Essay: On The Fear of Missing Out

I’ve been keeping an inspirational journal. Every day, I write my thoughts on a cheesy prompt. I keep it hidden because it’s full of hollow platitudes and dumb ideas. But today something good came out of it:

And in the end it’s not the years in your life
that count, it’s the life in your years.
—Abraham Lincoln

Describe how you live each day to the fullest,
and what you can do to enjoy life more.

I’d say that I rarely ‘live life to the fullest.’

On those rare occasions that I do, it’s a day that manages to include being useful (whether or not for monetary gain), physically active (maintenance), and able to spend time with friends. Very rarely does a day include all of those things with enough time to catch enough sleep for the next day.

Furthermore, deciding to spend your time in any given way guarantees that you’re missing out on something else worthwhile. The cliche ‘so much to do, so little time’ is an expression of disappointment in the fact that no one can be two places at once. Life’s greatest challenge is to make peace with this.

It’s incredibly difficult to confront the feeling ‘I’m missing out on this, this, and this!’ and genuinely feel satisfied with what you are doing. But I must assume that being content with what you are doing instead of what you could be doing is, if not happiness itself, the prerequisite for contentment.

To be young is to feel these feelings.

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