I Moved to The Forest to Chase FOMO Away

Stark Raving
4 min readApr 9, 2019

Choosing a life of less puts an end to always wanting more.

Image by Hermann Schmider from Pixabay

I was on a run earlier, and I did something so typical for me. I really wanted to listen to some upbeat music, but also to a podcast about writing. Unable to decide, torn between the benefits of both, I literally went from one to the other, pressing play on each of them, in turn, every thirty seconds for a few minutes.

Then, over all of that, I heard the birds singing.

I was in a beautiful place, on a quiet footpath by a river, surrounded by trees. The only sounds were the birds and ducks skimming across the surface of the water.

I took my phone, and turned off both my podcast and my playlist, and just listened to the world around me instead.

And you know what? I didn’t miss either.

I have always had terrible FOMO — meaning, fear of missing out. The term is often used to designate that feeling of dissatisfaction and insufficiency we get when we see other people’s lives on social media, and while that is definitely a contributing factor, my FOMO is of a more general kind. I can never leave a party before the end, just in case something crazy happens just after I’ve gone. For my entire first year of college, I slept about four hours a night because I didn’t want to miss a single opportunity to socialise. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an explorer, a doctor, a vet, a writer, an artist, an environmentalist, a biologist, a physicist, an actress … I wanted to be everything. I chose to be a journalist partly so that I could get a little glimpse of everything else.

I never knew how to deal with my FOMO, until a few years ago, when I spent a couple of weeks in the middle of a forest, cut off from the world in the Himalaya, at a Rainbow Festival. These are gatherings of hippies in very remote places. There are no concerts, and the only things there is to do are the things people decide they want to do. Dance and talk and build huts and sing.

There, at last, I no longer felt like I was missing out on anything. I felt like instead of running after experiences to be consumed in everyday life, I was instead in an incredible place where creativity and imagination opened up opportunities, and each one was something that we were…

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Stark Raving

Intersectional feminism and environmental issues. Let’s make the world a kinder, more sustainable place. Support my work! https://starkraving.medium.com/members