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Infinity Theories, Storage Facilities for Memories, & Why FOMO Can't Hold a Candle to LFTMO

1. Infinity. The authority on all things infinite is William Blake now and forever.

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand. And a Heaven in a Wild Flower. To hold Infinity in the palm of your hand. And Eternity in an hour.” –William Blake

I have loved those words ever since I was a girl. Time is fascinating. And the thing we call reality remains as much a mystery to me now as it did when I first read Blake.

Is anything infinite?

This is a scientific question, and I am not a scientist. I have, however, spent enough time reading random science blogs to know the answer is paradoxical and more confusing than the question. I am not going to try to explain it here because I don’t understand it myself and that would be a shit show, but I can say with some certainty that time is our most precious resource. This is a genius observation I’ve made over time (haha—see what I did there?). When we think about how we spend our time, we devise ways to save time so we can spend more time doing the things we love. It’s a savings and spending game like Monopoly, which is a horrible waste of time, in my opinion. (Note: this is not an examination of how I feel about board games. Those who know me best may or may not on occasion refer to me as a "fun sponge" on account of my disinterest in all group activities. As we say in Cuban: guateber.)

What I’m getting at is this: we spend time and save time and sometimes hoard all of our time for specific interests because time is limited, and not infinite, right? (I mean, maybe. I still believe Blake in my heart because infinity exists within every moment even as we are all dying, stars are imploding—or exploding, or whatever they do, and the world is infinitely ending, etc., etc.)

2. Which brings me to the storage facilities: where do all the hours go? I mean where are they stored? Because all finite resources are stored somewhere, right?

This is a question that keeps me up at night: where do the hours travel to once they are spent? Are they vacationing in the Caribbean? Hanging out in a mausoleum? Is there a Cemetery of Spent Hours where they remain for all eternity (or until we die)? Is that cemetery our own memory? Because HOLY SMOKES that is concerning! I mean, if all my departed hours are somehow stored in my own memory

Well, shit. Let’s just say I have serious accountability issues. I’ve written about this in the past, and my most recent writing explores my problems with memory. The gist of it is there are black holes everywhere! Giant black holes all over the fucking place. It’s a disaster. And the filing system—let’s not even talk about the filing system. Who came up with this? Can we even call this a system? Somebody does not understand the principles of filing and organization.

Additional concerns: are there storage facilities for new hours? Like, unused hours yet to come? Yikes, that’s massive. That's some kind of Matrix shit right there. My brain hurts. Let’s leave that alone.

Anyway, infinity and storage facilities aside. I’ve been promoting my new poetry book (Migrations & Other Exiles, Lost Horse Press, 2023), so I’ve been spending all of my time doing promotional things, like attending and planning events, and doing all of the things that you do when you have a new book in the world because it’s your baby and you want it to soar. Soar, little bird, soar! [Insert Shameless Promotion: ORDER Migrations & Other Exiles HERE.] And what I’ve noticed is this: people (friends, family, acquaintances) often apologize for not being able to attend such and such event, or for not being there for this or that or the other thing. As a writer and an introvert, I find this interesting for several reasons.

First, second, and foremost: how we choose to spend our time is the most important decision we make, and we make it continually. Every moment of every day, we are choosing the moments that make up our life. As Mary Oliver would say:

“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I ask myself this question every day, sometimes multiple times in a single day. Inside my head is a super wack version of Mary Oliver on speed that won’t quit no matter how much wine I feed her. And I appreciate her persistence because the answer to this question at any given moment has massive repercussions. What we do with the entirety of our lives—which is to say with every second that constitutes our short time here on this earth—depends simply on what we say yes and no to. Friends, I know a lot has been written about this already but let me reiterate—it is more than okay to say no—it is essential. And yet for some, the question of what to do with [the] one wild and precious life we have conjures feelings of el dreaded FOMO. Or el fomito as I like to say, affectionately.

3. According to Wikipedia, FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, is “the feeling of apprehension that one is either not in the know or missing out on information, events, experiences, or life decisions that could make one's life better.”

That could make one's life better. Seriously doubtful. What makes my life better is precisely THE MISSING OUT. I love missing out. I do not suffer from el fomito as much as I do from LFTMO (Look[ing] Forward To Missing Out). Those of you who know me know that when I am not promoting a book, I enjoy spending bucket-loads of time at home, curled up on my couch, preferably in pajamas, writing poetry, and drawing in little sketchbooks with my cats. This brings me immense joy. No one else is invited to these couch parties except Bob, who also lives here, and treasures his quiet time as much as I do.

So that's a rabbit. Again, guateber. I'm working with free images here. Don't be so judgy.

My point is that the most important event in the world could be happening right outside my door. But if it is not important to me, I may not even open the door. Maybe I'm feeling adventurous and rush outside. But maybe I'm not feeling adventurous at all. Maybe I want to hide in my room all day. Is that selfish? Who cares? And if it is, how is selfishness a bad thing? Being good to ourselves and prioritizing our needs should not carry a stigma. After all, tomorrow is not promised to anyone. I keep a notebook full of uplifting facts like this for inspiration. We could all be dead in an hour. Who knows what the future holds, right? But despite this and the fact that we may not know what’s going on with the filing system (or lack thereof)—we can guard the here and now. We can protect our present by making choices that matter.

So I invite you, as I invite myself, to say No with no apologies. To be kind to yourself. To respect your own boundaries. And to LFTMO as much as possible.

I am headed to Seattle next week to promote the book, and I am genuinely excited about the upcoming events. I look forward to seeing friends and attending writing panels and poetry readings and talking much more than I am comfortable with. Things will settle down when I get back, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to missing out on so many events this spring.

I hope you all LFTMO, too.


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