A few weeks ago, I got to hear part of a talk by Phap Huu, a very wise, though very young Vietnamese monk. He was talking about FOMO, and after his talk since I realized I'd been seeing that several places lately, I googled it and realized that FOMO is bigger than I realized.
FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out. We all experience that and are exposed to it in just about every aspect of our lives but it struck me how easily FOMO can be felt when planning a Disney trip, especially if you don't get to go to those Magical Lands often.
Everything is so expensive, there's so much to see, so much to do, and you don't want to waste a moment, a dollar or anything at all at Disney, you just want to absorb it all, and not feel like you didn't get your money's worth. By golly, if it's possible you are going to cram a month's worth into a week. If there's a normal person that goes there, or is planning to go there and doesn't feel that way, I would be surprised. Unfortunately, that leads to expectations being a little higher than what the reality is.
Sometimes your perfect vacation isn't perfect, but sometimes we just plain expect too much.
Planning a vacation is hard. The traveling isn't always much easier, no matter how you get there, then you arrive tired, but wanting to see and do it all. Totally normal. Where it starts to get stressful is when we try and do more than we can, because we are afraid that we can't do it all. We've got that FOMO mentality.
I'm a planner by nature, but even I usually try and cram more into a day than I should. Ever make a to do list around the house? There's a ton of stuff you want to or need to do, but as the day wears on, and most of it's not crossed off, you feel a little more discouraged, than energized by all you've achieved.
Along the way, and throughout the planning of our trips I've learned a few things that makes each trip go smoother than the last. Maybe a few of these tips will help you next time FOMO rears it's ugly head.
Set realistic expectations on trips
This last trip was going to be our first time ever at EPCOT. Three months out I had every minute from 730 am at the bus stop until 9 pm planned. Even then, I had to rework my plan over and over because there wasn't enough time in the day to do everything I knew we were going to want to do, afterall, every blog I read, in every forum, people were talking about EPCOT being a 2 day park, and it all HAD to be done. I was determined we weren’t going to miss a THING. But then... our perfect vacation wans't so perfect, and quickly things had to start getting crossed off the plan.
Instead of exploring each of the pavilions at the World Showcase, shopping along the way for snacks and meals, once we got there with a bored preschooler in tow and a badly limping Mr. Disney, my perfectly arranged plan on both paper, and digital copy looked like too much. What did we do? We focused on the things that were most important, and ended up leaving around 4pm, having gotten to see almost everything we wanted, and already talking about what we would do, or do differently, on our next trip in a few years.
I realized that even though we didn't do it all, we did enough. Next time we go, we will be more prepared, but in my planning stages, I'm going to know next time that stopping at each Kidcot station isn't really practical, or even desired (by the adults, and said preschooler) and that really, just hitting the amazing shops in China and Japan are going to be enough to satisfy my oldest and I for shopping in the World Showcase. Your kids might be experts at staying out all day without the crankies, my kids don't have that gene, so be sure not to expect too much from them, or even the adults. Be reasonable with what you think everyone can do. It's better to have a good trip, than to do it all and be miserable.
Stop being envious of others
Next time you are ages away from another trip, and someone mentions how they are getting ready to go, don't be jealous. Don't be mopy, don't be sad or irritated or say things to try and ruin their fun. Find your enthusiasm, be excited, and do your part to help make their trip more exciting, and more fun. Sour attitudes really come from a place of envy, and a Fear Of Missing Out but if you are truly friends or love the person going...shouldn't you be happy for them?
The same applies while you are on vacation, when the family in front of you for Dole Whip Floats are turning up their nose at the “poor people” who packed their lunches, or the ones “eating slop” at the Quick Service restaurants. Sure, they might be dining on steak that night, but who cares? Everyone makes their own choices. Maybe you'd rather bring some food in from the parks and have a little extra money for something else, or maybe you know your kids just aren't going to sit still long enough to make a table service meal relaxing for anyone. Maybe you just love the atmosphere and food of the better restaurants Disney has to offer and save up extra hard for it. Who knows! People act a lot differently on vacation sometimes, and usually they forget to pack their manners.
We can't see who saved up and sacrificed in other areas to afford those character meals, or who's putting it all on plastic and hoping the bills don't pile up too much. It could be someone is only there for one day and wants to do it all! Or it could be they get to go often, and sacrifice in other areas. We never know someone elses circumstances, so while it's so easy to feel envious, and have a Fear Of Missing Out, but don't! Don't spoil your good time by letting negativity creep in!
It should be a crime how easy it is to shop online. How very temping it is to browse online stores or groups to try and capture some of those memories and happy feelings of a vacation you just came home from. It's also very easy to pull out the credit card but that's just going to cause more problems for you. Instead of feeling that FOMO feeling, spend intentionally, and save with focus so that you can get yourself back to your Dream Destination all the sooner.
In this age where Facebook, Pintrest, Instagram and all the others are only a click away, it's so easy to see the picture perfect lifestyle that others are living. But are they? So much is staged, it's posed, it's made as perfect as can be before it's posted, and it's just not genuine. Where is the joy in that? Could you really be comfortable in that world? Not me! If you can remember that, and enjoy the things that are real, silly candid photos, cooking mistakes, waaay past bedtime kids giggling, your awesome red sectional sofa peeling like it's got a bad sunburn, then you might just realize that your life is pretty awesome with ton's of it's own things going on, and there's just no reason at all to worry about someone else, or the FOMO.
What do you think?