Is Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) Killing Your Dreams
“Why sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast!” ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
I had a dream many years ago that I never forgot.
I was in a room surrounded by doors that led to a different future. Maybe Alice in Wonderland was playing on the TV in the other room as I slept. At least Alice tried to open the doors. I stood frozen with indecision.
What if I make the wrong choice? What will I miss if I choose one door over the other? What to do? I think I will just stay here safe in my room, ignore the doors, and not make a decision at all.
My life felt a lot like that dream.
Indecision keeping me stuck in a room thinking of life beyond the doors. Safe, but sad to know that I was missing out on all the opportunities because I refused to choose one.
Sometimes when I was feeling brave, I would open a door and start to take a step, then backtrack as soon as I realized it would be a long journey over challenging terrain. No matter what door I opened, obstacles were in the way.
So, I stayed still, just doing what I had to do to get by in life and dreaming about what I could do someday.
All I did was stare at doors and consult experts about which door they recommend I choose. Many gurus gladly gave me a value exchange to tell me things that seemed unrelated to selecting a door: get up at 5 a.m., make your bed, take deep breaths, meditate, take a cold shower, hydrate, go vegan, get a massage, spend time in nature, go on solo dates… on and on.
I kept taking in their advice until my room began to spin like a cyclone. My ‘safe’ space was now consuming me. I knew I had to make a choice.
I opened a spreadsheet, listed all my interests, and created a formula to see which door was right for me. Bingo! Got it. I was ready to turn my brilliant formula into an App!
The problem was when I plugged my numbers into the spreadsheet the next day, the top career suggestion changed. I was back to square one.
The only way to calm the storm raging inside me was through distraction, so I didn’t think of the doors or life beyond my safe space. Scrolling through social media was a great escape. No decisions necessary. I could live vicariously through everyone else’s open door.
Another decade went by, loved ones died, again causing my safe room to spin. Would I die with never having made a decision?
I had forgotten all about this dream or writing this story in my journal. I ran across it when I was looking through old files to find some nature-related poems for the Earth Day Nature Anthology I was working on.
Then it occurred to me that I opened a door somewhere along the way and stepped through it. I didn’t even realize I had made a decision. I just kept doing what I love — writing. I started saying no to unrelated projects and mind-numbing jobs. I just want to write. I could seriously spend the rest of my life and the next life working on my long list of writing projects!
It feels good to escape that room with all the doors and go through the open door that leads to grand adventures.
Do you find yourself stuck trying to make decisions because you fear missing out on all the other opportunities? Do you have fear-based worries, such as fear of failure or fear of success? Are distractions and procrastination killing your dreams? If so, perhaps you’re at the wrong door.
What makes time disappear, makes the loneliness go away, gives life meaning, makes your spirit soar?
Let’s take a page out of Lewis Carroll’s book and believe in the impossible. Suspend disbelief long enough to step through the door of your wildest dreams. Then get ready for the miracles that happen when you pursue your passion.
Kathy Gerstorff is an indie author and poet. You can find her talking about personal development on Twitter at @LiveEmpowered, posting nature photos and writing tips on Instagram at @KathysKingdom, publishing books and journals at amazon.com/author/kathy or gumroad.com/writerkat, creating cool merch at creativeartwear.com, and doing her part to help heal the world on poem at a time on poetryplanet.org.