My Give-a-Damn’s Broken
Leah Walker May 24, 2012

I grew up in a small town, like 1,500 small. Everyone knew everyone, along with their business. And if people didn’t know what was really going on then they would just make something up. Rumors, exaggerated truths, and out-and-out lies–such is the life in a small town. I believe it was in my youth that I developed my thick skin and independent attitude. If I had to say, I think my give-a-damn broke in eighth grade.

That’s not to say that I don’t care what anyone thinks. Don’t misunderstand. The opinions of those that I care about and/or that I respect are extremely important. All the other noise doesn’t matter. It just rolls off my back. Frankly, I’m glad my give-a-damn is broken. It makes going through life that much easier. Want to know how?

Example #1: 

This past winter, Taylor Swift came to town. I happen to love Taylor; I think she’s a brilliant writer for someone her age, incredibly likable, and talented. On Friday afternoon before her Saturday concert, I let my fingers do the walking over to Ticketmaster. I bought one floor seat. BAM! I was going to see Ms. Swift in concert…by myself.


When I told people what I was doing, their first question was, “Ooooo, Taylor Swift? Why?” I wanted to say, “Damnit, because I like her and I want to listen to her sing. Why else does one go to a concert?” I refrained. The second question was, “Who are you going with?” I told them I was going by myself. Looks of pity and horror crossed their faces. You know, like it was soooo awful, that I must not have anyone to go with.


The truth is that I didn’t want to go with anyone. I like to do things by myself. I enjoy going to the movies, dinner, and shopping by myself. And yes, I like to travel by myself, too. It’s fun; I get lost in my thoughts. I don’t have to coordinate schedules or compromise where to eat. I do what I want, when I want. And I certainly don’t give a damn if anyone thinks it’s weird, sad, or crazy.


And just so you know, Taylor’s concert was awesome. I was the only one over the age of 30 without a kid, and I knew all the words to her songs.

Example #2:

I have a co-worker who’s just mad at the world. I’m not really sure what’s up with these kinds of people, but sadly, they exist in great numbers. We’ve all probably known at least one person like this. Grumpy. Bitter. Jealous. Hateful. These words personify my co-worker. It’s enough to make me want to just grab this person by the shoulders and say, “If you’re not happy then leave. You’re not a tree!”

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I’ve become the focus of my co-worker’s anger. Keep in mind that we interact with one another maybe once a month. I’ve decided that it’s easier for this person to be mad at me than to look inside at the real problem.  If my give-a-damn wasn’t broken, this would really bother me. But since it is, I couldn’t give two shits. Pretty convenient, right?

Example #3:

I’m almost 38 years old. I don’t have kids. And guess what? That’s on purpose. I don’t want kids, and I’ve never wanted kids. Period. End of story. Or is it?

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Last year I ran into a high school friend’s father at little country store outside of Houston. I hadn’t seen him or my friend since the the day I walked across the graduation stage in 1992. He went on to tell me how his daughter (my friend) was happily married and had three wonderful children. After catching me up, he then asked about my life. The first thing he asked was not where I lived, where I worked, or even if I was married. “Have you any children?” he asked.

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This is not an odd question in the slightest. It’s a perfectly normal question, in fact. What is not normal are the responses I get when I let people know that I don’t have children nor want them. I get it. It’s not a conventional path. Women generally want yearn to have kids.

In that country store, standing over a counter filled with kolaches, my friend’s father, a man who I haven’t laid eyes on for TWENTY years, tried to convince me to have children. I’m not kidding! He told me that I’d regret it if I didn’t. He insisted that I wouldn’t have anyone to take care of me when I got old, to which I wanted to say, “Since I’m not having children I’ll be able to afford a private nurse.” This was not just a brief conversation. He talked to me about this for FIFTEEN minutes! I suppose I could have taken offense, but I found it humorous more than anything. It was rude and intrusive, but I really couldn’t care less. My give-a-damn is broken, remember?

