FOMO on what’s right in front of me.
Updated: Sep 11, 2020
I wasn’t concentrating. I knew that I had to fetch my daughter from school, but I was trying to finish something else. I had one eye on my project and one eye on the clock, trying to stretch time out so I could just finish what I was working on.
Why did I want to finish it so desperately? The truth is there wasn’t a real reason. No hectic deadline. I guess it was just human nature, having something that I could tick off my to do list. It became a bit of a game in my head. There were 10 minutes before I had to leave, I was sure I could finish by then, and then five minutes. Just a tiny bit left to do - 2 minutes. Maybe I could be a little late.
By the time I looked up, I really had to leave, so I grabbed my bag and slammed the door behind me. I fumbled around in my bag, only to realise that the keys I was looking for weren’t there. Now I was locked out of the house and I couldn’t use the car.
I felt a wave of panic rise. There was no way back into our house once you were locked out. I pulled out my phone to quickly try and get an uber, but alas, it was loadshedding and I had no service.
My daughter’s school was a good 20 minute walk away and because I had pushed things to the limit, I was already late. The only thing left to do was to walk. Luckily, it was a beautiful day and as I walked/ran down the road, the panicky feelings in my chest started to calm down. I made an effort to breathe from my stomach.
I tried to phone the school on the way, but I still had no reception. I started to feel anxious again as time marched on and I repeatedly pushed redial on my phone to no avail.
As I was breaking into a seriously undignified half run, half jog I saw a deliveryman on the road, standing outside of a truck, holding a clipboard. He was trying to get my attention. “Oh no!” I immediately thought – he’s going to ask me for directions and I really don’t have time to stop and chat. So I mentally armoured myself, muttering a vague excuse under my breath. But through my hurry I managed to notice his request for directions to the nearest school. I had almost passed him when it started to sink in. He was looking for my daughter’s school.
What I thought was a distraction or an obstacle, was actually the solution. I promptly jumped into the truck, explaining my situation. I directed him to the school and managed to fetch my daughter, just as the teachers were starting to seriously lose their patience.
I was grateful to make it in time, but even more grateful for the lesson that I learnt that day. It felt like I was getting a little nudge from the present moment, telling me to pay attention.
I started thinking about how strange it is that we have FOMO about some party that we don’t go to – we should be really afraid of missing out on our own lives. It’s easy to let a lifetime of moments slip by while we’re scrolling through Instagram.