOULD/MUST/NEED. You supply the acronym (not that you need too!) and I will bring the soap box (not because I should)!

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11 thoughts on “the post that you really MUST read (but only if you want to)

  1. I would like to become a charter member of your movement! I, too, hate those “must/should/haveto/you’ll die if you don’t” proclamations. My response is to delete immediately, and take whatever consequences may come my way. Oh! You don’t think it’s my fault husband is suffering so now, do you?

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  2. My children also reminded me I was beginning far too many sentences with the words “You should always….” I realized it was ridiculous then, because yes, my children are also adults and I raised them with common sense. And indeed, who’s to say you should always do something? There will be always be exceptions to the rules. Grown-ups have critical thinking skills; they know there will be times where it makes no sense to do what you’ve been told you “should” do.

    “Must-Read” reading lists are irritating. I see them on academic websites all the time, and they change all the time. What we think is a great classic today often gets tossed into the used-book pile tomorrow. (I’m thinking of all those novels critics hail as a “masterpiece,” and within the next year, nobody remembers the title.) The older I get, the less I want to be told what to do anyway. If a book bores me, I set it aside and see if a few weeks or a change in seasons improves it. But more often, it gets donated to the library book sale where maybe someone else will think she must buy the book and read it.

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  3. I want to.

    My little family is full of people that bristle at authoritarian tones. And I totally agree with your sentiment on chain e-mails: Cimmy found a Weird Al song about that, written by a fan, incidentally: “Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me”, which sums up our thoughts so well. Maybe it could be an unofficial song of sorts for your movement?

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  4. I experimented with one of my YouTube videos, and labeled it “Brutal Pork Hocks” just to see if anyone picked up on the brutal part. It actually got a lot of views. It’s pretty weird what entices people look at things. Maybe they were expecting a cage match between me and a jar of pickled pig parts..

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  5. I have not seen many classic films from my generation due to all the people who say, “you HAVE to see it!!” I instantly think, “NO, I do not!” and never do, just to prove my own point!

    I’ve also learned that most of my fb friends have a surprisingly low threshold for what is “OMG – SOO FUNNY!!”… or they’re confusing “funny” with “boring”.

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  6. I’d like to say that it’s my age which makes me, like others, delete this nonsense – “5% of my friends will share this/pass this on, I know who you are.” But I’ve always been a Bolshy Bugger who won’t be told. As for reading lists, I’ve found some ‘classics’ as dry as dust and have genuinely enjoyed some so-called trashy novels. I suppose this makes me hard to manage ….. But do I really care?

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