In early August, I planned a day off with my friend to go see a Broadway show. We were very excited, discussing what restaurant to have lunch at, reviewing the train schedule, and of course, what to wear for our girls’ day. We had a lovely lunch and then walked a block and a half to get to the back of the line to queue up to see Six.

Well, we finally got through security and into the theater. The very nice ticket attendant redirected us back to the ticket booth because apparently, my friend had bought tickets for the wrong day. She bought them for a week later. I could see the panic on her face.

We walked back out of the theater, cut through the line still wrapped around the corner, and went to the ticket booth. She was breathing quickly and sharing that there was sweat dripping down her back and apologizing profusely.

Knowing how she was feeling, I calmly replied, “It’s okay. I can’t go next week, but what’s the worst that’s going to happen? We had a lovely lunch, and we’ll sell the tickets.” I think she appreciated that I wasn’t upset with her. But she wasn’t yet at the place of feeling okay. We asked if we could exchange them, and the guy said no. He figured out that we had bought them through Ticketmaster and there were still tickets available for today.

He got on the phone. As he attempted to help, a mother and daughter came in upset because they did the same thing. They bought tickets for that night, not the matinee. I shared that we did the same thing, for a week later.  Trying to make light of the situation, I laughed hoping to make them feel better that they weren’t alone, noting that they weren’t sold out.

The other two woman somehow were able to exchange their tickets quickly; they had new seats. And Sue and I were still standing there waiting for the man to get off the phone. And I could see her start to worry. And admittedly, it occurred to me that we might just have lost the two remaining seats.

But he got off the phone and then said, “Alright, your refund will be to you in five to seven days.” And we’re like, “Great, thanks. What’s available for today?” Our original seats were mid-mezzanine. And he said, “Well, I’ve got a fourth-row orchestra available for only about $27 more than we had originally paid.” We exclaimed, “We’ll take them!”

All the while he was on the phone, I was telling her, “It’s okay. Not a big deal. It’s only money. We’ll get a refund. We’ll go see a show another time.” With new tickets in hand, I could see her start to calm down. We went back to the same ticket guy and said, “We’re back.” He smiled at us, ushered us in, and we had the most amazing seats. We could see the sweat on their faces!

Why did I tell you the story? Because I’m listening to a book that’s titled “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***” by Mark Manson. And what I realized, only still in chapter one of the book, is that he’s not actually suggesting that you don’t care about anything. Rather, for you to be selective about what you care about.

And in that moment, of showing up with tickets for the wrong day, it wasn’t worth giving an F or making my friend feel bad or seeing it as anything more than a funny story to share. Although the author’s style has not settled in with me yet, I do think there’s an underlying message that resonates.

Decide what’s important to you. (CLICK TO TWEET)

For those things that make the cut, care with everything that you’ve got! I believe in the old adage, “Don’t cry over spilled milk.” That was a philosophy I embraced with my very clumsy, younger child, who even at 16, still spills his milk. It’s just not worth getting upset over.

Think about what you really care about. And when something isn’t going perfectly, ask, is it worth making anybody else or yourself feel bad about it? Or can we adopt the philosophy of “that’s not worth giving a F”?