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So what does this rant have to do with travel, you ask? Well, I’m not really sure. I suppose it relates to how I approach life, and travel is a huge part of my life. I do catch some flack from people about my trips. “You’re going on vacation, AGAIN?” Yeah, so what? Why do you care what I’m doing? Why is it any concern of yours how I’m spending my money?

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With all that being said, I just continue to live my life in a way that feels genuine to me. I love my family, friends, and dogs. I try to treat people the way I want to be treated. I travel the world because I love the way it makes me feel. I don’t want kids. I rock out to Taylor Swift. And most importantly, I don’t give a damn if others don’t approve.

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Leah Walker

Leah's a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, The Daily Basics, Bonjour Paris, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's thrilled to call Paris home after being awarded the coveted three-year Compétences & Talents visa from France, though her talents don't extend to speaking French. Yet.


  1. I love this post. Sometime my give a damn’s broken and it feels good. You rock girl.

  2. Leah, your perspective of life, since I met you here online has been spot on – in my book. This is just one more example of a healthy way to lead one’s life. So many people would be “outraged” about your example(s). Too much “outrage” in this world….

    And it is spot-on for me after our phone call. This speaks to me in a great way tonight. THANKS.

    1. Hey, Raul, I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do know what works for me. I’m just going to continue on trying to mind my own business. I’m glad it spoke to you in a positive way.

  3. Girl, I wish you were here so I could give you a hug. Way to speak your mind and stick to your guns. I wrote out a LONG comment and just erased it :-) Didn’t want to hijack your post. Basically, I agree with everything you’ve said here. Good on ya!

  4. Leah, I love that you OWN it. People do the same to me when I tell them I’m only having one child. “What? You can’t do that to him,” some will say. You are who you are!

  5. :) no matter the choices in life it’s YOUR business and no one else. for me, travel has offered perspective. everyone is different – yet everyone is the same. it makes me embrace the lovely differences knowing that we mostly land at the same place. i’m so overjoyed in my busyness these days that i don’t have a second to think about what anyone else is up to. bad for those i love and adore but for all else judging me…get a f’ing hobby!

    xo – yours truly – lola

    1. I’m with you, Lola. I’m so wrapped up in managing my own life that I don’t have time to worry about what anyone else is doing. Those that do have the time for that need to get a hobby just as you say! Everyone is different, and if more people would take the time to see and do something new, they’d realize that.

  6. Great post Leah – I feel the same way a lot of the time too when people question choices that I make. I’d rather be true to myself and be happy than try to conform to what other people expect me to do and turn into a human shell.

  7. Some things are better broken apparently. Life is soooo much easier when your give-a-damn is! And when it comes to travel, while there are times I want to share my experience with my wife, there are many times that I want to go exactly where I want to go, exactly when I want to go there, without any discussion/consultation/negotiation/scheduling. “Where is your wife?” is NOYDB.

    1. You simply have me in stitches, Murray. Exactly, NOYDB! I love traveling with my husband, but I also like traveling with my friends and by myself. Who cares? I’m not doing anything that requires secrecy. I have a blog for goodness sakes. You want to know what I’m up to? Read my blog! I could use the extra traffic. LOL!

  8. Leah – I love the post and the belief behind it: that your life is, well, yours to live. If it’s “unconventional” by some people’s standards, then be it.

    Great part about the concert – I’ve gone to many by myself too.

    1. I think it’s cool to be independent. I don’t want not having someone to go with me preventing me from doing something I want to do. Now playing doubles tennis might be a problem or riding a tandem bike, but other than that, I can do anything I want to do by myself. Although, some stuff is more fun with a partner. 😉

  9. Good for you! Life is too short and you need to make The most of it. If you don’t make yourself happy, no one will. I get a bit of hassle about my travels – and you were spot on about how it’s no one’s business how I choose to spend my hard earned cash. I’m very lucky and love what I do – and excited that this little thing we have in common will allow us to meet next week! How amazing is that??

