mike ferrentino trail
Beggars Would Ride

YOLO!... FOMO!...

Words Mike Ferrentino
Date Jul 14, 2022
Reading time

The built-in health app on my iPhone told me that I took 48,716 steps from Wednesday morning through Friday afternoon last week. That was, apparently, about 18 miles of walking, spent entirely with a broad asphalt rake in hand, never venturing more than 200 feet from the front of my barn, as I channeled my best attempt at Zen and spread sixty tons of pea gravel in a thin layer over the driveway. By the time Steve texted on Friday night to see if I wanted to ride the next day I could barely close my hands anymore. Dehydrated, red-necked with sunburn, and with my spine feeling a little like it was trying to detach from my pelvis, I declined the invite, and by so doing slammed shut one of the only windows I had to ride in almost a month. Two days later I found myself in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, surrounded by absolutely epic trails, doing my best to ignore the parade of fit and beautiful people riding past, trying not to notice the dusty Transitions and Yetis hanging from the back of pickups. Instead, I locked my focus on rolling out a 16th birthday celebration, acknowledging my child unfolding into adulthood and at the same time acknowledging that life is so often about more than bikes.

But still, those trails, I could almost taste them. The schedule had no wiggle room, the offspring rates riding bikes about on par with being stabbed in the eyeballs, and turning 16 is important shit. Usually, I can sit with this, no problem. Coming off a solid block of backbreaking labor without a single pedalstroke taken, however, and I swear I can hear the distant howl of hot rotors and the scrub of meaty tires through all the other noise of mountain town summer vacation. This, my friends, is pure FOMO.

Although, it’s not so much FEAR Of Missing Out. It’s more of a Jaw Clenching Resignation And Subsequent Resentment Based Around Choosing To Miss Out. This Missing Out jive, it never used to factor into my life. Not like it does now, at least. Adulting is hard, and I suck at it. Time management, prioritizing responsibility, balancing wants and needs, figuring out how to pay the bills AND still play in the wild, none of this has ever been my strong suit. As such, FOMO has been creeping in over the past decade, as I choose to do the right thing instead of the fun thing and discover there isn’t enough time left on the clock to do all the things. I accept FOMO, where previously I had been deeply ensconced in a life of YOLO.

You Only Live Once. Long before that phrase had its brush with fame, before it became “The Newest Acronym You’ll Love To Hate” according to the Washington Post’s Style blog in 2012, before it became associated with bold people doing stupid things, it had been, without me consciously thinking those words, something of a headlight for my life path. Like I said, I’ve never been very good at adulting. In pursuit of my unwitting YOLOness, I had, ever since mountain biking sank its fangs into me, chosen to live in places where the riding was awesome. Riding mountain bikes mattered most, and You Only Live Once, duh, so it made perfect sense to prioritize location in order to cut down on unnecessary time spent driving to where the riding was good. Often, there were some pretty hefty culture or wage based tariffs associated with this sense of prioritization. Most of the time I didn’t really even notice those roadblocks to sensible adulthood, because the cool thing about living in the moment is that it’s really easy to shore up those blind spots and develop a strong sense of compartmentalization when it comes to things like bank account balances, tax deadlines or health insurance. It was sort of like living out a prolonged, blissfully ignorant trust fall.

A paragraph like that last one feels like a setup, right? Like this is the bit now where I tell the harrowing tale of a sudden fall – both metaphoric and literal – from that state of unconscious grace, how a broken leg with no safety net brutally brought me into a state of penitent responsibility. But that’s not what happened. Instead, the passage of time quietly deposited a sense of duty, a willingness to shoulder obligations that had previously felt too heavy to face, shifting needs, changing perspectives. In spite of a long and mostly successful avoidance of growing up on my part, adulthood eventually prevailed. In pursuit of a “career opportunity” I moved away from the mountain town where I could ride straight out my front door into a wonderland of singletrack. The “career opportunity” paid well, but the pressure of the job caused me to make decisions that felt alien; I began forsaking saddle time for screen time. Month long road trips got replaced by a mortgage payment and the somewhat fulfilling but time devouring duties of remodeling. It wasn’t a sudden drop off, from YOLO to FOMO, but an insidious slide. Along the way, to pull an old Ween lyric out, I “got fat, got angry, started hating myself…”

“Marco!”

“Polo!”

That old call and response game haunts my thoughts, but instead I hear the calls as “Yolo!... Fomo!” Two counterforces that define how we make decisions. I have been out of balance for most of my life. Once upon a time I was all YOLO. Then I became all FOMO. Then the balance shifted again, but the care and responsibility free days are most definitely in the rearview. I spent the past eight years living farther from decent riding than at any time in my life. Fortunately I had acreage, so in an attempt to restore the ride balance I began building my own trails. Sounds good on paper. Entire winters spent digging; the lesson learned that for every hundred hours spent digging I could expect to get a minute or two section of trail, if even that. The digging was cathartic and addictive, though, and I found myself choosing to dig instead of ride. “Yolo… Fomo…” sung in chorus, echoing through my thoughts, as the McCleod bit into the dirt, as the tamper stomped the bench.

