If you were to ask Sarah, she could confirm for you that despite the boundless mass that is my ego, there are things that I absolutely suck at.
And one of those things is sleeping.
I’ll admit it—I’m a bit of a workaholic. I’m up at all hours of night scribbling things down. Tweaking this. Thinking about that. Reading things I always meant to read. Working on reducing a pile that always seems to stay the same size. Yeah, I’m always doing something — definitely a bit of a workaholic in me.
But, as can be done with many of the problems and issues we face day in and day out, this can be traced to a human folly that I share with many others—fear of missing out.
We all have FOMO to some degree. It’s those times where we have something to do, and we wonder how the party we’re not attending is going. Or get jealous because someone was at the right place at the right time for something amazing to happen to them.
What else would keep me unsatisfied enough to stay up trying to progress as much as possible before admitting that I’d done everything I could with my day? Or get me to constantly multitask to fit more hours into my day (in a feeble attempt to be the master of my time)? Or compel me to hang on to things until I’m absolutely sure that they’ve outlived their usefulness?
Indeed, I think I’ve caught a bad case of FOMO and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
But while my brain way want to use every waking hour learning new things and conquering new challenges, I must constantly remind myself—my time is not my time alone. I’m fortunate enough to lead a full and rich life with friends, family and a better half. How can I be missing out when I have things that will be there regardless of what party I go to or whichever opportunities I take?
This isn’t meant to be a sappy post, but it IS meant to put things in perspective. Sometimes we focus too much on ourselves. Sometimes without meaning to. Or sometimes we don’t care as much as we should. We can all get so consumed by ideas that keep us up at night. We can all become so determined to accomplish things that we forgot other things to get them done. But even so, we can let these consume us. We can’t let striving for opportunities, experiences and inclusion derail us from some of the more fundamental things in life—the things that make us who we are.
I have a file where I jot the beginnings of what eventually become posts for the 2K11 24/7. Gives me time to mould them into narratives and make sure that they have a point.
One of them was called “How Much is Your Time Worth?” It was a post looking at the different methods we use to measure our time and whether or not we decide to do tasks based on how much we value them.
But upon reading and re-reading it, it kept striking the wrong chord with me, and I didn’t realize why until now—life isn’t about how much money you make. It isn’t about weighing one thing against another based on which earns you more or costs you less. Life is about living. We all have to do things that may not be at the top of the lists or gain us the most. We all need to take risks without the certainty that we’ll get back what we’re putting in—take a look at dating or starting a business, for instance. But life is about living.
So if you’re like me, up at wee hours in the clutches of FOMO, I need you to remember this: you’re not missing out on anything. You are living your life. Every action you take is telling your story. The parties you don’t make it to; the things you don’t get around to day by day; the conversations you don’t have and the people you don’t see—there’s a reason behind all of it… we’re just not equipped to know what it is before its time.
In the end (and I’m going to try to take my own advice here), don’t lament what you haven’t accomplished, but celebrate what you’ve done already and revel in the possibility of what’s yet to come! Because if we spend all of our time worrying about missing out, we aren’t leaving anywhere in our schedule to let the best adventures in.