I've been wanting to write a post about FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) for a while now, but it wasn't until last night that I found a direction for it. Our local Fleet Feet stores were hosting an All 4 Run event in beautiful and historic Ohio City in conjunction with Global Running Day, and I had signed up, excited about the event as not only a chance to run a fun scavenger-hunt-style event but also to meet some more runners in the area. It seemed like a great plan - until I arrived about a half hour before the event was to begin.
The problems I encountered are that I don't actually know many people in Cleveland that would go to an event like this, and these type of events are usually held at bars. Why are these problems? Ever gone to a social event without knowing anyone, where everyone arrives in their friend groups or with their significant others, and sat there by yourself? I'm not exactly a wallflower most of the time (in fact I'm usually in-your-face meeting people) but there wasn't another person there alone besides myself, and when you're in a dark bar by yourself, that's very intimidating. Or at least, for me it is. Because then there's that bar portion, with the awful music barely audible beyond the bass-thumping that causes me some health issues, the beer that I don't drink, and the atmosphere that makes approaching a big group of friends incredibly awkward.
Let's not even talk about the disdainful looks people were giving me as I was clearly alone and out of my element.
I left the event after about 10 minutes, and I left in tears that lasted almost the whole way home. As much as I hated being in that situation and feeling miserable, what I hated even MORE was leaving the event. Despite the increasingly negative feeling of the situation, I very seriously debated staying. Not because I thought I'd eventually make a friend or two, but because the event itself had sounded like fun and I was afraid if I left I'd miss out on a unique event. I would almost rather be miserable and still get the experience than leave and feel more comfortable - so much so that it made me cry.
Handling FOMO is like playing with fire. I've definitely tried some things that had amazing impacts on my life because of FOMO, but I've also put myself into situations in which I wasn't at all comfortable, and some of those situations have played out very, very badly. Last night, I was dangerously close to the later, but I fought through the FOMO and tried to make a decision that would ultimately be healthier for my mind and body. While I strive to have adventures, and FOMO often drives me into great adventures, I also need to remember that not every moment has to be exciting, especially at the expense of my health or mental wellness.
It's worth remembering also that "missing" one thing doesn't mean the end of the world. So I didn't do the scavenger hunt thing - instead I went home and did a neighborhood run with my puppy when the temperature went down a bit, and hung out with my parents watching baseball and prepping for my brother to visit tonight. And you know what? I think I'm okay with "missing out" now.
How do you deal with FOMO? Have you ever had an amazing experience brought about by pure FOMO? What about an awful experience?