21 Things You Don’t Have To Do

Did you know there a jillion things you don't have to do? Maybe you think you have to do them, but you don't. Let's start with these 21. #selfcare #goodenough #letitgo
I know you know this but I’m reminding you anyway.

If you don’t want to, you don’t have to:

  • aim for the corner office
  • ever own a car again
  • apologize for putting yourself first
  • shave your legs
  • care about The Bachelor/Fleabag/Game Of Thrones
  • feel guilty for caring about The Bachelor/Fleabag/Game Of Thrones
  • go to the bridal shower of that co-worker you don’t really know
  • get married
  • have kids
  • do anything other than be a fantastic wife and mother
  • go out on Saturday night
  • invest in real estate
  • cook
  • feel guilty about sleeping late
  • go to grad school
  • find your dream job immediately following college
  • “follow your bliss”
  • work at a job you hate
  • go to college
  • tie your ego up in your possessions
  • You don't need to make excuses for living a life that works for you Click To Tweet
P.S. If you need 1-on-1 help with stuff like this, I can do that!
photo credit: kari shea // cc

Welcome to Yes & Yes!

Want to spend your time, money, and energy on purpose? I'll show you how.

You might also like…

How To Stop Researching + Start Taking Action

How To Stop Researching + Start Taking Action

I can see the tiny ‘like’ notifications piling up under the comment on my Instagram post. 12, 13, 14 likes. And honestly? I get it. Because the comment is so, so relatable. Who among us hasn’t done this? Who hasn’t spent weeks or months researching:  How to launch...

read more


  1. Lola Sharp

    I really love this post.
    Thank you.


  2. Michelle

    I really needed this today… Thank you. 🙂

  3. Rachel @ Suburban Yogini

    This is fabulous. Sometimes I worry about the life choices I make and this has reminded me that it is OK to not want to get married or have kids – it's what makes me happy that counts 🙂

  4. Sara

    SO true! You are a wise woman.

    This year I have realised/remembered that I don't have to work in an office to pay my bills, I don't have to constantly climb a career ladder and that the laundry won't wash it self, no matter how hard I will it too…

  5. Clare

    Thanks, dear Sarah. This is beautiful.

  6. Ebony

    I realised I don't have to make friends with people my boyfriend's age (6 years my senior) if all they do on weekends is drink excessive amounts and bitch about those not present 🙂

    I just have to hang in there for next year when I am closest to my best friend again.

  7. lauren

    thank you for these reminders…they come at just the right time.
    i have realized that i do not always have to say 'yes'. saying 'no', especially to a friend, can be difficult, but i am finding that it is more and more important and necessary.

  8. Francine

    I learned that I don't have to feel ashamed for loving my 9 to 5 cubicle job and not wanting to branch out and travel the world, make a humble living off of something artistic, grow my own food, or any of the other things many people think is the "real" way to live.

    There is no "real" way. Just "a" way.

    Now if you'll excuse me, there's bagels in the conference room.

  9. Sarahf

    An awesome post. Thank you!
    I've realised that I don't have to worry about anyone else's opinion on my life but mine.

  10. Chrissy

    You are a smart cookie yourself!.. I have realized that I don't have to be the one to be an enabler, that being one puts me in that person's shoes that I am enabling… Oh, the freedom I feel now…

  11. Liz

    In the past few months I have determined that I don't need to:
    – get my license
    – go to senior prom
    – enroll in the college they all want me to
    – basically, try to please anyone else in my life but myself.

    Forget that noise. I've put everyone else first for the past 18 years of my life, I think it's time to do some things for myself.

  12. Aury

    I realised I don't have to

    speak like everyone around me (my accent is unique, no it is not fake)

    get a double major and a minor

    or two minors

    or do anything to do with business right now

    be good at everything I do.

    Do everything perfectly.

    Be involved in a relationship to be happy.

    Thank u so much Sarah. You are such an inspiration

  13. Caitlin

    Love this.

    I wrote a whole blog entry the other day about how sometimes I feel like I should (or have to) go to grad school… I'm not. I've chosen to go to a technical school instead. Now I just have to work on reminding myself that that IS good enough.

  14. erin louise

    I love, love, love this post. Thank you for the reminder! I think tonight I'm going to sit down and make my own list. This will definitely be on it:

    * find your dream job immediately following college

    Perfect start to my Friday morning.

  15. Chicken

    I realized that I don't have to do anything that doesn't make me happy. It's OK to be selfish in life sometimes, because at the end of the day you're the only person that lives it. Others might judge us for our path, but as long as we're the ones that take pride in ourselves, then nothing else matters.

