Some of the most valuable things I’ve learned have come from the most unlikely places.
You know, like Urban Dictionary.
I used to have my students to help me out with the latest lingo and snazzy expressions people are saying these days. Since I’ve been out of the teacher world, the struggle has been real for me to keep up with all of the hip quips. If I want to know what something means, I usually have to resort to Urban Dictionary.
One thing I’ve learned is that FOMO refers to the “fear of missing out,” and I think it’s a pretty legit abbreviated expression because it’s very true—certain things truly do make you feel like you’re being left out of some really great memories. I mean, just open up your FaceBook or Instagram app, and take a look at all of the fun events and activities your friends are a part of, and you might experience some of the symptoms of FOMO.
Why am I not there?
Why are they having so much fun without me?
Why was I not invited?
Why did I choose to sit at home when I could be out with them?
Who is that new person in this picture with my friends?
What if I’m missing out on some really wonderful memories?
There are just so many questions that come along with the FOMO moments.
I must admit that I’ve had many FOMO times in my life, even before it was a hashtag. When I was in high school, most of my friends started dating, and I sat back and waited for my turn (still waiting, by the way). It was the same story in college and after that, and then everyone started getting engaged, and I felt like I was being left behind.
When I went through all of those issues with my kidneys recently and wasn’t able to run much, I started to feel like I was missing out on a lot in the local running community, especially because I had to miss out on a some of the bigger races I love running. I still haven’t raced in almost a year, so it’s been rough.
Since I moved to California, I’ve definitely had my fair share of moments of feeling like I’m missing out on some really great things with my people back home. When I see pictures of my friends, I want to be there with them. When my sister texts me pictures of her with my mom, I want to hop on a plane and go take a selfie with them. When my brother sends me pics of my sweet niece, I want to rush over to their house like I used to every weekend and hang out with them.
I recently had to remind myself, though, that if I spend so much time thinking about what I’m missing out on elsewhere, I’m actually really missing out on the moment right before me.
No, I don’t have a husband or a boyfriend or a date to anything ever, but my singleness has never actually gotten in the way of my life. Maybe one day someone will fall in love with me, but if he doesn’t, then I can’t let that stop me from dancing on my own and enjoying every moment I can.
No, I haven’t gotten to race or be anywhere close to in racing shape in quite some time, but for some reason or another, I needed that time away from all of that. I needed to slow down a little, and I reached a point when I realized that my main focus needed to be on enjoying those moments when I wasn’t hooked up to IVs and in so much pain that I couldn’t even get up to walk without it being a struggle.
No, I don’t live in Texas anymore, but there are a lot of great people and great places in California, and I don’t want to miss out on them because I’m focusing so much on what I’m missing out on somewhere else. God called me out here for a reason, and I’m going to trust whatever it is and not what it’s not.
The wise and poetic Hannah Montana said it best: “Life’s what you make it, so let’s make it rock.” You can’t be everywhere with everyone all of the time—you only can be where you are in the moment. None of us knows how many moments we’ll get, so it’s important to be present and to make each one count.
Because if you’re so busy letting the fear of missing out get the best of you, you’re actually missing out on more than you know.