As a bureaucrat, I am a seasoned acronymist. I can easily go an entire paragraph with only a smattering of definite and indefinite articles to string together my train of acronyms. While this is a skill I’ve perfected in the office, it has begun to creep into my personal life. The two most common acronyms in my life are GOTTS and FOMO. Because of FOMO, I often have GOTTS. And GOTTS isn’t enough to overcome FOMO.
GOTTS is Grumpy Over-Tired Training Syndrome. It’s the thing that transforms you from a fun, enthusiastic cycling enthusiast; into Lance Armstrong. One day you’re leading Dirt Girls rides, the next your threatening your fellow riders and seeking out any medical means of staying on top. The trouble with GOTTS is that is very difficult to self-diagnose. Your friends and family will have no problem identifying that you’ve got it, but by then you hate and distrust all of them, so their concerned warnings fall on deaf ears.
After alienating my friends, and scaring my dog; I am finally able to recognize my condition when one of two things occurs mid-way through a bike ride. Either A) I begin to believe that my husband, sister, mother or father are dead; and as soon as I get home I will find out. This is usually precipitated by hearing the siren of an ambulance, or getting a “sign”. The “sign” is usually a stick, a tree, a leaf, or some dirt – all things that in a GOTTSless universe would be considered routine occurrences. OR B) I begin to believe I will die on my ride and no-one will attend my funeral. Notice that the tragedy is not actually my death, but the fact that no-one shows up at my death party – the true nightmare of the extroverted Type-A.
In an ideal world I’d be better at anticipating GOTTS, but unfortunately, I have such a nasty case of FOMO that it’s hard.
FOMO is Fear Of Missing Out. An unfortunately condition that replaces logic in decision making, with irrational fear. Here is how FOMO works: Monika suggests that we should fixxie ride up the Skagway hill climb – a 1000+ meter road climb in about 20 km. This is a horrible idea. It will be painful, it will be gruelling, there will be 0 net fitness benefit because we will probably cause ourselves horrendous internal injuries and there is a 95% chance it will permanently destroy our friendship. In a normal world, the correct answer is an immediate: NO f-ing way. BUT, in a FOMO world you start to think: What if this ride makes Monika so much faster/fitter than me that we will never ride together again? What if part way up we come across a herd of beautiful caribou? or better yet a herd of magical unicorns? What if someone is standing at the top of the climb giving away free diamonds to anyone who rides the whole thing on a fixie. And suddenly, you are agreeing to the worst idea in the history of time.
FOMO isn’t limited to bad ideas. In fact FOMO is often as simple as never, ever wanting to say no to a friend’s request for a ride. Any ride you might miss, no matter how routine, could be the greatest ride of all time. For that reason, you must go on every ride, even when you are over-tired, and over-trained. There are a few tricks to try to keep FOMO under control. After every ride request ask yourself these questions: 1) Is this the only time I will ever be able to do this ride? 2) Are any of the people on this ride suffering from a terminal disease that will prevent them from ever riding again? 3) Would you ever do this ride by yourself when not under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or crazy friends? If you answer NO to any of these questions, but still have an urge to ride, you may have FOMO.
Since I am already suffering from a mild case of FOMO induced GOTTS, I will be trying to spend some quality time on my couch, repairing damaged muscles and strained relationships.