Why do some individuals have a greater sense of fear, a heightened sense of missing out on the next great adventure, while others could care less? Why is a wine down Wednesday, a sporting event, or a social networking affair an actual FOMO for some individuals, while others enjoy the simplicity in reading in an isolated space? I often think to myself how nice it would be if I could be one of them, the reader, that person that finds joy and happiness in the next chapter. Then I ask myself, do they have a fear missing out just like I do? Maybe it’s the next chapter, the next novel, the next plot twist, or maybe their fears in life are equally as great, just in a different way? What if I didn’t crave adventure so much, and just felt perfectly content curling up on a cozy couch and escaping into a good book, staying at home, and living that lifestyle? I would argue that every individual has a fear of something. Finding a balance between work, play, self-love, adventure, cozying up on couch, and my own FOMO, has been one of the greatest balancing acts I’ve ever tried to juggle, especially now that I am sober.
I should probably lay the ground work for this post by letting you know that my life is far from being perfectly in balance. My current living arrangement, well, I am currently living in a van. I walked away from a great job to start my own company, and I chose to leave behind my friends and family back home in Kentucky to travel. I am currently marking off different bucket list items while attending different trait shows, art and musical festivals, and sharing my companies message as I travel to 50 states over the next 50 weeks.
What’s next you may ask? I honestly don’t know what my next chapter in my life will entail, but I am perfectly ok with that at this very moment. Now, what sparked this post was something completely random, but that has become common theme in my life as of late. I’ve been craving to write about the fact that I have become a full-blown FOMO, a lifestyle I have always lived, but took a drastic changed for the better since I became sober. On some empty bookshelf, stored away in my thoughts I have been wanting to share with you how my fear of missing out has completely shifted how I live, but I couldn’t find the words or the inspiration to do so, well, until I spent a few brief moments starring at a bunch of colorful rocks in the Nevada Desert. My experience of Seven Magic Mountains is probably much different than most individuals who have visited this art installation, but that is why I love art!
My fear of missing out, or FOMO, a word I both love and hate, was on full display when I pulled of the exit to go visit these colorful rocks. Instagram has done a remarkable job in creating a new level of FOMO for myself. I wanted to know why so many people were posting about these weird looking rocks named the Seven Magical Mountains. My mind was racing to answer the question of why thousands of individuals would willingly get on a dusty old side road, just miles away from Las Vegas strip, simply to view a bunch of painted rocks. I will be honest, if I hadn’t already visited Cadillac Ranch earlier this year, another strange colorful art installation in the middle of desert, something I would have never done prior to this trip, there would have been no way I would have pulled over to witness this strange, but oddly beautiful art installation.
I can only assume this art installation was created for something completely different than how I interpreted these painted rocks, for me, as I stood in the middle of that hot desert, my mind took on a completely new interpretation. These rocks, this installation, was a clash of the old and the new, a story being written in real time, chapter by chapter, the old, mother nature, the boulders, unbroken, weathered, but still standing. Meanwhile, right before our very eyes a new chapter was unfolding, something once dark and grey, colorless, was now filled with color, bright and fun, a new formation, a rebirth of the old, a story being re-written from a material that seemingly had no purpose.
My story, both for the good and the bad, could have easily been represented in those rocks. My story has been weathered, damaged, chipped away by one event after another, never fully broken, but still standing. My life, like those Magic Mountain rocks, were once dark and grey, colorless. They were just rocks in an isolated desert, serving no purpose, but today, like my life, those rocks, they serve a distinctively fun, meaningful, colorful purpose to exist. Seemingly overnight, an object that most would never believe could change its existence, did. These rocks, like my life, now has color, filled with a meaning to be shared with others. This story, my story, closed one chapter on April 16th, 2014 when I had my last drink, a chapter filled with darkness, and life being lived without meaning, a story that is now being re-written by a new author, the Sober Voyager.
Although this art installation will only be on display for two years, for these rocks, I want to believe they will continue to serve a greater purpose in life, that is under the assumption that they can continue to stay colorful. Maybe they will be on display in a different city, state, will become a different kind of rock formation, but no different than my story, like those rocks, if they become colorless, allowing my addiction to control my life, I too will fall back into a dark, lonely, meaningless lifestyle. Becoming colorless means that my life will once again just become a rock, existing, not living. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that just a little more than three years ago when I decided to have my last drink that I would be traveling the world, living in and out of a van, starting my own company, or even viewing colorful rocks in the middle of the Nevada desert, but here I am, living my life in color. For those rocks, they were just seven stacks of misplaced, unused, scattered solid pieces of minerals amongst millions of others, why them I ask?
I didn’t ask to be an alcoholic, but I am. For me, these small moments in my life, when I come across meaningfully un-meaningful objects, conversations, individuals, places in time, I stop to pause, and be grateful that today my life is full of color.
At rock bottom I didn’t fear death, I feared that I wouldn’t have enough money for my next drink. My FOMO was built around where I wouldn’t be judged for my next drink, action, comment, social or political view. I feared that I would miss out on the next social event that would help me skip a few steps in my professional career, not through hard work or ambition, but rather who I bought a drink for. I feared that one day I wouldn’t have a friend who would pick up their phone when I needed a drink. My conversations were meaningless and my actions were even less meaningful. I put others in danger while I jeopardized my own life. Thankfully today I am the author of my own life, not my addiction! Like Ugo didn’t just give those rocks color, he gave them a story, meaning, life! My fear’s today are much different now that I live in color. For so many years, I prayed that one day, rather than existing just to exist, I would one day live to live. It is for this reason that I am no longer ashamed to call myself a FOMO.
Many people have asked me why I decided to start the Sober Voyager and walk away from a really good job. They continue to ask me why I choose to travel and live in a van when I have a home back in Kentucky. They want to know why I didn’t grow my company and foundation at the grass roots level like everyone else does. While I can’t answer all of those questions, other than the fact that it just felt right, the truth is, I am happy. Other than saying goodbye to my family each and every time that I leave Kentucky, my mother, who is my best friend, my father who is hero, and my brother, and his family, who are my unwavering support system, it was an easy decision to go live my life in color. My friends have continued to support me, and leaving Kentucky only makes me appreciate what awaits me when I return home. Regardless the true reason why Ugo created the Seven Magic Mountains, I want to believe it was for a much simpler reason, it allows people to see in color!
For anyone that has ever suffered from an addiction issue, or is currently struggling to be the author of your own story in life, I hope that in some small way I am an inspiration that life can be lived in color, filled with meaning, purpose, and that my story is an example that you can and should live, not just exist.
For the family members that have never left a loved one’s side while battling an addiction issue, or to the friends and co-workers that have previously dealt with, or are currently dealing with someone that suffers from an addiction issue, I hope that you understand, that just like this art installation, people who seemingly never change, like a rock, an object that has stayed the same for millions of years can one day just change overnight! “Never give up, don’t ever give up.” Jimmy V.
As always, I appreciate your unwavering support you show for individuals who suffer from addiction issues. The individuals who read my post are the people that have inspired me to become and stay true to being the Sober Voyager. I ask that you continue to share my message with your friends and family. It was a complete strangers story that helped me see the color in life, you never know what impact you will have on someone’s life until you are willing to share, show, and in the Sober Voyager’s case, wear your support. Help me and the Sober Voyager shift how we think and talk about addiction issues by wearing a piece from our collection at www.sobervoyager.com. For every piece worn 10% is paid forward to help offset the cost of rehab for a friend in need.
(You can learn more about Seven Magic Mountains http://sevenmagicmountains.com/about/ )