This so effectively lays out the fears had by so many. How many times have I been told “do it while you’re young”? Hell, that’s part of the reason we decided to go on exchange. I feel like there’s so many older people in our lives saying “I wish I did…” and “life would be so much better if I had…”. These things put pressure on us to not only experience adventure while we’re young, but also to make all the right decisions and plan for the future and save money for retirement. It feels like we live in fear of making the mistakes of our elders, though there are really no mistakes on your path of life. You chose the wrong career? Change it. You never had kids, but always wanted them? Volunteer with children, adopt. It may not be how you’ve always wanted it, but do what brings YOU happiness, now.
I’ve realized that I am always too focused on the next day, the next milestone, my plan for later in the day and later in life. I am never in the moment. We must all do exactly what is right for us at the moment in which we are making the decision. How can you predict the future? And how can you try to make decisions know just because you’ll regret it later if you don’t? There is no reason that you can’t go parachuting at 45, or travel the world at 60.
Focus on what is right in front of you, right now, and worry about the future when it comes.
I feel like this mindset, the FOMO, has been fueled by the regrets of our parents and elders. They may regret not making the most of their lives, and this regret, when shared with their children, only fuels the FOMO fire. It makes us feel as though we are limited in life.
I think this is a fear we all have. But if we just focus on the here and now, and focus on doing things that are right for us, how can we go wrong?
I was driving on Route 16 between New Hampshire and Maine the other day, ferrying my co-workers from the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Lakes of the Clouds hut to my house in Rangeley for a night of relaxation after closing the backcountry hut for the season. The sparsely populated woodland highway was pitch dark, we had already seen three moose come out onto the road, and we were talking about our fears. Two seemed to be louder than the rest: the fear of settling down and the fear of not having enough time to do everything we wanted. What if there wasn’t enough time? What if the adventure came to an end before we wanted it to? These fears, palpable and real to everyone in the car, all of us twenty-two and twenty-three years old, echoed out into the blackness of the night. Out to the rest of our generation. To…
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