A friend sent me this picture earlier in the week with the caption, "Too bad we're at work...."
A big WNW swell has been hitting Los Angeles all week, but I'm likely going to miss it because the sun comes up as I'm on my way to work, and goes down before I get home. To make matters worse, my car broke down last week, so the bus has doubled my commute time, making an early evening surf session impossible.
The swell is weakening as the week goes by, from what I hear, so by the today, Saturday, I'll have missed the best parts. So what do I do in a crisis such as this? I've narrowed it down to a few options:
- Quit my job and go surfing
- Call in "sick" and go surfing
- Miss the swell
And so I sit at my desk, looking out the window as the wind gently pushes the palm trees outside, imagining those palm trees were beachfront and that I was there, catching what could be the best waves of my life.
But would they be the best waves of my life? Maybe. But they could also end up being big ugly close-outs that are next-to-impossible to drop in on. I'll never know, and that's where the anxiety lies -- missing out on unknown potential.
Fear of missing out is an epidemic running rampant these days, usually tied to social media as all the tweets and instagram photos make it seem like everyone but you is doing something incredible or awesome, all the time. But surfers have been feeling this for decades, as the responsibilities of life often don't line up with nature's gifts. Even when we're on the water, you hear arguments because other surfers snake waves. Or maybe you get mad because you slipped on that last drop in and you swear it was going to be the best wave you've ever ridden.
|Take delight, even on a crappy day -- fun is what it's all about, right?|
I'm not one to preach realistic expectations in life, but avoiding regret in the water (and life) involves a healthy balance between optimism and reality. The other key to fighting FOMO is being happy where you're at (aka - contentment). After all, if you're stuck dwelling on missed opportunities, you won't be living optimally in the moment.
Yeah, I missed the peak part of the swell, but maybe I'll catch some nice waves on Saturday...and it might be huge, or it could be a bust. But as any surfer will tell you, "It's always nice to get out on the water," and that's enough.
Everyone deals with this -- anybody have more tips for enjoying life when you can't make the swell?