FOMO on the Run
You people are having fun out there, and I want in.
It hasn’t snowed a lot in Philadelphia this winter. As a runner, this has been a good thing. The roads and trails have been pretty consistently clear throughout the season. I haven’t been forced to deviate too much from my normal routines and routes, nor have I had to resort to using the… [shudders]… treadmill. Yet, as a person who likes a cozy day/night and enjoys staring out the window and going “huh it’s really coming down out there. Looks like about 3 or 4 inches so far, at least,” this winter has been a bit of a bust. What can I say? I’m just a guy who appreciates a good snow event, and more importantly (to this blog anyway), I enjoy a good run in the snow.
On the day of the Super Bowl, we had a bit of a snow shower for most of the morning into the afternoon. The weather had been warm enough previously that this snow had no chance of sticking, but it was coming down heavy-enough that you’d be fooled into thinking that maybe the meteorologists got it wrong and we’d be getting a few inches on the ground. But that never happened. Trust me, I was watching as I was working at the brewery that sits along the running trail.
Between the occasional drinkers ordering flights or beers-to-go to bring to their Super Bowl parties, I was staring out the big garage door windows in the establishment, watching as many a bundled-up runner jogged past. The snow was coming down steadily, but the trail was clear. These people weren’t having any issues. From the looks of it, they were getting a good run in despite the snow. They were even smiling. Oh how I wished to be out there, running in the elements, trying to catch the February snowflakes on my tongue. It looked like fun! I wanted to freeze along with them, but there I was stuck inside working. Jealousy washed over me. I was having major FOMO.
Yes, I still get FOMO. I know. It’s stupid. I’m 33. I shouldn’t have a fear of missing out on anything. I should be leaning into my years of nonchalance and early bedtimes, but I can’t help it. I still see all you people out there doing cool things, like skiing or eating ramen. Early on in the pandemic, it was easy to lay low. We all had nothing to do. We had nowhere to go and no social responsibilities to uphold. We could just chill, maybe grow a beard, try your hand at making some sourdough bread, and you know, wait until the whole thing blows over.
Things have changed since those days. For one thing, the vaccine is here and life is operating about as close to normal as one could’ve hoped for two years ago. We still have a long way to go, but at least now we no longer have to pretend to enjoy eating outdoors in the middle of winter. That was a 2021 thing. You can eat inside now. Take off your coat, stay a while! On top of that, bands are touring again. Arenas and stadiums are at full capacity. Running events and races are no longer exclusively virtual. Weddings are back and filling up my calendar. We’re open for business baby!
My Instagram news feed is more interesting than it’s been in months (it’s only like 85% cats now). You know why? Because you people are having #fun out there, and I want in on that action. That FOMO has got me real good. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for you, but I’m also quite jealous. No, I don’t necessarily want to go skiing down the Rocky Mountains at deathly high speeds or like go to an NBA game, but my FOMO thinks I do. It doesn’t even have to be anything extravagant to bring on the FOMOs. I get jealous of folks posting videos out at crowded bars and I hate crowded bars!
The thing is, I am getting my fair share of fun and experiences. I’m out there, too. I remember saying to my wife and anyone else who has been forced to be within earshot that when concerts came back, I would go to as many as possible. I would be there in the front row with a raised fist in one hand and a beer in the other. So far, I’ve only been to a few. Japanese Breakfast’s run of shows at Union Transfer in August was my first one (it was fantsatic), and since I’ve been to a few, the most recent being The War on Drugs during a snow storm in Philly (it was a revelation). I’m going to see Deafheaven on Sunday, having bought last minute tickets on a whim even though I gotta get up at ass crack o’clock the next morning to travel to work. I don’t care though. I need to see these bands. What if I miss out and they never come back? What if everything goes to shit again? You see, this is where my mind goes. Thank God for therapy.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say the pandemic has opened our eyes to the fickle nature of everything around us. We’ve seen how easily things can get taken away. We’ve lived through endless months with no sports, no music, no bars, no restaurants… nothing. I mean, we resorted to baking bread to keep us entertained for chrissakes. Things were dire. For a minute there, we lost ourselves. We lost mostly everything that makes being a human fun, and there was never a guarantee it was going to come back. Heck, there’s not even a guarantee it won’t go away again. And I think that’s where a lot of the FOMO stems from, the idea that we should be taking advantage of every minute of every hour of every day before it disappears. “Live every day like it’s your last” and all that. But how could anyone possibly do that? If I were to live every day like it’s my last, I would be eat spaghetti for every meal and I probably wouldn’t bother changing my underwear. That wouldn’t be good for anybody. What I’m talking about is healthy and balanced FOMO.
