Saturday, November 15, 2008

The FOMO Effect

FOMO, according to Yeti's Ariel Lindsley and Abby Hippely, is the acronym for the "fear of missing out." Ariel explained this phenomenon last summer when discussing the need to pack motos, downhill bikes, and cross country bikes for a weekend trip to the Sierra foothills. The need to over-pack stemmed from the FOMO. What if everyone else was riding motos, but he and Abby had only brought bikes? And what if someone wanted to go to Northstar after an early morning cross country ride?

The FOMO's are felt far beyond choosing which equipment to haul around the country. Remember the last time you rode at your local resort with your favorite riding buddies? And remember when you were so tired that you could barely wrap your fingers around your grips and you were ready to call it quits? But then, the posse decided take another run, and you went too, even though you knew you'd ride like poo? My dear, you experienced the FOMO. The thought of all of your friends hanging out on the chairlift without you, and riding your favorite trail while you sat at the bottom by yourself, was too much to bear. You sucked it up and rode like poo, just so you could make sure that nothing cool happened without you.

The FOMO isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it's what motivates us to try something new or to get out and ride when we had planned on taking the day off. And if you have the room to travel with every toy in the garage, your recreational options while on the road are limitless.

The FOMO effect schooled me today, though. After two weeks of cold, rainy, and snowy weather, the sun came out all day yesterday. Temperatures reached the mid-50s today. I decided it was time to pedal. I haven't ridden in two weeks, and 3 hours of singletrack shredding sounded like the perfect way to spend my Saturday afternoon. Besides, if I didn't get out to ride today, tomorrow, and Monday, I might not get to ride dirt again until spring. FOMO!

Two hours and 20 pounds of mud later, a comment made by Gob Bluth of Arrested Development was stuck in my head: "I've made a huge mistake." By the time my wheels stopped rolling due to mud the consistency of a Frosty, blended with mini-sticks and scrub oak leaves, it seemed silly for me to reverse my direction on what I knew was a loop. The FOMO struck again! Had I simply retreated, I would have saved myself 1.5 hours of hiking, sliding, and stopping to de-mud-ify my drivetrain and tires. But no, I was convinced that tacky sand and hours of fun were waiting just up the trail and around the corner, so I pressed on. Of course, the slimy conditions never changed.

This lesson is one that I've learned before. How could the trails actually be dry two days after two weeks of precipitation and freezing temperatures? The FOMO's pull proved too strong to resist. Acknowledging the FOMO's existence may be the first step toward preventing it from landing me in more undesirable situations. The second step will be to not give in to its incredible power. At least now I know that I am not going to miss out on anything by going for a run tomorrow.

1 comment:

Carey said...

I totally know what you're talking about, now I know what to call it!