Fear of missing out. The great FOMO problem of our interconnected world. So many things that we now know about that we’re not in on.
Tara Swiger is an excellent human being and her generous podcast has been an absolute keystone in my life as I’ve worked on figuring out how to transition to sharing my knitting patterns with knitters rather than knitting up a design once and giving the item as a present to a friend or family member. She’s pretty incredible with how much of herself and her wisdom she shares with the world.
One of her recent podcasts touched on the worry that we’re missing out, that there’s some resource, project, idea, collaboration that we coulda-woulda-shoulda been in on. It made me think of one of my favouritest of favourite quotes. In fact, it has managed to stand out from the beginning – it’s the fifth quote in the commonplace book I started more than a decade ago (a book I write my favourite quotes into as I read).
“We should not allow the good things to crowd out the best things.” Valerie Bendt
Here’s the thing. Actually, here are the two things:
- You are finite. There is a limited amount of moments in your life, and energy and commitment in your days.
- You will miss out. Guaranteed. There are a billion people in both China and India and I’m pretty sure a significant number of them are offering amazing things to the people around them that you will never be able to partake in. Same is true for people you could travel to in a day’s drive. Or find online. You’re missing out.
So the beauty of this quote is that is has, for over 14 years, allowed me to use it as a lens through which to evaluate everything. “Is this a good thing or a best thing?”
Remember, that a ‘best thing’ will shift over time and be different for different people. Maybe my ‘best thing’ involves way more quiet time at home than you need. Maybe pursuing a goal with laser focus is a ‘best thing’ for you in your life right now.
If we are guaranteed to miss out – and we are – then we had damned well better be sure we are actively choosing what we’re including and what we’re crowding out with those choices. I know I want my life to be crowded with the best things.
Right now, my best things include: building a business selling my knitting patterns, both time and space to feel a sense of ease and grace, lots of natural light, as much quality time with my family as we can make, knitting, travel, friends, and eating right and exercising so there’s oodles of happy, healthy me to go around.