FOMO can be a good thing. It means you still have that spirit inside you to go out, to experience the joys of being human. I’m comfortable with the life I live, but a healthy dose of FOMO can keep you from getting complacent. As a runner, having a bit of FOMO about seeing other runners out there logging the miles on Strava or dashing through the snow like they did on Super Bowl Sunday, it says to me that I haven’t lost that fire for running. I know a lot of runners who have gotten burnt out by running. They’ve been doing it for so long, either competitively or nonchalantly, that they grow tired of it. The various injuries, time commitments, or weather extremes can wear on a person, and there comes a point where a runner may decide it just isn’t worth it. I get it. There have been plenty of days lately where I really don’t feel like running, but inside I know that I have to do it. Just take those first steps and you’ll be fine, I tell myself, but even then, I’m in my head the whole run. I’d rather be inside and warm.
But then I think about how happy I am after a good run, or how miserable I am when I can’t run. Earlier this month my foot was nagging me again, so I took a week off. Then I got sick, and had to take another week off running. It sucked! I watched from the sidelines as runners popped up on my newsfeed, logging serious miles while all I could muster was a walk from the bed to the couch. When I finally felt well enough to run, I felt like Lazarus back from the dead. To my surprise, I didn’t lose too much of my ability over the previous two weeks of dormancy. Sure, I felt a little bit like a baby deer learning out to walk and my lungs felt a little heavy, but I was still able to run at the pace and distance I could before I went on the IR. Yeah, it felt great to be back out on the roads, and in some ways, I think I have my FOMO to thank for getting me back out there. I needed to prove to myself that I could get back out there and do the damn thing, and that’s because I wanted to. I missed it. And while I’m guessing the Philadelphia area is done with snow for a while (although you never know), the next time it flurries, I’ll be out there running among the flakes. I sure as hell ain’t missing out again. I hope it makes you jealous.
IT KEEPS YOU RUNNING: Music for Your Miles
Music and running go hand-in-hand. Here’s what you should be putting on your running playlist this week.
Electric Candlelight – “Don’t Turn”
I know I’ve written about these guys before here, but I can’t help it, these guys are so fucking good. “Don’t Turn” is a shit-stomper and this band is quickly becoming one of the best bands in Philadelphia. There is simply no other rock band that sounds like this in 2022. 1972? Sure. But today? Me thinks not. A lot of bands aspire to sound like MC5 or CCR, but I have yet to hear a band own it with such power quite like this. Heck, they even have Iggy Pop’s approval. I’m gonna need a full-length record from these guys and a bottle of cheap whiskey ASAP.
Riverby – “Birth By Sleep”
Speaking of bands quickly taking over Philadelphia, Riverby has been hard at work promoting their upcoming sophomore full-length Absolution, which drops via Take This to Heart Records on March 25. Their latest single “Birth By Sleep” is a power-pop bop that’s as catchy as it is scathing. Elsewhere on the new record, recorded in Ohio with producer Jim Wirt (Something Corporate, Incubus, Fiona Apple), frontperson August Greenberg sounds pissed. On the first single “Baseless,” every word Greenberg sings is an earth-scorcher. “You’re begging on your knees and you’re calling me baby / You’re fucking lucky I let you walk out alive.” You fuck with them, and they’ll burn your house down. As Greenberg says, you can take it up with God. The same can be said about the rest of the album, which also includes plenty of cathartic sing-a-long choruses as well as tender moments of reflection. You can catch Riverby later this month when they open for Shamir’s album release parties on March 22nd at MilkBoy in Philadelphia and March 25th at The Sultan Room in Brooklyn. I can already feel the FOMO brewing.
Thirsty Curses – “Nothing Really Matters”
If you include “RIYL: The Replacements” in your promo email, chances are you’re going to get my undivided attention. Thirsty Curses, an indie-rock outfit out of Raleigh, North Carolina, creates a raggedy sound indebted to a lot of 80s indie rock. If you like the Replacements tracks with pianos on them or IRS-era REM or ever wondered what Marshall Crenshaw dipped in Carolina barbeque sauce sounds like, check out this band and their new record To the Ends of the Earth. A healthy dose of piano-driven power pop won’t kill ya.
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