Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Another General Conference blog post from a Mormon blogger

You can't be even slightly Mormon without posting something about General Conference this weekend, and I certainly don't want to be left out!  Remember FoMO?

I didn't attend conference in real time this year. My internship provides for plenty of travel opportunity and I certainly won't be missing out on the chance to visit any major city I want over the weekend. So instead of going to conference this year, I went to New York. Truth be told, I was pretty excited to not go to conference.  I'm going inactive pretty rapidly; I haven't attended my own ward since I moved to Dallas (although to be fair I've been visiting my brother in Austin each weekend and attending church with his family), but nevertheless, I haven't even met my bishop or fellow ward members yet.

Even so, I woke up this morning a few hours before my alarm and decided to watch a session. I've been enjoying it thus far.  It's nothing earth-shattering yet, but I hear this session has some gems, so I'm looking forward to hearing it.

I'm trying to reconnect to the spiritual side of myself. I feel pretty dead inside lots of the time, like God doesn't really care about me or any of us.  I wonder more and more each day if religion isn't anything more than that great opiate, something to make us feel better by believing that there's someone out there listening, someone who loves and knows and appreciates us.

These are fleeting thoughts; they pass quickly and are replaced by that familiar testimony that Jesus Christ lived, died, and lived again for all of us, both collectively and as individuals.

[EDIT: The talks by the lovable ones (Uchtdorf, Holland, Monson) are the ones that get remembered, but I think the talks by the no-names (in this case, Ulisses Soares) are the ones that have the most doctrine on more specific topics.]

That's all.  Go do something cool now.

Go do this now. This is better than the Internet.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

FoMO: Strategies to overcome it

Ever since I was little, I have had a serious, legitimate fear of missing out (FoMO).  It permeated everything I did.  Going to bed was hard because I was sad I'd miss out on parents' or siblings' conversations or activities. Having to choose between two sports that practiced on the same days was brutal because what if the one I didn't pick ended up going to the championships? And I recall many a Scout camp that was cut short because I talked my parents into picking me up and bringing me to the family reunion that was the same weekend. And even now, I make the rounds every New Year's Eve and then stop at the best party for midnight (in theory at least). Hell, I can't even order food at a restaurant, because what if I like my (male) date's food better?

I've always been one to try it all and then pick the best at the end, and when all the options aren't available to me, I get nervous and panicky. I hate having to choose, having to miss out on one thing in favor of doing another.

The same thing applies to navigating the rift between my faith and my sexuality.  What if I choose gay and then get to the end of the line and find that I made the wrong choice and will then have to miss out on Celestial glory with my Heavenly Father, the one who is supposed to be able to love me most perfectly?  On the other hand, what if I choose the church and then get to the end and find that God wanted me to be happy as long as I was good and kind, and therefore have missed out on a lifetime of joy with a man who I loved?

Tonight I was confronted with my FoMO pretty rashly.  I missed out on an intern event because I had to work later than expected, and of course, my car doesn't run so I couldn't meet them up later.  So instead, I went home and logged onto Facebook (which is like steroids for the FoMO virus) and saw another group of interns I wish I was friends with at some cool restaurant here in Dallas.  So, for the first time I googled "fear of missing out" and found a raft of resources to help people stop fearing.

The first thing I have learned to do (and will start implementing ASAP) is to stop. Just stop.

I'm fond of passing this video on to my friends when I want them to stop doing something.  It's always a joke, but damn! Bob Newhart's advice is good! I can't deny, it fits here too.

So the next time I'm fearing I'm missing out, I'm going to stop. I'm going to evaluate myself, my surroundings, and find out if I should really be regretting that I'm not somewhere else.  Tonight, I sure as hell would rather be at the state fair or some restaurant with people I'd like to make friends with, but on the upside, I get to be at home alone and to blast some really sad music and indulge my misery and really enjoy it.  There's something enjoyable about misery...

This article quotes Emily Dickinson, the agoraphobic depressive recluse, when she says, "To live is so startling that it hardly leaves time for anything else."  And dammit, she's right.  I'm alone tonight. BFD.  I'm alive and I have some good music playing and I have a drink in my hand and the air conditioning is blowing cool breezes through my hair and I'm gonna go to bed early and sleep really, really well.  And tomorrow, I'm gonna get up early, walk to work alone, and enjoy the hell out of my life.

Bam. Fuck you, FoMO.

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