Live Life Fully: Coping with the fear of going out

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While you may be familiar with FOMO — the Fear of Missing Out — a new phenomenon may be sweeping our country soon. FOGO — the Fear of Going Out — could emerge as states start to open up businesses and establishments.

After being in self isolation for around six weeks, we’re likely to see some folks emerging more cautiously as they reenter society. On the flipside, there are those who are chomping at the bit to get back into circulation. And then there are those in the middle.

Getting our economy going again and getting people back to work is a priority. We need to get our economic engine running. The steps to get there are being rolled out in phases, with an eye toward caution.

As author Mark Manson points out, the self-isolation life has been a quick antidote to FOMO for everyone. No more pining for the happy hours you’ve missed, the concerts you can’t go to or the vacations you may have missed. You haven’t been able to miss out on them because they haven’t even been an option. And since nobody else has been going, the social media playing field has been leveled.

Baby steps

FOGO is the inversion of FOMO, explains Manson. Whereas someone with FOMO feels constant anxiety they may be missing out on something by staying in, people with FOGO will likely live with anxiety that they’ll compromise their health by going out — at least temporarily.

When the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths decrease, as we all eagerly anticipate, confidence will be built back. We’ve adapted our business meetings, and even extended family get-togethers, to Zoom, Skype and FaceTime. Now, we’ll be able to venture back out soon.

I’m just wondering whether lingering doubts, and the habits we’ve formed over the past six weeks, will affect our judgment. Will those cause us to refrain from getting back into circulation?

Of course, our confidence will be bolstered as health reports get better. There are those who say it’s too soon to reopen and others who say we can’t stand the rising numbers of unemployment — 26 million Americans as I’m writing this.

That the longer we wait, the more we put our workers and our economy in jeopardy. Some predictions that we’re headed for circumstances not seen since the Great Depression are quite sobering.

It may take a little while, though, to ramp up our individual and collective confidence. I’m talking more about optional choices right now, rather than business interactions. This is all uncharted territory, though.

Should I stay or should I go?

On the social front, I’m thinking folks may weigh the risks and benefits a little more closely than in the past. How about those birthday parties? Will they continue to be “drive by” events? Which, by the way, I’ve found to be very endearing.

Then again, we’re social animals. And there are definitely qualities that are lost in translation when we’re unable to connect directly.

You may find yourself on edge, particularly looking at things in a broader scope. Travel, for instance, comes with lots of question marks.

My husband and I are scheduled to take a trip to Europe in late October. On one hand, we’re thinking things will be more predictable and safe by then. On the other hand, there are predictions of another round of COVID-19 this fall. So, like everyone else, we’ll take it a day and a week at a time.


It’s a little early to see what new trends could emerge from this experience. Companies may opt for the practice of continued remote working. Large venue events may reconfigure their delivery methods. I’ve actually enjoyed tapping into some of the virtual concerts. There’s something quite humbling about seeing Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Keith Urban and Adele in their basements.

The threat of COVID-19 will lessen when a vaccination and treatment options are fully developed and available. Those measures are many months away, though. Until then, we’re likely to see varying degrees of caution, and optimism, emerge.

Positive actions will build on one another. Confidence will be restored with continued victories. And if there are hiccups, we’ll deal with those, too.

Economic improvements will go a long way to restoring faith. And we definitely need those. I hope those grim economic predictions do not come to fruition.


I’m holding the vision that we’ll emerge with more gratitude when our freedoms are restored, and more compassion for those who have had health issues or lost family members or friends to the disease. Not to mention those who have risked their lives by being on the front lines.

Like the sentiment of thanking military men and women for their service, it looks like a greater respect is being developed for those who have kept things going for us — health care workers, grocery and drug store personnel, postal and delivery workers, gas station and convenience store workers, veterinarians, transportation workers, service workers, nonprofit organizations, and those online who are dealing with our needs. As well as the entire supply chain efforts that have provided food, medicine and necessary goods during this pandemic.

I’m taking the opportunity — and I’m sure many of you are, as well — to thank them for their service. A new class of heroes is being recognized.

We’ve all been affected by this great equalizer in different degrees. As we emerge, let’s take our collective experience out into the world — and not forget its lessons.

©2020 Linda Arnold, Live Life Fully, all rights reserved. Linda Arnold, M.A., M.B.A., is a syndicated columnist, psychological counselor and founder of a multistate marketing company. Reader comments are welcome at For information on her books, go to or

Funerals for Thursday, July 2, 2020

Adkins, Anne - 6 p.m., Roush Funeral Home, Ravenswood.

Morton, Freda - 11 a.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Nunn, Terry - 7 p.m., Good Shepherd Mortuary, South Charleston.

Olive, Rex - 2 p.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Reynolds, George - 2 p.m., Dodd & Reed Funeral Home, Webster Springs.

Rhodes, Ella - 4 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.

Rose, Carol - 10 a.m., Cunningham Memorial Park, St. Albans.

Waldron, Helen - 1 p.m., Forks of Coal Cemetery, Alum Creek.

Wibberg, David - 11 a.m., St. Anthony Catholic Church, Charleston.