Do You Suffer From FOMO? aka Fear of Missing Out
As sledders, one of our most common misgivings is the fear that we may have missed out on a perfect day of riding. It’s a deep-seated feeling of disappointment, resentment and regret. If you find yourself regularly suffering from cold sweats, uncontrollable shaking or an agitated state leading you to constantly peer at your phone for weather and social media updates, then there is a high probability that you suffer from FOMO.
I’ve recently been subject to a severe bout of FOMO myself.
Let me set the stage. Bars are home to two kinds of people. There are revellers, exuberant with joy. And, the other end of the spectrum, are folks drowning their sorrows. There we were: saddled up to the bar, beers in hand, two sledders in Whistler. Not happy. Drowning our sorrows. But how could two sledders in Whistler possibly be unhappy you ask?
Well, Kelsey had damaged her sled shortly after leaving the truck that morning. And in my case, another athlete had bailed and I missed the opportunity to get some great shots in fantastic light. We commiserated with talk about how deep the snow was and how epic the riding and photos would have been. We had surely missed out on what was likely THE DAY of the season.
So What is FOMO?
In this digital age, acronyms are used at an unprecedented rate. Simple communications regularly involve a diarrhea of letters; IMHAO, ROFLMFAO, LOL and so forth. These “simplifications” are no doubt the result of a shift from oral to keystroke-based communication. I often find myself hitting up the google machine just to figure out what the person on the other end of the messages is trying to say.
The existence of one such acronym—FOMO—is surely a product of both our preference for text-based communication and the pervasion of social media, which allows sledders to share their images, video and status updates so easily. This acronym represents more of a psychological issue than a description of a mood or an action. And it is totally relevant to mountain sledders. FOMO represents a very real mental condition: the Fear Of Missing Out.
The dictionary defines FOMO as:
1. anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website:
I realized I was a lifelong sufferer of FOMO.
Unfortunately there is no known medical cure for those suffering from FOMO. However, it has been shown that heavy medication and booze tend to aggravate the condition. Dangerous side-effects can include rash decision-making and uncontrollable rage. These can lead to trolling comments laced with deep, hurtful sarcasm on social media and outbursts of violence towards inanimate objects. Other signs include moping about in self-pity and the shutting out of loved ones.
How to Avoid FOMO
Here are a few tips that can help you avoid this sad and unhealthy condition.
1. Sell everything you own, pack up your sled gear and move to a mountain town known for consistent snow. For example, Valemount, Revelstoke, etc.
2. Own a fleet of sleds; every brand of sled will break down eventually if you ride a lot. You will need a minimum of two sleds, but three or more will increase your odds of riding everyday when conditions are mint.
3. Make sure you have a base of friends who don’t work in the winter. Whether it’s a friend on the E.I. Sled Team, someone independently wealthy or a trustafarian, these guys and girls will be there to shred with you everyday.
4. Go find the nearest glass of water or pitcher of beer. Then soak your phone for a minimum of fifteen minutes while turned on. This will prevent you from checking your weather apps and social media where you might see incoming storms or other sledders posting about epic conditions.
5. Take a five-pound sledgehammer (an axe will do in a pinch) and rearrange your computer into several smaller pieces.
If you find yourself unable to follow through with these steps, then sorry, but you’re on your own. If you just can’t help yourself and absolutely need to check in on your favourite rider’s social media, then it’s your own damn fault for being a slobbering, drooling, FOMO mess.