There have been so many times in my life when I've wanted something so badly, and after I finally got the thing, a little thought eventually showed up in my heart, and the thought was, Now what?
Has this ever happened to you? That amazing feeling when you finally get what you've been waiting for and then not long after, you're already thinking of what's coming next?
This happened to me the day I graduated from college. Standing in the middle of the university courtyard with diploma in hand, I couldn't help but think, That's it? Now what?
The same thing happened when I got my dream job. After working there for several years, the familiar feeling of Is this all there is? eventually resurfaced.
The truth is that getting the things we want won't make us happy. They will not fulfill all the desires of our heart. We will always end up wanting something more. Something will always be missing.
There is a quote by the actor Jim Carrey that I really love. He said:
“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer.”
I like this quote because it reminds me that dreams coming true doesn't necessarily equal happiness, and this idea is very sobering and comforting to me.
Personally, as a single person, I dream of finding my person. I can get in this weird cycle of living for tomorrow, living for the future. The things of today are alright, but everything will be a hundred times better when I meet my life partner.
Sure, maybe a relationship may make my life better in some ways, but I have this theory.
I have a theory that all this unhappiness people experience even when their dreams come true happens because they are too good at practicing the fear of missing out (FOMO). FOMO is the feeling of anxiety and deep dissatisfaction you get when you keep looking at what you don't have in your life instead of celebrating what you do have.
And my theory is that FOMO is like a muscle. Just like when you get really good at working out a muscle, it creates muscle memory and gets even easier to do as time goes on.
So if now as a single person I am so good at working the FOMO muscle and wishing for a future spouse, what makes me think that when I finally have that person, I'll just be able to get rid of that FOMO muscle memory and not look ahead to the next thing I don't have? Our body, heart, and mind will put into motion the habits we've practiced over and over again.
I think FOMO affects everyone. Single people, couples, young people, old people, the ill, and the healthy. If we are not careful, we can turn every chapter of our life into one continuous FOMO loop after another. It doesn't matter how many blessings we have, or how many dreams realized. If we get really good at FOMO now, we will be really good at it later.
Even when our dreams do come true.
One day, a brilliant thought came to me. The thought was, "Why don't you practice being happy now so that you can be good at being happy later?"
Why don't I practice being happy and fulfilled as a single person so that if, God willing, I meet my person, I can be happy and fulfilled as a married person?
Happiness is a muscle, too.
I want to live life not with the motto "This is it?" but with a genuine"This is it!" excited for what the day will bring. Because each new day is a unique gift from God. With each new day, there are so many opportunities to be creative, love others, laugh, and share life on this planet with the 7.594 billion people who are also learning to make the most of every day.
We are all in this together. We will fail. We will have FOMO. But at the end of the day, we will always have the power to choose happiness...
Even when all our dreams come true.