Less Fear, More Love
Earlier this month, Women’s Health magazine reached out to me to talk about the rise of FOGO: the Fear Of Going Out.
Mental health experts are concerned by a growing number of people expressing anxiety about going out — citing the lack of energy to be "on," not having a set end time for an evening out, or wondering if people really want them at a party or event. It’s a sort of phobia, a growing social anxiety.
So, it seems like now, instead of scrolling through our Facebook feeds and feeling jealous or lonely, we're feeling some dread and anxiety even when we're explicitly invited out. It makes sense, I think, because our online environments are controlled while the world and the people around us have intrinsic unpredictability.
Our computers allow us to live and work in silos, in controlled compartments. In rooms all over the world we are gathered side-by-side in cubicles spending the currency of our lives in front of MacBook Pros with retina displays, iPads and Androids. Buzzes and rings indicate messages received, interrupting conversations, thoughts and feelings.
Our energies, creativity, and time—perhaps the best of us—are being spent committed to screens.
Day-by-day, we are being formed in this space.
A few weeks ago I got up on stage to remind 750 people who make their living in digital of one crucial truth:
You are not just a brain on a stick. You are not just a thinking thing.
You are human.
While the Web may mimic the unpredictability of real life, it's controlled. We cannot "Control Z" when we yell at our spouse. We can not simply "undo." It's been done. We must self-examine, come close, humble, reconcile. In other words, get messy.
At least 20 times today a tidy story about productivity will flash on your screen: If you simply follow these 6 expert tips, you too will be the master of your own destiny.
Just now my friend Katie, a brilliant screenwriter and fellow mom, texted: "I hope you have a productive day!" But, *gasp*, what if it isn't?
Is productivity the only goal? Then surely, human beings were created all wrong. A thousand life hacks will not a perfect human make.
Friends, what if we’ve got the trajectory all wrong? What if the very limits of humanity are our map to finding meaning? What if it’s these very human limitations - the frailty, the overwhelm, the tears, the need - that, instead of rising above, we should be drawing ever closer to?
It’s remembering what we are embodied beings. We are more than brains on a sticks. We have hands and hearts, neighbours and families, hunger and hurts.
"To be human," Jean Vanier wrote, "means to remain connected to our humanity and the real world."
Maybe if we spent a little more time in the real world, we'd get a little more comfortable with mess, a little less fearful, a little more loving, and a lot more brave.
Perfect love casts out fear.
Let's replace #FOGO with #LOGO, the love of going out. A little more love, and a lot less fear.
Have you ever felt nervous about going out, but did it anyway? I'd love to hear about it. Comment below or send me an email. Hearing from you is one of my greatest joys.