Embrace Your Inner FOMO

Elizabeth Coffman-Mackey
April 19, 2019
Image of Irish seaside through fenceposts

When I first left to spend four months in Dublin, it seemed like an eternity. We had over one hundred days at the start. One hundred days sounds like an endless amount of time, and simultaneously no time at all. Of course, I knew the time would go fast, but this anxiety about trying to get the most out of my hundred days worked to my advantage.

My first weekend in Ireland, I bought a Leap Card to use the public transportation in Dublin, and immediately afterwards got on a bus to the nearby town of Howth. I didn’t yet have any friends to go with, but I wandered the seaside town just to look around. A few weeks later, one of our professors suggested to myself and two classmates that we check out the library in Rathmines, so we went that same day after class. When class was cancelled, I made the long trek to Glasnevin cemetery to see the famed tower and explore the old graves. Now, as I write this, it is my final week in Dublin, and it seems there is no time left to do any of these things.

One hundred days go by in the blink of an eye. Before I came to Dublin, I had a bad habit of procrastination. This is by no means saying that studying abroad cured me of procrastinating entirely, but it has put into perspective how much I put off doing good things. Many times at my home university I would tell my friends that I didn’t want to go out to dinner some night, that I wanted to go home and relax for the evening. My only reasoning for this was that we could always do it some other night. At home, there’s a sense of there always being another night, no rush.

With only one hundred days on the clock, there is no sense of there always being another night. When friends asked me to go out, I had a tendency to say “yes,” if for no other reason than I didn’t know if we would ever get the chance again. So many weekends were spent with people jet-setting off to other parts of Europe, and so many days were packed with classes. Due to this, there aren’t an endless amount of opportunities to go check out the “pizza bus” parked behind the pub/cafe near the school. If I saw a cool bookstore, I was that much more likely to go into it that day, because if I said I would do it later and didn’t get around to it for months…well, I’d be on the other side of the Atlantic ocean.

Another day, a classmate asked who would be interested in going to Dún Laoghaire with her, and I immediately agreed to join. We discovered the Dún Laoghaire Sunday market, a truly gorgeous farmer’s market set up with gourmet fudge, pear cider, a book stall, and incredible hot food of all kinds. We had bought handmade lemon tarts and vegetable goat cheese pies, then ate them by the seaside. It was so gorgeous, but we were busy so often on weekends that we weren’t able to go back until the last Sunday we were spending in Dublin. Then, to our surprise, the train to Dún Laoghaire wasn’t running! We ended up having a great lunch together anyway, but it was a lesson in doing things when you get the urge, and living in the moment. In one hundred days, if I wanted to try something out, there was really no time like the present.

Even if you don’t plan on scouring the SkyScanner app to see when there will be a really cheap flight to Paris, there’s still no knowing where the weekends in Ireland may take you. So, whenever you have a Friday off or simply nothing planned for a day, hop on the DART and go up to Malahide, even if you don’t buy tickets to go see the castle. Check out Sandymount Strand so that you can properly see the ocean. (Seriously—for a coastal city, you don’t see much of the ocean when you live in Dublin.) Embrace that fear of missing out and try as much as possible. There’s only so much time to soak in wherever you’re staying, and I learned to try and experience it whenever I could.

Elizabeth Coffman-Mackey

<p>I am a fourth year college student living with my wife and our cat. I spend most of my free time writing stories or attempting to "vegetarianize" meat dishes. I love all kinds of fantasy, but especially the likes of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and I hope to learn enough about English in college that I can spend the rest of my life getting paid to do the writing I will be doing anyway.</p>

Destination:
Term:
2019 Spring
Home university:
Indiana University
Hometown:
Urbana, IL
Major:
Creative Writing
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