A few weeks ago, while writing this post, I was having a hard time being back in my routine. I try to write this blog as a true reflection of my journey, as I see it, experience it. For this to be a genuine exchange, there has to be posts relating to be challenges and days where feeling the feelings hurts so darn much. Know that I am feeling better, but I found it important to share the lows as well, because it’s human. And as spiritual beings having a human experience, we owe it to ourselves to forgive ourselves, accept the grief and anxiety in order to better let go. In love, M.
As you’ve read, I’ve been on an extraordinary holiday and shared some beautiful moments and insights with dear friends (old and new) this summer. I came home with my heart full and my head wide open. For most people, there’s also a caveat to being exposed to alternative ways of living, a plethora of options and being shown the weight of your own freedom; for me, that takes the cyclical form of existential anxiety.
I wonder… do I fear the future or am I terrified of missing out (FOMO: Fear of Missing Out), as it happens to my fellow Gen Yers? Ok, so FOMO is about social anxiety, but could it not also extend to a fear of not tasting the full buffet of life?
I’m someone who often questions my life situation, my decisions and I reassess frequently whether I am happy, healthy and on the “right path” (meaning, one that brings me fulfillment and a great sense of purpose).
(As i write this, hummingbirds and titmouse are flying up to my window…life is sweet and must be savoured in small and great pleasures alike!)
I’d be lying if I told you there’s a clear, singular reason for this “mal de vivre”. In truth, it’s the result of integration, growth and positive change to unfold and soon to enter my life. But for now, I feel sad, I feel like a wreck and I think it’s important to expose this side of personal development and the spiritual journey.
I’m not alone in feeling anxious about the future (in fact, myopia is on the rise and that has as much to do with apprehension as it does to the use of screens on our various devices). I’ve harboured fears around my future since my teens. It became recurring in my twenties and as I faced grown-up challenges like grief, job loss, depression, thyroid condition and burnout. Life happens, am I right?
I’m a well-adjusted person, I’m self-aware and I try to be my best self. But I get anxious when I feel the effects of time; when I’m confronted with the dichotomy of past and present “me” or when I witness loved ones’ milestones (weddings, births, illness, passing).
Anxious? You’re not alone…
Anxiety is not rational and it runs away with your sound mind. Anxiety leaves you with a jumping record of your worst-case scenarios on loop. There’s no room for problem-solving, creation or healing. That’s the thing with fears; they’re likely unfounded and unhelpful. My fears often crippled me (and sometimes still do), and I’d turn around and a year had gone by. Then, I’d go into a panic that “I haven’t any time to waste!”
I’m still afraid of failing and worse, I’m afraid of succeeding. Who or what would I leave behind, if I became insanely successful? What options will be eliminated by my success or failure? If I make this or that choice, am I giving up something I may want more or later?
Part of me is terrified of the idea of not living fully, of being excluded, of regret, or not experiencing the full-spectrum of the life’s opportunities. And yet, I don’t want to jump out of an airplane. So clearly, the reality of my wants and needs is not that extreme.
I think my generation is blessed and cursed by the the Internet age. Gen Y suffers from so much freedom and connectivity, potentially expressed in many choices and enabled by accessible devices that we eventually feel paralyzed (can’t decide as we feel overwhelmed) or obsessed (we want to do it all, at once, or bust). Maybe it’s both. As it is currently defined, the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) relates mostly to social angst and feeling like fun is had without us. I take this fear further, into a general “existential anxiety” that is born from a fear of the future combined with the multitude of social events and happenings online. FOMO is being afraid of all the possibilities AND of our own choices. It’s crazy-making!
Redefining FOMO: Full of Meaning and Oneness
FOMO for me, manifests in my wanderlust and in my deep need to create a family. They seemingly conflict, or so society says, but in fact, they just require intentional choices. FOMO, in check, can take the form of a fierce independence that drives my career decisions and reminds me that I have found/created my purpose. My freedom IS a blessing, as it is my responsibility; choosing what’s right for me is the tricky part.
I can’t speak for my entire generation, but as a member, I can say that I need simple living more than ever. “Simple” is my own definition. It’s making choices that respect my values and make my life easier in my heart and in my day-to-day. I need simplicity for my health and well-being. I certainly don’t need a mould or more rules to follow and standards to meet. I think Gen-Y needs to make choices that honour us and thanks to which, we stop comparing ourselves to each other or to previous generations. We need to unplug and redefine FOMO: Full of Meaning and Oneness.
Have you ever felt analysis paralysis or felt overwhelmed by options? How have you taken back your life? What choices did you make to feel connected to your Self and your inner knowing and peace?