    1. I think that’s pretty damn cool, Ana. People think I’m crazy to forge such friendships with people I’ve never met and even crazier to go meet them in person. Here’s to doing things a little bet different than the rest of the world. 😉

  10. Good for you! Life is too short and you need to make The most of it. If you don’t make yourself happy, no one will. I get a bit of hassle about my travels – and you were spot on about how it’s no one’s business how I choose to spend my hard earned cash. I’m very lucky and love what I do – and excited that this little thing we have in common will allow us to meet next week! How amazing is that??

  11. Chileans get very stressed that I do things alone. I eat lunch alone at work 95% of the time because my closest coworkers have different schedules, and I actually enjoy the quiet time with my Kindle in the middle of the day, but everyone feels bad for me. Not to mention the fact that my husband’s schedule means he’s often busy or out of town, and everyone from my friends to my in-laws pities me for having to go to parties alone or eat at home by myself, even when there are obviously plenty of friends at parties, and I can eat the things he doesn’t like when I’m by myself!

    1. There certainly are advantages of doing things alone, and I think you nailed them. My husband travels a lot for work, too. I can’t just stop my life until he gets home. Sounds like you’re making the most out of your time in Chile whether you’re alone or surrounded by friends. Good for you, Emily.

  12. I love this post too, Leah. Our lives may be totally different, but they work for each of us. Anyone who says, “you’re going on vacation AGAIN?” is completely and totally jealous. When I was single without kids, I did exactly what you’re doing now and I don’t regret one trip. More people need to get out of their comfort zone and their region and experience the world, as you’re doing! I love your blog.

  13. I don’t know why some people in this world feel the need to tell others what they should be doing. I guess it gives them a sense of power to think you’re strange for going to a Taylor Swift concert or not wanting kids. I tend to live the same way. if I don’t ask for your opinion I don’t want it.

    1. Well, let’s be honest, Suzy, I am a bit strange. 😉 Actually, I call myself “normal with a twist”. I like to keep people on their toes. Thanks, as always, for reading.

  14. Perhaps we are long lost sisters, Kaylin. LOL! I took a very good friend to John Mayer, but she doesn’t love him like I do. She and I had a good time, but it would have been smarter of me just to go alone. I could have acted a fool and not had any witnesses to my stupidity, at least ones I knew. 😉 Glad to know I’m not the only one that feels this way. And, fist bump right back.

  15. I love this post Leah – and I love your honesty. I’m in a very similar situation. I LOVE doing things on my own and still on the fence re the kids thing – yet it amazes me that people think they have the right to comment and try and force your decisions on your life. I love going to the cinema on my own though as for some reason most of my friends feel the urge to chat or comment through most of the movie and it drives me NUTS! lol. Great to be able to have ‘me’ time as I still find it hard sometimes living in the ‘us’ time 24/7.

    1. Oh, I HATE it when people talk even during the previews of a movie. It drives me crazy and I usually move. I won’t go to a movie at a normal time. It’s usually on a Tuesday morning at 10 am. LOL…I’m glad to know I’m not the only nutty one. 😉

  16. Leah! What a great post to read on this gloomy Friday morning in England. Laughing out loud in my kitchen. Good for you, that’s what I say. Many of my friends have had children now and can’t understand why I don’t want them. Someone once told me that having a child gives your life true meaning…I told them that my life has plenty of meaning already! On the whole, I try not to give a damn what other people think, and will definitely remember your post for encouragement! :)

  17. Love this. My give a damn’s been broken for years, too.
    Personally, I think that you get flack because people are threatened by your choices. In being independent and strong, you’re bringing it to their attention that they are not those things.

  18. I also grew up in a really small town – 5000 people. It’s so weird to go back and much easier for me to be in Toronto where people would go to concerts alone.

    1. I know what you mean about it being weird to go back. My 20th class reunion is this year and I’m very much debating whether I’ll go or not. The main issue is time, but there’s also that strange factor.

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