“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” – Anaïs Nin

Now I reluctantly face what I am told is the end of my youth (having just recently turned 30), I find myself asking “what next?”…

One minute I was standing in the wings, waiting to make my grand debut, then all of a sudden I realised that Life had already begun and I was too busy worrying about what I was going to do with it to do anything in particular.

I guess I look OK on paper – a career put on hold to play Mum to “two under 3”, a loving husband and a mortgage. I may just be living some version of the Australian dream.

So why the nagging sense of dissatisfaction with life in general?

I was chatting recently with a uni student who, at almost a decade younger than me, enjoys more “i” in her Gen-Y than perhaps I do.

As she recounted a recent holiday to Thailand where she voluntarily flung herself into the air using a parachute and a speed boat, despite near-crippling fear, because (groan) “everyone else was doing it!”, she reminded me of the concept of FOMO. That’s “Fear of Missing Out” for those of you playing at home.

FOMO is the plague of the “Starbucks” generation. Sing along if you know the words…

We stand paralysed in front of a menu of endless options where you worry that every choice you make discounts the ability to consume something possibly more thrilling and tasty than the option listed before.

Some (suffering FOMO) order everything in the attempt to “have it all”… discovering option after option that could be “the one” and leaving the store poor and over-caffeinated.

I am beginning to realise that I am more familiar with FOMO’s evil half sibling, FOOI (?!?!) Fear of Opting In…

This is characterised more by a fear of failure to enjoy any of the menu items sufficiently, thus you order nothing and go down the street to the Vietnamese bakery where you can still order life with milk and two sugars for $2.50 and be done with it.

Better familiar mediocrity than a hazelnut cream frappe that ends up in the bin – right? RIGHT?!?!?

See, I am no longer so sure…

Realising (not quite too late) that FOOI is even more objectionable than FOMO, I have resolved to spectacularly fail at something every once in a while.

Hence this blog. This is to become the first of what I hope shall be many failures – having an opinion on something… in public! It will cover my take on “stuff” as I try to shake off the mediocrity that comes with fear and indecision.

Do you suffer FOOI?  Have you risked it all and won… or better yet, failed and lived to tell the tale?



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5 responses to “FOOI to FOMO

  1. David W

    I can’t decide if I should follow this blog ……. but then it is a keenly poised idea, that we fear missing out as much as committing. The sugar and pool acid of our time! I wonder where it can go? Soul searching in this modern world produces little for most of us – and understanding arrives more in the form of adopting the views of others than generating original ideas. Most of us are constantly searching for something to believe in, because we think we know ourselves well enough to know our ROM and RAM aren’t up to solving our own problems let alone those around us …… So much for education leading us out of darkness! Is it the plethora of choice that confuses us, or the lack of reliable information on which to base rational decisions? Opportunity Cost! Ahhhh there’s the catch! If I do this then I can’t do that! And I have nothing to help me understand whether Choice A will furnish me with more of what I want than Choice 2, or Option (iii). Whoops – they aren’t even on the same axis – so why are they in the same space in my head? Because someone put them there! Along with all the other dross that we hungrily absorb because it is in front of us – visible and appealing, blocking the line of sight to everything else.
    Don’t feel bad, Yes, No, Um …….. Look up, and feel the sun on your face. And the rain too, if you’re lucky. Feel your pulse, hear your heart, and know that this is your time. And the best thing you can do with it right now is be selfish, starting with making sure your kids get to know what you know, ‘cos that is your gift to them. Fill them up with your stuff, before the warped wider world muscles in and they are lost forever. Go on – you know you want to!

    • David W

      I do hope you follow – and comment often! Sounds to me like you have a lot to offer the discussion at this round table!

      Yes, one can often feel like pacman, chomping passively on other people’s ideas… until you end up feeling queasy! Perhaps it is up to each of us to interview ideas more rigorously before adopting them into our DNA?!?

  2. BBBaby

    Hope your are channelling your Anaïs Nin…”We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” consider this and remember to live ‘deeply’ and hear your own ‘music’

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