(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.”
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So I ask you to ponder the following….