The FOMO Chronicles: Why No Plan Is Sometimes the Best Plan

Back in California, I rarely suffered from the dreaded condition of FOMO ("Fear of Missing Out" for those of you who are unaware of this burgeoning phenomenon). I saw it used constantly, witnessed the incessant hashtags on Insta pics, and overheard the ever-so-frequent term tossed around about as much as “PSL” at a Brentwood Starbucks in the fall (can you tell I lived in LA for four years??).

But I considered myself one of the lucky few that somehow escaped the anxiety-ridden clutch of FOMO. Probably because as far as The Toasty Avocados ladies go, I knew that whether we had something planned for the day or not, as long as we had sunshine and time, we would probably find something pretty epic to do. Even on rainy days, we have found ourselves going for three-hour hikes in the woods, paddling out into the water for a surf sesh, or other random adventures.

But here on Mallorca, you have the constant reminder (thank you, Facebook and Insta) that everyone—and I mean everyone—is doing something epic.

All. The. Time.

You could have just gotten back from the most epic adventure and someone tells you about their cave swimming or cliff jumping escapades--doesn’t matter what you just did--you think, Goddamn that sounds awesome. I should have been there.

Not surprisingly, as a result, I've never had such a bad case of FOMO in my entire life.

I speak on behalf of the girls at The Toasty Avocados when I say that we like to cram in as many awesome activities as we can in a day. If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard the war cry “ALL THE ACTIVITIES!!!!” bright and early in the morning before a day of ocean swimming/standup paddleboarding/yoga/beach run/farmers market/cooking adventures/wine tasting before we come home exhausted and happy and sun-drunk like little kids who played too hard…

So naturally, on an island that boasts of amazing hiking and canyoning and kayaking and cave swimming and honey and olive and wine fairs, it’s not too far off from the truth to say that I want to do all the activities. All the time.

But I got to thinking. Here I am, on a Spanish island not doing too shabby in the adventure department, and wishing I was somewhere else doing some other activity. And when I sit down to think of it, I almost have to laugh at myself.

While time isn’t something to be wasted, it’s also not something to be gobbled up at lightening-fast speed either. You have to allow for time to breathe, to slow down and enjoy it little by little. To savor. Every single moment doesn’t need to be filled with doing something or being productive. And it’s one of the lessons I’m slowly but surely (poco a poco as they say here) trying to teach myself to accept. To sit and enjoy coffee and not do anything. To sit on a bench by the harbor, eat a sandwich, and just watch the dark and light spots on the water shift and move from the clouds. To breathe.

So the other day, I woke up and rode my bike to Cala Sant Vicenç which is only about a 25 minute ride from my house. I got to the beach and after a week of rain, everything was green and fresh and beautiful. There’s a small cliff overlooking the water with the mountains all around (and a friendly goat here and there) with a view in front of the crystal clear blue water of the cala.

There was no one on the beach and I set up camp on the ledge and did sun salutations, feeling so grateful for the sun and the water and for the moment to be right there doing yoga. Just one of those times you think to yourself how lucky you are to be in this moment and to be able to feel how vibrant and full life is.

The next day, I woke up again and while running errands got a bit lost and decided to take a detour on a grassy area near the harbor. The spot is sheltered under some trees and has a view of the mountains and the huge expanse of ocean in front—perfect for a little yoga sesh. It had been a little cloudy all morning and I thought I would miss the downpour, but the universe had something else planned and it started to rain. But I thought I would wait it out and after a while, the rain stopped and the sky cleared a bit, and a beautiful rainbow appeared over the water.

Yesterday, I went for a little bike ride after class to Cala Sant Vicenç again. On my way there, I stumbled on a sign saying "Cuevas of s'Alzinaret" pointing down an adjacent road. Caves? Free afternoon? Hell yeah. Apparently these were ancient burial sites in manmade caves dating back to the Bronze Age. (The things you just happen to stumble upon in Spain on your casual bike ride to the beach...). If you're looking for more historical info on the caves, click here and here for more info.

After wandering around these ancient gems for a bit, I biked to the beach where (again) there was not a single person around. The only signs of life were some goats grazing across the water on an adjacent bluff. I did some sun salutations and meditation here for a bit with the wind blowing all around me and the sound of the waves breaking against the cliffs below me. After, I sat on one of the rocks and watched the sun sink behind the mountains and the afternoon shadow fall over the water.

Today, I tried to duplicate the past few days' adventures by getting on my bike and trying to find a new beach for an afternoon yoga sesh. Well, at least it was a nice thought... The first trail I attempted prohibited the use of bikes, and after squeezing myself through narrow paths and low hanging branches and romping through my fair share of mud puddles, I could see why. Then, I decided to try my luck at two other beaches which both were blocked off as private roads. So, needless to say, after about 20+ miles of cruising around on my bike in search of a spot, I decided it was maybe time to find a nice ledge and read instead. I rode up to the Calvari, a little church on a hill in Pollença built between 1795-1799. (For more info on the church, click here.) 

I sat down on the ledge, pulled out a book, and read with a view of the mountains and the ocean in the distance and watched the sun go down. There are few words to describe that in-between moment of day turning to night when the afternoon golden color on the mountains shifts to grey and the sky turns pink and hazy, but I've always been fascinated by it. You feel a shift in yourself too, everything turning more inward, settling down a bit, like dust.

And it was in this in-between moment, this shifting of colors in the day, that got me thinking how funny it is sometimes. How you have something so planned out in your head, the way something should be, or how you should experience something. How much you want to do and how determined you are to pack it all in.

But it rarely turns out the way you expect it to. What you experience, how you experience it, the people you meet, who you let in and out of your life. And isn’t it usually the adventures that you didn’t plan or the happenings you didn’t expect that are the sweetest? Aren’t those the ones you remember the most vividly?

So maybe this is how it all works out in the end: you plan, plans are thwarted, and you find epic adventures, people, places when you least expect it. So keep on planning, but give yourself some wiggle room. Leave space to find the unexpected, and enjoy the process of discovery.

There will always be 999 adventures that you could be doing at this one moment. So breathe. Give FOMO a rest and go sit on a bench with a coffee and watch the clouds. Do yoga on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Wait around in the rain for a rainbow.

Give yourself time and watch once-in-a-lifetime adventures start to fall into place.