  16. Monica

    Such a vital reminder. Love it. Thank you for the post. You are excellent, Sarah.

  17. Alex

    Stuff like this makes it so clear you are a teacher. 🙂 I love when adults acknowledge to other adults (and kids) the notion that the rest of the world's norms sometimes doesn't matter. It's an important thing to realize that you should live your own life and to also take that advice with a grain of salt.

  18. Erin Lee Ware

    wow. to think that i thought all of these mattered at some point or another. such a wonderful reminder to be who you are without making excuses. thank you <3

  19. Nahl

    oooh..love the last line!

  20. Sarah Von Bargen

    Oh, you guys! Hugs and high fives all around! <3

  21. {Tara}

    Wow! I heartily agree with this list! This is just what I needed today. I sometimes have a guilt issue {I even blogged about it today…in fact, my post today was inspired in part by you!}. Thanks, Sarah…for being awesome, and for reminding me to live life on my own terms.

  22. Renai

    THIS is why I love your blog so much. I tell myself a lot of things are okay to do or not do- but it feels so much better having someone else put it out there.

    For me- it's not going to college until I'm ready (I'm 25- still not ready!), feeling good about liking my job even though I sit at a desk and my coworkers are all nutso, not having heaps of friends or a huge social life- but living with my wonderful boyfriend and our kitties and loving the life that we have together. And mostly- realizing that it's okay to be broke, as long as I'm still finding ways to love my life every day. My bills are paid, I eat great, I have the time and freedom to go on adventures and learn new things. I think I'm doing okay 🙂

  23. Bethany

    I have realized that people do not have to like me. I can do what is best for me, and not them!

  24. RMb

    oh MAN did i need this today. thank you for sharing it.
    i wish i had something to contribute, but i'm still working on that.

  25. Rhitbee

    Such a good list, I whole heartedly appreciate the fantastic reminders and agree with them all. EXCEPT! Never again shall Lost be put in the same category as greys anatomy and american idol! geez louise.

  26. molly YEH!

    i love this. especially since today i'm making a really hard decision about choosing something for this summer that will either a) further my career or b) give me an amazing life experience that won't further my career at all. i love that you posted this. this is going to make me feel better about probably choosing b. 🙂

  27. Kate

    Thank you!

  28. Cassie

    I've been realizing that I DON'T have to pick up my husband's laundary strewn about the bedroom and the bathroom. I've decided to let it collect on his side of the bed. I realize his Mother didn't teach him to pick up after himself, but I wont let my children think that it is my job to pick up after them or their father. I have better things to do like…write. Thanks for all the unique posts! ~cbm

  29. ReticentPurple

    This is awesome.

    I think I'm working on coming to terms with the fact that I don't have to fulfill everyone's expectations for me, and that I don't have to feel bad about it, either. That one's kind of hard, but I'm getting there.

  30. Ali

    Oh Sarah Von, how do you always know the right thing to say?

  31. Sam

    I've been learning a lot of this recently, thanks for the post! It's really awesome to know that others are on the same subconscious brainwave sometimes!!

  32. Rachel

    Please, please, please, make this "What you don't have to do" list a regular feature.

    It really made a difference for me today.

    I don't have to feel guilty about liking to shop, or spending money.

  33. TheatreChick73

    Wow, I needed this so badly. I seem to be surrounded by friends having babies lately and they are all asking me when I am getting married again so I can have my own brood. And my father keeps quietly asking me why I haven't moved up in my work. Sometimes I feel bad for "settling" for the life I have, but its a good one and I'm happy with it. That's why my email signature is…..

    Not all who wander are lost.
    JRR Tolkien

    It's good to know there are others out there holding thier own happy ground like me 🙂

    Oh yeah….and I've learned wandering is the path for me.

  34. eliza

    This post is SO good! I have to learn that it is ok to be very very very slow about growing up. I am not less because I don't work in an office, or have a car, or a driver's license, or a house…It's OK!

    Thank you so so so much.

  35. eliza

    p.s. Basically, to make all life's decisions at MY tempo, when I'm ready and not a second before, even if that has some nasty consequences.

  36. Carolina

    this was MORE than needed today! I echo everything eveyone else has said 🙂


  37. mahantas

    YESSSSS #4 I love the feeling of the spring air flowing free through my prairies of leg hair … Hilariously, I am also very well dressed and wearing a face of makeup. I think I like the discrepancy.

  38. Tegan

    This was exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you.

  39. Mrs. D

    Beautifully stated. We all need to be reminded from time to time. 🙂 Just discovered your blog today… how could I NOT follow!?

