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No More FOMO

Senior+Riley+Kelley.+Photo+by+Mercedes+Peck
Senior Riley Kelley. Photo by Mercedes Peck

Senior Riley Kelley. Photo by Mercedes Peck

Senior Riley Kelley. Photo by Mercedes Peck

Riley Kelley

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   When I was growing up, there was a family in my neighborhood who turned their backyard into a breeding ground for my nightmares once every year. As I walked through my neighborhood on Halloween with my orange plastic pumpkin full of candy, I always dashed across the street to avoid this backyard and everything in it. The residents referred to it as The Haunted Forest.

   As I descended down the main hill, I stared at the white tent that hung across the trees in their backyard. Toward the entrance, a tall man always stood in some kind of disturbing costume, greeting visitors with creepy laughs and a threatening prop, like a chainsaw or a staff. The teenagers who ventured into The Haunted Forest and came back out seemed like godly human beings. One day, I hope I may be courgeous enough to join them.

   My cousin and I toyed with the idea for a while, harassing each other about who was the bravest. I insisted I would be and I vowed I would not be the softy who side-stepped my way out of the tent. When we approached with my dad in tow, my overly-confident stature was shaken.

   I hadn’t even reached the entrance yet. I voiced my doubts to my dad and he brushed them off, telling me to stop being a baby.

   Once it was our turn to go inside, I was holding my dad’s hand so tightly that my own was turning white. As the curtain opened, I was greeted by clouds of synthetic smoke and plastic body parts dangling loosely from the ceiling. At about thirty seconds in, I screamed, like I had promised not to do. That was the first and last time that I ever ventured into The Haunted Forest.

   As my heart rate returned to normal and my family emerged from the tent. I knew my false bravado had fooled everyone else, but deep down I knew all along that rather than conquering The Haunted Forest, The Haunted Forest was going to conquer me.

   Rather than admitting my fears, I pretended like they didn’t exist to prove something to someone else. You should never let your FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) let you push yourself past your limits. Always remember that even in the spookiest time of the year, it’s okay to admit that something isn’t for you.

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No More FOMO