Life and Focusing on What Matters: The Give a Damn List

Create a Give a Damn List to help you balance the things and people that really matter | The Champagne Supernova

We have a limited number of damns in our lives.

Yet, we somehow end up giving them away on the dumbest, most insignificant things.


I can be a compulsive damn giver-outer.

Doling out the damns like Oprah gives away cars.

You get a damn!

That other person gets a damn!

Everyone’s getting a damn!

People who don’t really matter.

Things that are stupid.

Stuff that happened in the past that I can’t control.

I’ve had it.

I recently traveled out of town to attend a conference. The main attendees were women like me: moms of young children who were bloggers and authors. All of them were in their mid-30s and the majority were married.

When we arrived at the conference, we were randomly placed in small groups where we performed team building activities and brainstormed about how to grow our businesses.

Here’s the problem.

Despite our ostensible similarities, I really had nothing to talk about with these women. Yes, they were friendly and no, there was no drama, but beyond the casual formalities, I just had nothing. to. talk. to. them. about. (The three-hour time change and my exhaustion didn’t help things. Being forced to be “on” does nothing but perpetuate my pre-existing social awkwardness.)

Some people you click with and some people you don’t.

There wasn’t any deep and meaningful clicking.


On the plane ride back, my negative thoughts started getting the best of me.

Why couldn’t I connect with these women?

Is something wrong with me?

I called my close friend and former roommate, Amy. She’s usually the voice of reason.

Tell the truth, is there something I’m doing wrong?

No…. and be honest with yourself, do you give a damn about any of these people anyway?



No, I don’t.

Which forced me to consider why I give so many damns.

In an effort to be proactive, I got out a journal and created a list of people and things I was going to give a damn about in the future.

A Give a Damn List.

Moving forward, the list will serve as the Holy Grail of things and people that do and do not matter.

Things I will make a priority and things I will not.

That way, when I am wallowing in self-doubt and stress, I can open up the journal and refer to the list.

If the “trigger” is not on the list, then I’m not going to give a damn.

(Realistically: I will try really hard to not give a damn. Old habits die hard.)

When you are trying to figure out what matters in your life, create a Give a Damn List in your journal. This contains a list of things that will be a priority. | The Champagne Supernova

The journal that contains my personal Give a Damn List.

Here is my hierarchy of people who get my damns.

  1. God;
  2. My husband and two daughters;
  3. My parents and sister;
  4. Other relatives who are close and super special (e.g. my grandparents);
  5. A group of close friends. Some I have known for twenty years and some I’ve known for only a few years. The type who I love and love me back… amazing friends like the “Ashleys” I wrote about here– the type of friendships where we are there for each other in a bind and can be forthcoming about life’s tribulations; and
  6. My boss. Because bills.

Then, there was the list of things on my Give a Damn List:

  1. Fostering a close relationship with God;
  2. Marriage/ family time and making memories;
  3. The emotional and academic growth of my children;
  4. Nurturing the relationships of the people listed in 2-5 above; and
  5. The blog work and “work work”.

That’s it.

There’s all my damns.

I don’t have any more damns to give. And here’s the thing. None of us do.

Even those damns are damn consuming.

Anything and anyone else is just icing on the cake or nonsense, depending on the situation. If something does not facilitate the growth and nurturing of someone or something on my Give a Damn List, then I’m not going to stress myself out about it.

(Important note: this doesn’t mean to be dismissive or unkind to someone or something that is not on the Give a Damn List, it just means you shouldn’t prioritize it and shouldn’t worry too much overthinking about it.)

Go ahead and make a list for yourself.

It feels good to write those names down.

It feels good to write the things down that will be your biggest priorities and then refer back to the list later when you’re feeling frustrated.

The modern American family is stressed, rushed, and tired. No more. We need to stop spreading ourselves so thin and start worrying about who and what really matters.

Here’s to giving a damn about the people and things that matter most.

Here’s to the Give a Damn List.



    18 Comments on Life and Focusing on What Matters: The Give a Damn List

    1. Amy Mcclung
      May 8, 2019 at 5:17 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you so much. What a great idea to help return focus to the things that we value! Making my own tonight. Thanks for giving a damn to write this

    2. cara
      May 10, 2017 at 8:51 pm (5 years ago)

      This is amazing and so true Jennifer! Our lives are already so consumed with the people/things we care about that it makes it really hard to care about things outside of that. I’m learning as I get older the less I should worry about silly things out there.

    3. Elisha Snyder
      May 10, 2017 at 3:33 pm (5 years ago)

      Another great post!!! Love how relatable your posts are! Thanks for being that blog that is my go to ?

    4. Afroza
      May 10, 2017 at 8:08 am (5 years ago)

      This is so interesting! Love it 🙂

    5. Rachel Godin
      May 9, 2017 at 11:12 am (5 years ago)

      You are so right as usual!

    6. Kristin
      May 9, 2017 at 10:50 am (5 years ago)

      Love this. A good lesson and perspective for all. I give a damn about you. And our upcoming vacay! 🙂

    7. Allison
      May 9, 2017 at 10:37 am (5 years ago)

      This is awesome. You are awesome.

    8. Deena
      May 9, 2017 at 10:19 am (5 years ago)

      I. LOVE. THIS!!!! And you!!!! Truly, this simplifies everything so perfectly!

    9. Libby Vish Carl
      May 9, 2017 at 10:13 am (5 years ago)

      I don’t think I could like this anymore! What a great idea to help return focus to the things that we value! Making my own tonight. Thanks for giving a damn to write this. 🙂

    10. Rhiannon
      May 9, 2017 at 7:30 am (5 years ago)

      Even laying it out like that, it looks like a lot of damns! Here’s to narrowing our damns down.

    11. Anosa
      May 9, 2017 at 1:27 am (5 years ago)

      Whilst I do practice not giving a damn about some people and situations I have never thought of writing it down before. It is so easy to give a damn about so many inconsequential things but it’s nice when you recognise that that needs to change yourself

    12. Emily
      May 8, 2017 at 10:18 pm (5 years ago)

      I love your lists. Its so true, we only have so many damns to give.

    13. Jennifer Worrell
      May 8, 2017 at 10:12 pm (5 years ago)

      I love everything about this! I’m getting to work on my list now! You rock!

    14. Aja West
      May 8, 2017 at 9:34 pm (5 years ago)

      I have the good fortune to be married to someone who gives VERY few damns (God, family, job). He has always been a great source of perspective for me. Even within those categories he often asks the question, “Will this matter in 10,000 years?” Meaning, is it something of eternal consequence and therefore worth a lot of energy? Sometimes in light of that question the things you answer yes to (extra minutes at bedtime when your kids share their hearts) vs no (the big deal you lost at work that was a PITA client anyway), surprise you.

    15. Vanessa L Pruitt
      May 8, 2017 at 9:13 pm (5 years ago)

      This definitely makes me want to make my own “give a damn” list! thanks for sharing.

    16. Mattie
      May 8, 2017 at 9:08 pm (5 years ago)

      I LOVE THIS! I will be making my list this week! With only so many hours in each day, we need to cut out the thing that don’t matter and focus on the things that do!

    17. Willow
      May 8, 2017 at 8:17 pm (5 years ago)

      I have gotten a lot better about not giving a damn, but still have a little ways to go. I left my career a few years ago because it was no longer making me happy. Since then, I have had a new perspective on life. I no longer do things that I don’t want to do or spend time with people I don’t like. And I don’t give a damn what they think!

      • jenniferdaku
        May 8, 2017 at 8:56 pm (5 years ago)

        I love this, Willow! Cheers to using our damns sparingly and wisely.