The Fear of Missing Out
Yesterday while I was walking I found myself reflecting on what seems like a common malady of our times – the fear of missing out. Engaged as I am in this amazing experience of walking the Camino de Santiago, I am profoundly aware that there is FAR MORE that is available for us to experience than it will ever be possible for any one person to experience in any given moment. Every choice we make (whether or not we are even aware we are choosing) regarding what to give our attention to also means that we are choosing to “miss out” on other experiences that might also be available to us.
I am aware of this reality when I choose to start walking in the dark. What beauty might I be missing because I am walking past it before the sun has illuminated the scene? But if I delay my departure until the sun has come up then I would miss the astounding beauty of the sunrise, or the overwhelming vastness of the star-filled sky. It is impossible for me to “have it all.” What is available to me is the option to embrace (and be embraced by) the experience I am having in each moment – to be touched by the gifts which are presenting themselves to my awareness – to be fully alive and open to what life is offering, rather than what it might offer.
This is what I was pondering while I was walking. And then, at the end of the day, while I was exploring the little village where I was staying, I came upon the Paulo Coehlo quote (in English no less, just in case I might otherwise have missed it) hanging in someone’s window. “How many things we miss because we are afraid of missing.”
Be present to what is happening right in front of you. You cannot “have it all.” It is impossible. And to try is to risk missing it all.
Buen Camino indeed!