Chapter 13: Fear Itself
Spooky season has come to a close (officially) but the real spooky season is the movies we watched along the way, and you can keep that spookiness with you all year round by watching horror movies and presenting blood sacrifices to the beings of our nightmares at any time. In case you were wondering, I did the thing — #31MoviesIn31Days was a success! I actually accomplished 31 movies in 30 days, which allowed me to check out a local haunted house on the most hallowed of eves. It was alright. Fun, silly and a tad bit spooky — just the way I like it. If you want to see the list of all the movies I watched this year, check out my social media (links down below), where I posted the full list.
But now that spooky season has ended, it’s time to look forward to the next big commercial holiday that everyone is looking forward to. That’s right, despite Thanksgiving being nestled comfortably in the last Thursday of November, stores are already prepping their aisles for the true holiday season, most notably: MY BIRTHDAY. I’m kidding, obviously, since even I don’t care much about the day that I escaped the birthing canal, but I’ll gladly take the opportunity to shamelessly plug my Kofi, Venmo, and Amazon wishlist (again, all links down below), so if you want to send me money or buy me things, feel free to do so on December 27th!
But the solar cycle during which I was birthed was not the thing I was building up to — no, it was the holiday season led by everyone’s favorite capitalist celebration: Christmas.
Spooky season truly kicks off my favorite time of year because I get spooky month, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas happens, my birthday, and finally New Year’s. Even though I don’t care much for my birthday (mostly because it’s 2 days after Christmas and is essentially just a jolly aftershock), I still enjoy the holidays as excuses to eat delicious food, hang out with family, and get the opportunity to catch up on some video games, since I rarely have time to play them anymore. More specifically, Pokemon games tend to come out around this time of year and I will always sink a ton of time into my favorite game series.
The holiday season also means a lot of balancing wrestling with personal life, which can be pretty draining. When I first started wrestling about five years ago, I was all gung-ho about wrestling at every opportunity. I didn’t care if I missed a holiday, I never made weekend plans, etc. because I was always seeking to wrestle on every single weekend. Fast forward to now and my opinion and priorities have changed a bit. I’ve actually turned down a few bookings in the next couple of months because they happen to land on weekends I had already made plans for.
I know for a fact that 24-year-old Nick would have canceled those plans immediately for the chance at another booking, but my perspective has changed quite a bit since then.
Something I’ve discovered in recent years (and maybe I’ve talked about this in a previous chapter — I don’t remember what I’ve written a day after I wrote it) is that I am so busy and my time has become so valuable between school, work, working out, training, writing, and trying to raise a cat, that I have to think critically about what I commit to in all aspects of my life.
Another big factor that plays into this is the dreaded fear of missing out (FOMO). I used to suffer from severe FOMO in college and in the first few years of my wrestling career. When I first started, I would hang out with my trainers at the bar after a show watching them get drunk and tell the same stories over and over again, simply because I was terrified of missing out or that if I bailed, I would be marked as the “un-fun” trainee and they would like the others more than me. I also used to go to as many shows in the area as possible, even if I wasn’t booked, just for the fear of missing out on a story or an opportunity.
This FOMO ate away at me, as I started spreading myself too thin both physically and mentally, and my car really felt the effects of my irrational fears (RIP Phyllis) as I drove up and down the west coast. Despite all that, I definitely do not regret those busy times because I had a lot of fun, got some good stories, and gained valuable insight and friendships from it.
But the aging, greying 28-year-old Nick Radford is honestly much happier gorging himself on a thanksgiving meal with his family and playing Pokemon on Thanksgiving weekend.
Here we are at the end where I try to wrap things up and make sense of all the words that I’ve spewed onto the page. The intention I had here was to discuss FOMO and how my view of “missing out” has changed in recent years. It is ingrained in young wrestlers when we first start out that “if you don’t devote all your time to wrestling, you don’t deserve to be involved in it” (said in a gruff, wannabe vet voice) and I bought into that for a while.
But I think it’s critical to be aware of one’s mental health when making decisions on what to do with one’s time. Weighing out the risks and the rewards of the things you do is a valuable skill to have. Missing out on a booking or two isn’t the end of the world. If you’re working somewhere that won’t allow you to have a month off or stops booking you because you’re unavailable once, it may not be the best environment, to begin with.
I know I’ve been on its case this whole time, but FOMO isn’t an ultimate evil, it can also be beneficial. There have been numerous occasions where FOMO has helped me overcome my social anxiety and forced me to get out of my comfort zone in order to have a very fun experience.
At the end of the day, it is important to remember that there are things you’re going to miss out on, you can’t be a part of everything and that’s okay.
- December 8: WCWC – Salem, OR
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