My favorite movie of all time is, hands down, The Big Lebowski. If you’ve seen the movie and are familiar with the many quotable gems from the script, you no doubt know the line “Fuck it, dude. Let’s go bowling.” The line is uttered not by Lebowski himself but by his friend Walter after they amazingly botch a money hand off with kidnappers. Everything was going to plan until Walter shows up, hands off a bag of his dirty underwear instead of the actual money because, being the ultimate conspiracy theorist, he is convinced that the hostage is cooperating with he kidnappers and is attempting to extort the ransom. This most certainly will result in further endangerment for the hostage as well as the wrath Lebowski and Walter will incur from the man who hired Lebowski to handle the transfer.
After that colossal fuck up, and as the two characters are left watching the kidnappers escape without the ransom they expected, Walter suggests that he and The Dude (Lebowski) take in some bowling. Maybe a throwaway line from the script, it has had a lasting impression and teaches a hugely important lesson for you and me: no matter what’s going on or how bad we think things have gone or are going, it’s perfectly okay to throw up our hands and say “fuck it.”
We have a finite ability to deal. We can only do so much and when we reach that point where our faculties can no longer be of use to us, the thing to do is acknowledge it and immediately turn down the pressure. The challenge is doing this when the situation is still chaotic! When everything is in flux, there’s this strange expectation we have to be in flux as well. This comes from the idea that in order to be responsible, we must equal the situation at hand. But what’s the shame in admitting we can’t? What’s the problem with just throwing in the proverbial towel and professing “I can’t do anymore. I’m just going to get on with my life”?
Saying “fuck it” is not really an act of surrender. Iit’s a statement of defiance. In other words, we’re looking straight into the eyes of our circumstances and taking a stand for our own worth and our own sanity. I will not continue to deal with this….I will discontinue immediately. I choose this.
I remember pacing back and forth, rehearsing the speech I’d give to my bosses explaining that I was quitting. This is back when I worked for a soulless corporation. I never told them I was quitting because, frankly, I was scared. So I remained in my horrible job until the company was sold and we were left jobless, anyway. Not on my terms in the end. If I’d said “fuck it” earlier, when my departure would have meant something, how empowering would that have been? No, “fuck it” is not giving up. It’s claiming yourself.
Consider toxic relationships. Whether it’s relatives, a lover or friends. When they’ve put up with enough, some people find so much power within themselves to proclaim “fuck it!” and leave. Or toxic thinking like chronic worry, the need to seek validation and appease others. Who cares? Fuck that!
We can take a pile of self-help books and reduce them to those two words.
There’s something in all of our lives for which “fuck it” is the most appropriate response. So why not try? Why not liberate yourself from the mountain of bullshit that stands between you and some semblance of self-worth? No one else can say it for you. You’ve got to say it for yourself.