End of the week, exhausted, I looked forward to the upcoming community festivities with dread. Here in Japan, our cherry blossom season is short but breathtaking! When those pink blossoms start to burst forth, we are all in a hot hurry to get to the nearby castle (which is not so nearby … 3 hours away) to join thousands of others, to claustrophobically capture the fleeting beauty before the branches are emptied and the mote is filled with yesterday’s blossoms. Saturday or Sunday. We had to pick which day to block out for the Cherry Blossom Festival.
I wanted to go.
But I really didn’t.
Maybe it’s that I felt obligated, like going to this event was something I should do, or that I would truly be missing out if I chose not to participate. Afraid that I was about to spend a precious day off on an activity which I was only going to because I didn’t want to miss anything; I was FOMO-phobic. FOMO is a sweet little acronym that describes the following:
In the midst of my internal tribulation, it dawned on me: I don’t have to go. Nobody told me to… Who would it hurt if missed out…Was this my only opportunity…Would it bring me joy… and would there be any consequences if I stay home? So how can we judge if we are participating for the right reasons and not just adding to our busyness? Let’s ask some questions…
- Am I required to go? – Okay, I NEVER feel like going to a staff meeting, but it’s part of my job for which I’ve made (contractual) commitments. It’s in the planner and not going to budge… A cherry blossom festival on the other hand, is inconsequential.
- Who would it hurt if I missed out?– You’ve all been there… a birthday party or dinner with a friend/family member scheduled after a busy day… when all you want to do is throw on a pair of yoga pants and surf Netflix. However, flaking on a friend not only can cause hurt feelings but a rift in relationship. There are times where it truly would hurt another not to show up (even if you’re feeling lousy), so use discernment before taking a rain check. As far as the festival in Japan, my husband and I were neutral…
- Is this the only opportunity? – Weddings, graduations, Spice Girl reunion concerts, some things only come once in a lifetime and if you can be there, you’ll make it happen. But if your friends go out to karaoke every Thursday night or there is an annual event, then missing out shouldn’t cause dire duress. My hubby and I had gone to this festival before and would have opportunities next spring…
- Does it spark joy?- Would I be happier by going? There are mornings (ok, every day when I get my tired butt out of bed) that I DO NOT want to go to the gym. Yet afterward, I feel SO MUCH BETTER. Though I’m not required to go to the gym, it wouldn’t hurt anyone if I missed a session, and I’d have a workout opportunity later, going in the morning, despite my ill feelings is the right choice because I know it would bring happiness once I was there.
- What are the consequences if I stay home?- Really, it comes down to this… by choosing to miss out, what are the financial, relational, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual consequences? In our case, the only consequence was not getting our “cherry blossom” pictures for the season… which in the end is easily remedied.
So, last weekend, we ditched the crowds and 6 hours on the road. Instead, my husband and I enjoyed a QUIET and relaxing two days together right here at home. The warm, sunshine and spring breezes made for perfect strolling weather through our neighborhood… where we found, what else, but those Cherry Blossoms.
Hoping you have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the things that you truly WANT to do!
***P.S. If you are ever visiting Japan, definitely see the festivals if it is once in a lifetime for you 🙂 They are beautiful!