As the year comes to a close, I am faced with the glaring reality that I'm here at WWU for only 3 more weeks. In many ways, this is super exciting, as I think most people are at the point where they are ready for the quarter to end. However, next year, I'm going to Argentina for a year to learn Spanish, which I am super thrilled about. I've always wanted to travel, and getting the opportunity to visit family that I've only distantly heard of previously is something that I know I would never pass up. However, I am most definitely somebody who is highly affected by FOMO- the fear of missing out, and going to Argentina means not being here at WWU. So many memories have been made here, so many people met, tests taken and knowledge gained.
FOMO isn't a new concept, and there are dozens of articles and books detailing about how this type of mindset can be destructive, as it takes away a focus on enjoying the memories being made, and creates an unrealistic expectation of trying to do everything. And yet, I think most people are affected by it, to some extent. Personally, I have a really hard time saying no to things, even when I know that I don't really have time/shouldn't overextend myself. When I start to consider saying no, I just think of the experience that I'm giving up on, and the memories that I will no longer be making-and before I know it, I find myself involved in a bunch of things that I'm not actually very passionate about, and running out of time to do the things that I actually care about. I'm trying to learn to say no, because I'm finding that this can definitely lead to unnecessary amounts of stress, and taking care of yourself can start to take the backseat to all of the clutter in your life.
Even though I know this all in theory, I sometimes have a hard time applying it in my own life. As this year is finishing up, it's hard for me not to think of all the memories and opportunities I won't be a part of next year because I won't be here. A slightly deluded future is created in my brain, where all my friends forget about me, and make all of these wonderful memories without me, so that when I come back none of them will have any cause to even care that I've returned. And suddenly, it feels like instead of going on a fantastic trip, I'm just missing out on being a part of the community that I've been building and integrating myself into over the course of the past two years.
I was sighing about all of this to my brother, and he responded with something that kind of caught me off guard: Either way, going to Argentina or going back to WWU, you'll be missing out on all the memories you could have made if you went to Thailand instead. Or anywhere else. There are almost an infinite number of activities and adventures to undertake, and a very finite amount of time.
You simply cannot do everything, no matter how hard you try. There is always another place, another person, another language, another degree, another life. Instead of trying to do everything, focus on where you are now. Spend your time wisely, but don't be afraid to invest in experiences that mean a lot to you.