Friendly FOMO

Enough about the logistics. 

When I was 14-years old, I left America forever. I left my home, my family as I knew it, my school, my friends and made a new life in the UK. Technically I’d returned to the UK having been born there, but for all intents and purposes it was brand-new for me. I developed a sense of anxiety which I now know is called FOMO – fear of missing out. It never left me. This is what I find powerful about writing this blog. It enables me to put thoughts down that usually roam around my head unguided and half-formed like a stinky smell. I can see things better. Smell them too.

FOMO: even a handy acronym, like you can throw it in your handbag. Now we’re leaving I wonder; do I have it, does Jack have it, do the girls have it? Yes, yes and yes. No doubt we’re feeling we’re going to miss out with our friendships here, routines and activities we’re used to. The old question returns: do you let it stop you? Since to go travelling and exploring means giving things up. Or putting them on hold.

This morning, I got on my kayak and paddled out. There was a huge cluster of sea birds by the cliffs. On the way to the yellow buoy I could see a large boat. I assumed it was a fishing boat from the birds whirling around it. Many of the birds began to fly towards me – maybe in greeting I hoped? I stopped at the buoy and began taking photos of them. After a while, I looked back and noticed the big boat coming towards me. It wasn’t that far away either. I realised I’d drifted and was now well outside the eight-knot speed limit.

My instinct was fear. Why was this fishing boat coming so close? The buoy suddenly became my safe haven. I hurriedly paddled back. At least if I was inside the buoys, the boat would have to slow down according to the rules of the sea. This is where Chris Clark would laugh. ‘Rules? There are no rules on the sea. This is not a road.’ Thanks, Chris.

It was the best I could do at that moment though. I looked over my shoulder. The boat was was still making ground on me. I thought about flipping it the birdie and paddled harder. When I made the speed-limit buoy, I stopped to face it. No speeding now asshole. Whadya got? 

It wasn’t a fishing boat. I could see now it was in fact an open RIB with two large engines and about three crewmembers. It was the lifeboat, the big blue and orange one from Aberystwyth. Oh! Oops.

It was not coming to interrogate me, run me over or do any sort of piracy pillaging I’d imagined from our time spent sailing international waters. It was coming to see if I needed rescuing. Except it had already started moving away. Must have seen the way I motored back to the buoy and thought, ‘She definitely doesn’t need rescuing.’

I felt like a right dingbat. Damn FOMO. Maybe it is better when it’s just me and the birds. 

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