We have never loved risk and safety more than we do right now, because we want to live, scream our lungs out then laugh, tick boldness of the checklist, and break the law – but we also want a familiarity to return to. It’s easier to be daredevil when you know you have somewhere safe to go back to at the end of the day. (Not everyone has that kind of privilege.)
I want to try new things, because I’m afraid of missing out. FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, my generation calls it. Because that’s what spontaneity sometimes feels like: not a pleasure, not the burst of adrenaline pushing you out of a comfort zone, but an intentional act of trying to replicate what is ‘cool’, and a fear of failing authentic replication. It used to be the latest clothes or the latest Tamagotchi or the rarest YuGiOh cards. But these days it’s all about action: you skydived off a plane! you bungee jumped! you leaped off a cliff into water! you danced in the rain and then under the stars! you crowd surfed! you partied until 5am! road trips!
The braver you seem – the more exhilarating your adventures seem – the better you become and the more you are envied. The internet has perpetuated vicarious experiences more than ever before, turning them into a trend. These trends in turn become propellants for individuals to try those experiences out for themselves.
I am no exception to this whirlwind. These days as I sit at my desk with a book open, reading, I cannot help but wonder. Could I be as exciting as those characters who are driven by circumstance and admirable will into the shining light? Could I really gatecrash a formal dinner party, like James Bond? Could I really hop on the next plane to New York City and dance in a flash mob in front of Times Square? Could I really run down the streets in tears and find myself knocked over by Ed Sheeran wearing a disguise and trying to escape paparazzi?
No. No. No. The rational part of me highly doubts any of this would happen, unless I put in the effort to make them happen (even then, the chances are slim). But the irrational part of me? The part that wants to believe this urge to pursue the idealistic is more than just a trend? More than just an attempt to be ‘cool’ and to feel that I’ve lived a life worth living?
That part hopes.