The Good Kind of FOMO

(FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out)

As someone who maintains a terrible indecisive streak, I have given a lot of thought to the idea that all decisions are made out of either fear or love.

Nowhere is this division of emotions more clear for me than in travel.  Traveling incites both fear and love in such strength that I am forced to acknowledge each, and constantly have to decide which one gets to rule.

I almost didn’t study abroad because I was afraid of living in another culture, another language, another continent.  Most of all, however silly it may seem, I was afraid of what I would be missing out on in the college experience while I was gone.

I almost didn’t take a year sabbatical to travel, for fear of losing everything I knew and loved at the time.  And this time my fears were justified: I lost it all.  The relationship. (Some) of the friends.  The career.  The city.

I wrote once that it always comes down to what you’ll regret more.  Nothing helps me make decisions better than placing options on the regret scale.

Yet it can be challenging to know what we will regret.  Only now, looking back, is it so clear to me how much I would have regretted turning down the chance to live and study in another country.  I didn’t regret missing one football season and a few parties.

I would have regretted not getting on that one-way flight…not only because was it a once-in-a-lifetime chance to chase a dream and see the world — but because it changed everything for the better.

In the past year, I’ve gained so much more than I’ve lost.  The most valuable thing perhaps is the sense that my life is now aligned with who I am.  I had to be willing to place a big bet and accept some losses to get here. And the journey is far from over.  But if I’m going to bet on anything, it’s travel. 

Often what we’re afraid of the most is the unknown.  More than anything, travel has forced me to befriend this fear.  A notorious life planner and organized go-getter, nothing has enriched my life more than learning how to embrace the inevitable unknown of life in a foreign place and on a foreign timetable.

Here’s what I’ve learned: fear is not the enemy.  Show fear a little bit of love.  Train yourself to fear what you’ll miss if you don’t go after what you love.

Spoiler alert: choosing love is often the more difficult route, and sometimes your fears will come true as a result.  As of now, I’m unemployed and paying rent in San Francisco (yikes.)   That scares the bejeezus out of me daily.  Yet, choosing love is always worth it…

You know what they say…”If you never go, you’ll never know.”

never settle quoteclick to tweet >

So I ask you to ponder the following….

I don’t want to take that trip.  It’s too difficult to plan everything.

“If you settle for easy, you might miss out on exceptional.”

I don’t want to visit that country.  It’s too difficult to travel in.

“If you settle for easy, you might miss out on exceptional.”

I don’t want to talk to that person.  It’s too difficult for me to start the conversation.

“If you settle for easy, you might miss out on exceptional.”

I guess I’ll take that job.  It’s too difficult for me to keep looking.

“If you settle for easy, you might miss out on exceptional.”

I guess I’ll be friends with this person.  It’s too difficult for me to be alone.

“If you settle for easy, you might miss out on exceptional.”

I guess I’ll date this person.  It’s too difficult to find the right person.

“If you settle for easy, you might miss out on exceptional.”

 

I don’t want to live my dreams.  It’s much easier just existing.

 


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4 Comments

  1. Desiree' Choy

    “Train yourself to fear what you’ll miss if you don’t go after what you love.”
    Words of truth and strength my friend. You could not have spoken more clearly and purposefully to my big move. Leaving my home, friends and family to embark on this new international teaching job is scary and exciting all at the same time. I take the risk of losing some or all of it but I am reassured by the truth that no one ever takes a trip or a big leap of faith and regrets the adventure. However, how often do you meet people who regret never having done it while they had the opportunity.

    For LOVE of travel!

    • “I wish I hadn’t traveled…” SAID NO ONE EVER.
      Your bravery and love of adventure continue to inspire me. It can be a daily struggle to keep the faith – but having others share your beliefs and help hold you up is what keeps us going.
      Can’t wait to visit you in your new home! For LOVE of travel is right! XO

  2. For YEARS, I have been making big decisions based on the regret scale and coaching people to do the same. I completely agree with the approach, and I also think that if, down the line, you see that you didn’t make the best decision, you’ll know that at the time you made the best one you could. It’s a reassurance that’s priceless. It’s also especially good to read this at turning point in my own life, looking to start my career in a new place. Going to keep that easy/exceptional mantra in mind!

    • Hi Clare, I love what you wrote about “you’ll know at the time you made the best decision you could.” So well said.
      I am also starting my career in a new place, so I am glad to hear that this helps you! Please continue to share any other gems that help…I know I could use them!
      Best wishes and happy travels 🙂

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