If you fear missing out on your regular life to pursue your dream life, you’re not alone. But here’s why being out of loop is a good thing:
Today marks 1000 days of living our dream. You may recall we embarked on this journey in 2010 under a cloud of stress and doubt (an attempted political coup will do that to novice travelers). Since then we’ve gotten master’s degrees from the School of Life in flexibility, perseverance, and confidence.
Our bullshit detectors are finely tuned, but we don’t feel jaded. We have dozens more friends than we did before, some of them incredibly close despite our physical distance. We’re a combined 85 pounds lighter thanks to walking every single day and eating mostly unprocessed food. We have a business we love that is changing lives. And we are pretty confident about our ability to handle whatever comes our way.
We’re proud of the skills that have been shaped by the experiences of the past 1000 days.
And we are happy and satisfied with the path we’re one, committed to continue it for the foreseeable future. But even this far on the other side of reaching a big dream, there are still surprises, wistful glimpses into the life we used to have.
A recent one happened right here in our home country.
Discovering You’re Out of the Loop
We were having drinks with some friends we met while traveling who happen to be based in San Francisco. These are all people who are familiar with the tech world and who we would consider hip (and yes, I realize using the word “hip” makes us decidedly not so). But I like to think we’d be the slightly older Seattle versions of these people had we stayed in our previous lifestyles.
Maybe that’s why this struck such a heavy chord.
We saw a car drive by with a giant pink furry mustache on the front grille. Being in San Francisco, this didn’t seem weird. But we kept seeing them, so we wondered what it could be. A protest? A solidarity symbol? The latest evolution of the ribbon/bracelet/bumper sticker cause marker?
We made a comment and discovered that we were the only ones who didn’t know of Lyft, the app that allows you to order a car ride on demand from participants who might be in the area. The concept is supposed to feel like getting a ride from a friend, and the bonus is a cost savings for the user, a bit of extra cash for the driver, and a sense of community for everyone involved. It’s in major cities all over the country now.
This is exactly the kind of thing we would have known about before, being fans of collaborative consumption, but being out of the country and without cell phone (and in the know on the latest apps) for the last 1000 days has left us out of the loop on these kinds of things. And that felt weird.
In fact, it made us feel a little bit like the old people who just ‘don’t get it’ – the kind of people we never thought we’d be. And it’s not just this one example. There are others, ones especially highlighted in a visit to the US.
- When we arrived in San Francisco a month ago, I had not heard of a single movie at the theater. And this comes from a woman who went every week back in the old days.
- I just googled Macklemore & Ryan Lewis because I had no idea who they were. I haven’t downloaded 1 new song on iTunes since we left.
- And television? I get none of those references in casual conversation. (I had to google “Entertainment 720” after everyone in the room laughed at the Parks & Recreation reference and I didn’t get the joke.)
Fear of Missing Out
As Warren and I examined our feelings later, we realized it was FOMO all over again.
Fear of Missing Out.
Wanting to know about everything, to be internet- and microwave-fast in our accumulation of knowledge and information.
To be one of the cool kids.
But if you’re scared of missing out on every single thing, you’ll never have the focus to achieve the one thing you truly want.
What it all boils down to is choice. When you decide to focus your attention on a goal, you are making the choice to let some things go. And at first it’s no big deal. But over time, in the months and years as you start living your dream, you’ll realize that your choices have taken you out of the loop of the things you used to know inside and out: Music, politics, technology, or pop culture.
You will not know about the greatest new restaurants in your town after you move. You’re former coworkers will get raises and promotions you may never hear about in your new job. If you travel, you’ll miss what happens back at home.
By choosing to focus on one thing, you are also choosing not to focus on something else. It’s a choice, and it goes both ways.
And when you start to feel out of the loop on some of those things that don’t really impact your dream, you’ll realize you’ve successfully made the transition. You are out of the loop, and for good reason. It’s what you chose to do to have something else.
Even though I wanted to be one of the cool kids at the table, I realize it was fleeting. I don’t live in San Francisco or carry a cell phone, so this Lyft service is not something I would ever use (even though I think it’s great). Television isn’t a big topic among my friends, so missing the occasional television reference is not going to diminish my communications. And if I want to get plugged back in to new music I have every opportunity to do it.
It’s all a matter of choice, and letting a few things go means you’ll have room in your life for the big things you want most. Even if it means not being the cool kid every once in a while.
Need some help focusing on your biggest goals and making the necessary choices? Learn the step-by-step method of making a big life change in Dream Save Do: An Action Plan for Dreamers. This plan worked for us and for hundreds of other people with a variety of life-changing dreams. Available in print in just a few days or ebook in about 20 seconds.