by MIA FREEDMAN
It’s 9am on Saturday and a text arrives. Up pops a photo of a friend striding across a finish line. “Just did 5km fun run – not much fun at all!” she wrote and I digested the text with a familiar pang.
Do you ever get the feeling that everyone else is living their lives better than you? It’s that. The feeling that I should be doing more. Being more. But I’m not. I’m in bed with a large cup of tea and a small child snuggled under each arm. Finish line? My day hasn’t even started and already I have this nagging feeling of inadequacy. A quick glance at my Facebook feed often leaves me feeling the same way as the images whizz across my screen – overseas trips, music festivals, exhibitions, picnics, adventures, celebrations, restaurants, beaches, sunsets, parties…everyone’s lives loom so large.
Meanwhile, I go to work and I come home. Wait, sometimes I go to Westfield or the chicken shop.
An important thing to add: I’m not unhappy about this. I love my routine and my quiet life. And yet there’s this pressure I feel. A combination of FOMO (fear of missing out) and YOLO (you only live once). It’s FOMOYOLO. And it’s most acute when I have unstructured time.
For example, my holidays were a bit of a struggle this year. Lovely but a struggle. Despite the luxury of three work-free weeks by the beach with family and close friends, I created dumb things to be anxious about.
Chief among them was that I wasn’t doing my holiday properly; that I wasn’t doing enough. Not swimming enough. Not relaxing enough. Not being active enough. Not having enough fun. This is how I discovered worrying about not having fun is a great way to guarantee it. Trust me.
Anyway, on this holiday and most others, I was torn between what I wanted to do and what I wanted to want to do.
Read that last sentence back again slowly and you’ll get it. In short, whenever I have the chance to choose what I’m doing (ie: not working), I end up feeling like I should seize the day. But not really wanting to.
You see for most people, holidays are about discovering new things and shrugging off routine. But that’s my nightmare. Even on holidays I like reverting to a well worn goat track. I like going to the same places, doing the same things and eating the same meals at the same cafes. I don’t want to meet anyone new. I can’t be bothered.