And so I find myself here, on the precipice of yet another shift in life and location. Here, for just this quick blink of time in Jackson Hole, where I will never, ever, be able to afford to live, watching as my progeny swims carefree in crystal lake water, catching the dusty smiles of tired mountain bikers out of the corner of my eye. This is not the place for FOMO, there will be plenty of time to ride. I make a quick promise to myself that there will be more singletrack and more lakes wherever I land next, nod in acknowledgment at the riders peeling their dust caked shoes off at the shore of the lake, take three quick steps to the edge of the rock and yell to my kid; “INCOMINNNNG! YOLOOOOOO!”

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Comments

andyf
andyf
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+8 hairymountainbeast justfrogurt Cam McRae Mike Ferrentino Pete Roggeman Timer Unkas Scott B

Dude, you brought tears to my eyes.  So many parallels.

Reply

chacou
chacou
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+8 4Runner1 Cam McRae Mike Ferrentino Pete Roggeman justfrogurt Scott B couscousmoose dhr999

"watching as my progeny swims carefree in crystal lake water"

That's YOLO. Being in the present moment, some high level philosophical stuff as usual. Nice read!

Nice turn in the cover photo too.

Reply

DaveSmith
Dave Smith
3 weeks, 4 days ago
+3 Mike Ferrentino cbamos DanL

That is a well placed Ween reference, Dr Rock.

Reply

cbamos
cbamos
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

Wrote "Birthday Boy," for you babe... Always loved that song - so beautiful and just so damn sad. Well done indeed.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
3 weeks, 4 days ago
+3 Mike Ferrentino Cydwhit vantanclub

Don't worry, you're not missing anything. Jackson sucks.

Reply

Ripbro
Ripbro
3 weeks, 4 days ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino Pete Roggeman

I will forever hear Yolo… Fomo at every public pool. Nice work

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino Cam McRae

You only YOLO once!

Reply

roland-lovell
Roland Lovell
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+2 Cam McRae Andy Eunson

Definitely FOMO this Summer 😔 waiting on a new bike , due in May which became June  now half way through July order has now been pushed back to August 😔 Bike shop think they can get me one from another dealer but I'll believe it when I see it 🙄 Here in the UK we are having great riding weather, im 5 months from my 67th birthday so for me that clock ain't just ticking it's hitting warp speed 😔so far this Summer's riding has been really scaled back on a 6 and a 10 year old hardtail.

Remember those pre Pandemic days when if one bike wasn't available another one would be . To top it all off our Lake Garda trip from 2019 has been cancelled altogether, it seems the EWS took a shine to Finale Ligure so that's now flavour of the month , bit long in the tooth for those shenanigans 😔

Reply

DogVet
Hugo Williamson
3 weeks ago
0

Don’t worry (at slightly older) the trails are so dry it’s like riding marbles on concrete, coupled with massive bramble and ferns, making it difficult to navigate!! Even on a FS the concrete trails are jarring.

Reply

ThadTheRad
Jake Smith
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+1 DanL

Hail Boognish

Reply

mammal
Mammal
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

My life has taken me from YOLO to FOMO, and right back to YOLO, over the past 25 years. I feel like at 42yo, I'm being slowly reeled back to FOMO, but really hoping I can find a fulfilling balance.

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

One advantage. One. Of getting to be 65 this year is that I have built in excuses to do dutiful things and not ride. Today I had to go to the city to see my dentist for about ten minutes to confirm that I need a root canal. Oh joy. The wife had an appointment for Botox in the scalp to treat her migraines and she was late getting out. Then we went to C C C C Costco. Shudder. Quick trip to get dog food and back to Whistler where it’s a beauty day. Perfect ride temps. But I’m thrashed from driving and putzzing and buying mass quantities of foodstuffs. So I use my age excuse to not be all fomo.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
3 weeks, 2 days ago
+1 Andy Eunson

I am your student...

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
3 weeks, 2 days ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino Andy Eunson Dogl0rd

As someone once told me "YOLO is carpe diem for idiots". Guess the milennials had to come up with their own phrase to differentiate from the Olds.

Baby Bitch is a great throwback, thanks for the dredge. I'll discover what kind of 16-year-old my little dude becomes in 11 more laps of the sun, so far he wants to ride with me...

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
3 weeks, 2 days ago
+3 Cam McRae bikedrd dhr999

At some point in the initial draft before I got twitchy about word counts I had a whole riff in there about Drake binge watching Dead Poet's Society over and over while his slaves polished up his sneakers, and how us Rustic Gen-Xers used to carpe the shit out of every damn diem, but it kind of missed several points and got rightfully excised...

Reply

GiveitsomeWelly
Karl Fitzpatrick
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

Heavens sakes.

When my youngest was born my wife was the only one that could do everything that kept him alive for the first year.

She would encourage me to go on riding trips whenever the gang had one coming up. Deep down I knew she was banking credit for when the groms were big enough to be left alone. 

Now that has turned around. She gets to get away more now which is awesome but I have to keep the amount of 'debt' I'm in so I don't get too much FOMO when she says she wants more Me (Her) Time.

I'm still given lots of time to do stuff I want to do in comparison to some friends of mine. 

I really think the key is adjusting your perspectives.

Obviously this is easier said than done.

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
3 weeks ago
0

Oh yes. Banking that solo parenting time, and keeping the positive comms going about who needs some / is due some... I feel you.

My other half took a few days recently, so I've got some in the bank, but Wellington is not being encouraging right now about playing outside.

Reply

4Runner1
4Runner1
3 weeks, 3 days ago
0

You had me at Ween.

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