  40. Christine Macdonald

    *Like my sister
    *Do drugs to feel good
    *Wear make-up in front of my man

    Great post!

  41. Maureen

    Yes. Yes.

    At some point I realized "I AM AN ADULT. I do not have to like running."

    It's trivial, but it's representative, of course.

    I can do whatever I want. I am an adult.

    Lovely post 🙂

  42. Cass

    Thank You so much for this Sarah Von- I REALLY needed this today. I have been pressured into applying for law school and I hate the thought of it. Now, I am being pressured to get into a great grad school and I don't even know if that's what I really want. It's like getting an advanced degree is mandatory in my family and its suffocating me. Thanks so much for all of your awesome posts!

  43. miss. chief

    go to my high school reunion!! TOTALLY NOT GOING!!

  44. A-C

    I don't have to get married right away. In fact, I don't have to set a date anytime soon. Granted, it would be nice to tell people a day when I keep getting asked if we've set a date, but meh. We're happy, together and in love. There are much more pressing things that need to be figured out.

  45. Danielle

    you know what? today i realized not what i didn't have to do, but what i WANTED to do! i've decided i want to be a pastry chef and open up my own business. do i have any formal training? nope? but i'm trying to get some kind of internship at one of the local cake shops. i've also looked into getting into culinary school at one of our local community colleges (way cheaper than some other schools out there!). the decision to at least try has made today quite a good day afterall 🙂

  46. Danielle

    @mahantas: I LOVE THAT FEELING! i rarely ever shave my legs, and the other day a nice, warm spring breeze rustled through my leg hair and sent me into a fit of giggles! it was hilarious.

  47. Kelly

    I really, really love this post. I was just having this conversation a few hours ago because sometimes I need a reminder to not "apologize for putting yourself first".

    Thank you!!

  48. Anonymous

    This is fantastic, and so true. The older you get, the more you realise that everything that happens and everything that exists, we do and make ourselves – we don't have to do anything. It's all choice.

  49. Vanessa

    I've realized I don't have to drink. Especially not to enjoy college. Or be more interesting or have fun.

  50. kathryn-louisa

    This is exactly what I needed at this moment in time…

    I've realised I don't need to be there for every single meltdown that my family decide to have (oh so frequently) and on this occasion, I will appreciate my absence and distance myself from it all!

    Thank you!


  51. Melisa

    I don't have to explain to anyone why I don't like IT career and ended up pursuing graphic design =D

  52. screwdestiny

    I do NOT want kids, and I don't see any need to apologize for this, but I'm so sick of people expecting me to. So thank you, Sarah Von, for not thinking I have to. 🙂

  53. young

    Thank you, Sarah.

  54. Daisy

    I love this post! I always feel guilty for not doing things every night of the week like my workmates, but I'm perfectly happy staying in with the boy doing nothing. It's all about happiness x

  55. lorax

    A wonderful reminder.

    Thank you.

  56. Catherine

    Dude. Awesome.

    Realization: I don't have to be perfect or hold up the world. My life changed as soon as let all of that go and fall down around me.


  57. Raggedy Sarah

    Lovely! Things I learned I didn't have to do include:
    1) working at something I didn't love
    2) pretending to be more social than I really am
    3) hiding my love of sewing and knitting

  58. tea for tessa

    This is ironic. I looked at this post right after I sent this girl i was going to go out with tonight telling her I don't think it would be a good idea. I kind of want to enjoy a lazy Saturday night. It is too much hassle and you're right, I don't HAVE to go out tonight just because most others my age are.

    I hate breaking a plan, but if your heart isn't in it, it shouldn't be forced.

  59. Allie

    thanks- I REALLY needed to see this. some more things I don't need to do:
    have a boyfriend, maintain a 4.0 gpa, go to an ivy, skip meals in anticipation of spring break

  60. Lisa Grace

    You're so wonderful 🙂

  61. Melanie

    another great post thanks for sharing. it's so great to know that there are opening mind people out in the world.

  62. Anonymous

    I'm reminding myself of many of these things almost daily, it seems. I'm at a strange turning point in my life where I've decided/realized that life is too short to settle for ANYTHING other than what I want or need or desire. Sometimes I feel guilty for dropping out of college (twice, ahem) because I feel like it's what I'm EXPECTED to do, but I have an arm's length list of reasons why college just isn't the right fit for me. I also don't feel that just because I've been dating someone for 4+ years, that that means we should be married by now. I don't know if I EVER want to get married!

    It's okay to be unconventional. It's okay to be myself. It's okay to do what makes me happiest.

Pin It on Pinterest