I very often get FOMO — fear of missing out.
Actually, let me rephrase that: I used to very often get FOMO. It’s not as frequent, but when it does come up, it’s like a tornado ripping through all my solid, mental and emotional work. It unhinges my root chakra (that I’ve worked s o hard to heal!) and makes me feel like all the small victories I’ve had mean nothing. And I dislike that I feel that way (though I acknowledge it happens). I want to pretend I’m put together and calm and at peace with my emotions when that honestly and truly isn’t the case. I’m working towards it but now? In this moment? I’m at a 45% when I should be a 70.
Here’s what I want in life — here is what I believe my life path will look like. I say this to help bring it into the present but also because I’m in the habit of talking fondly about things I want. And! I actually have it outlined for the first time ever. Literally a year, two years ago, if someone had asked me what I wanted in life, I wouldn’t be able to articulate it, so I’m really proud that I can do so now. 🙂
Also! As delusional as I tend to be, I am also aware that life throws shit at you and opinions change and things change etc so I know my future might not look exactly like this. But that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to have goals. I’m done going with the flow, to be honest.
Anyway, here goes: I want to get my MA in writing and teach creative writing workshops at local universities and colleges. When I’m published (because I will be, and hopefully soon), I might become important enough to have people signing up for my classes online, in which case I’ll formulate a 10-week program for high school kids who are serious about writing or something. All the while, I will continue working, probably on a part-time basis, at my kickass remote job, building up my savings and enjoying the perks of having a regular income of sorts. I still have a strong desire to get married before I turn XX years old. I realize that doesn’t give me much time because I’m not seeing anyone now, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? Maybe I’ll have a kid two years after I’m married. A girl. She will probably have my laugh. In any any case — please understand that my successful publishing career will be the backdrop of all of this. It’s all I’ve ever really wanted, to write books. I will go on book tours and speak on panels and all that fun stuff that makes being an author look fun and engaging (I’m on my fifth manuscript — I’m aware it’s hard work too!). Maybe ten years after I’m married, I’m finally able to earn a living from writing books and teaching exclusively so I can say goodbye to marketing forever. My entire world will be my amazing writing career, my amazing teaching career, my amazing and adorable child, and my hot ass husband (who will also be amazing, of course).
I mean, you’d think someone like me, who appears to have very concrete ideas of what her future looks like, wouldn’t be plagued by FOMO or that tinge of envy when she hears about friends’ goals. But I do. I still do. I don’t even know why, considering the things I feel envious of aren’t even things I want!
When I hear about other unpublished writers getting agents or making their way into author-dom, I’m very happy for them. Genuinely. My heart swells and I smile at the prospect of their success. I pray for them because I know when I land my agent or first book deal, I’d want someone to be happy and pray for me too, even if I don’t know them personally. I’m not envious of other writers’ successes because I know in my heart I’ll have my own.
But that friend who might move to Korea and study or work there? So fucking jealous! And why? My whole on again off again affair with Korea and K-pop and all that is on its way out, clearly. I have no real desire to do those things. I don’t want to live or work there. I didn’t even really have fun when I visited so someone would have to spend a lot of time convincing me to go back, and even then, there are no guarantees.
And that friend who’s able to move out even though she’s younger than I am? Wow am I jealous. And why? Maybe because I couldn’t move out at that age. Maybe because, after I came back from London, I continued living at home and still do. Even though I don’t have the savings or the true, real desire to move out — on top of the fact that, in my culture, kids don’t really have to move out until they’re married AND I’m heading back to school next year and need to gather coins for tuition — I suddenly am like, man, I wish I could leave too.
I’m not sure why it is I come to envy certain friends about certain, very specific things. I do not want the things they have. I do not want to be them and I do not want their life. I want my own life and I’ve so very clearly outlined exactly what I want to work towards, so why do I continue to concern myself with something that I don’t even want?
The simple answer would be human nature. But I wish I had a better one. I wish I knew exactly what it is about these things that makes me want them, why I feel like I’m missing out or have missed out on certain things. Or maybe what it is about these people, these certain friends, that makes me envy them. Do they have qualities I want? I don’t know.
Truthfully, when I was younger, I applied to do an exchange at a Korean university. I was maybe 18 or 19, and I was scared, but I applied anyway because I wanted to be brave and interesting. I didn’t even make the interview because I talked myself out of it. I thought I was too young or too inexperienced, so I didn’t fully pursue it. I try not to regret it, but a tiny part of me still thinks about how my life would’ve been different had I gone for those six months. Who would I have met? What would I have seen? How would I have evolved? What would I have learned?
Same thing for teaching in Korea after university — I wanted to do it and didn’t. No big story there. Just flaked.
Could it be that I’m just jealous of these friends because they’re braver than I was at that age? Maybe. I’d say that’s a part of it. I was so afraid of living for so long and it was really only during and after my living in London did I really grasp the concept of the world being endless. It was only then I was really able to open my eyes to what I’m capable of. So maybe I got a late start in life. I think that’s fine. The world needs all kinds, anyway.
I will be here telling myself to stay in my own lane and focus on what it is that I want instead of dipping my hands and my eyes into other people’s pots. It’s none of my business. I am happy for my friends, and being happy for them shouldn’t mean that I’m lacking.
I will say this to myself until I really believe it.