Opportunity vs. Overwhelm
As I start writing this, my first blog post of my Remote Year adventure, I'm sitting on the balcony of my modern, private studio apartment in Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires.
Fucking pinch me.
I can't believe that I'm here. About 2 weeks in, and I feel like the reality of not only what I've signed up for, but what I'm doing hasn't fully sunk in yet. It feels like a Real World-esque experience of 50 strangers thrown together to go on vacation, and that we'll all be going home in a few days. But that's not true. This is my life for the next year, and that reality has nowhere near sunk in yet.
But as mind-blowing as all of this has been, I can also see that this is going to be a year of lessons and insane amounts of growth. That realization didn't take long to set in. Actually, it started on our third full day.
The FOMO is gonna get real.
First it was a damn workout Wednesday. I could feel the FOMO already. That's "fear of missing out" for all my readers that aren't up on the lingo (Hi, grandma and grandpa!). FYI, I'm not really up on it either. I just learned that one recently!
It was like 5:30 or 6pm, but I couldn't help myself from looking around the co-working space wondering if I was the only one still here. Hilariously (or may you're shaking your head at me), I wasn't the only person still working. Not in the slightest. There were still remotes from the Aurora crew (by the way that's our Remote Year name) all around me, and yet I was thinking about the people that weren't there. What were they doing? Were they sitting by the pool sipping wine? Sight seeing? Going to the workout wednesday that I wanted to go to, but didn't have time for? Ugh. Fomo.
Then, out at the bar later that night, it happened again. I had decided I wasn't going to drink to save money (and calories, if I'm being honest), but I felt it again. That fear that I was cheating myself by being "too responsible." That I should embrace this new experience, which felt very much like the first few days of college, and just fucking live it up. But I didn't. I opted to stick to my guns. But, I was looking around at everyone reveling in the glee of the evening, wondering if I was missing out.
Then it was the trip to La Boca that a bunch of my friends made yesterday post-bottomless mimosas at brunch, which I again didn't partake in. It was a trip that I really wanted to make, but I had to work the rest of the day. So, I capped myself at 2 mimosas and went back to my apartment to hammer out some edits. Our first side trip of the year is coming up on Thursday and I needed to work to make up for the days that I'll miss. That's the blessing and the curse of being a freelancer. You have complete and total flexibility in your schedule, but you also don't get vacation. So, if I choose not to work for a few days, that comes directly out of how much money you make that month. #freelancerlife I'll talk more about this in the benefits and drawbacks of Remote Work Life in a few posts.
Bottom-line, there's been a lot of FOMO so far. The side trips that people are planning that I know I won't be able to afford. The activities. The endless calendars of events. All the new people that I really want to make a good impression on.
All these new shiny things, experiences, relationships...they're all freaking remarkable opportunities that I'm super grateful for. But ,it's amazing how quickly opportunity can turn into overwhelm. Into all these things that you want to do, but you can't possibly make time for. There's just too much. And even in a couple weeks, I can see how easily the FOMO can turn into overwhelm if you let it.
FOMO vs. Jomo.
Maybe I'm out of the loop, but I've never heard of the opposite side of FOMO before. JOMO. The JOY of missing out. We even created a channel to celebrate this aspect of the experience on our primary communication tool, Slack (one of the many things that I wasn't familiar with before this ride kicked off two weeks ago). It's description? "The solo and semi-solo time spent NOT doing all the things."
I don't know how I've never heard of this JOMO thing before, but I dig it. I'm a person that thrives in the JOMO. I love shenanigans and adventures and those goofy, outlandish moments as much as your next twenty-something year-old. But I thrive in the chill moments. The moments of just sitting peacefully listening to music, reading or sipping on a coffee. I love people, but the best moments in my life were seemingly the moments in silence with the people in my life that I love. Who, for the record, I miss terribly!
These were moments like sitting on the couch with my dad before the sun has come up after he brought me my morning coffee, me reading my book while he peruses the morning paper. Sitting on the back deck by the fire sipping on hot cocoa and singing Christmas carols. Or those moments spent doing my Miracle Morning, where it's just me sitting on the couch, or maybe on my Buenos Aires balcony, listening to the noises of the people bustling in the street below, the family next door to me laughing at their little girl, or the group of neighbors who I just listened to singing "Happy birthday" (en Espanol, por supesto!).
Or the moments I took yesterday to catch up on the more housekeeping-type things in my life. To plan and write out my meal plan and workouts, to get ahead on my work so that I could do a walking tour around downtown Buenos Aires today. To catch up on my travel journal. To reach out to all the people and the emails that have been piling up in my inbox of people who want to contribute to my book. At the time, I bitterly called it needing to be "responsible," but that's not what it was. That was the joy of missing out. And those few hours of isolation and moving the needle forward on some of the important projects in my life left me with some of the most fulfilled hours since I landed in Buenos Aires two weeks ago.
I love JOMO. JOMO is my jam and I'm laughing wholeheartedly at the fact that I didn't even know it existed.
THe Trick will be to change my perspective.
Yes, there will always be people out doing things that you want to do. Yes, there will always be adventures you can go on and new things that you can experience each and every day of each and every month in each new city that we venture to this year. That's fucking inevitable!
But, the perspective change is this. During Remote Year, there will always something going on that I "wish I could be a part of," but the bright side is that there's always something going on! Kind of sounds contradictory, huh? I know, but that's the change in perspective that will be important for me to grasp.
If I don't have a lot of work to do, someone is probably out and about exploring the city and I can join in! If I want to go on a side trip on a particular weekend or explore a certain part of town, there's 50 other people here. Someone probably wants to do the same thing! That in and of itself is pretty amazing!
Not only is there so much to do and so many opportunities to experience and take advantage of, but there's so many new people to learn from and to experience things with. People from all over the word, with all these different backgrounds and interesting stories. It's a fricken buffet of new opportunities, relationships and experiences. And if the perspective shifts from all the things that I'm missing out on to all of the opportunities that lie before me, that my friends is what I call a #gamechanger.