Confronting FEAR

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By: Tom Fletcher, CFP®

I’m a little slow guessing the definition of acronyms. It seems they are used more and more, especially as we continue to morph into a digital society. I’ve heard a lot of talk recently about FOMO, something I had to look up at least a couple of times to memorize the meaning - fear of missing out. It got me thinking about acronyms and some fears I have. FEAR is actually an acronym for false evidence appearing real - something we are all too familiar with these days. When you think about it, New Englander’s for years have been experiencing FOMOF (fear of missing out on football) and just this past weekend we were subjected to FOLES (fear of losing to Eagles in Superbowl). Please note the pun.

Like most Americans I’ve been laser focused on FOTF (fear of the flu) lately. While I hand wash and liberally use hand sanitizer to prevent germs from entering my body I also have a “healthy” FOTSB FOTS FOCSP and FOCDSD (fear of the salad bar, fear of the subway, fear of coughing and sneezing passengers, and fear of catching a dreaded school disease). Yes, I realize everything is FINE (fear is not everything) and I don’t want to eventually have a FOGO (fear of going out), FOS (fear of socializing) and wind up in a FADC (fear anxiety disorders clinic). 

My wife tells me I can skip the FO, in FOFE (fear of forgetting everything), I guess I just FE.  She tells me she FHSH (fears husband’s selective hearing). I FSSN (fear starting something new), FSSMS (fear saying something more stupid) and just leave it alone. This much I’ll quietly admit, even if I’ve got the refrigerator door open and I’m staring straight at it, I always FNFB (fear not finding the butter).

Like most husbands, during certain times of the year I tremble with FOMB, FOMA (fear of missing birthdays, fear of missing anniversaries) and especially FOFNYM (fear of forgetting number of years married). At times like these, it makes me wonder why I don’t have more FOWTLM (fear of waiting till the last moment)?

As the years move along, I find I really don’t have a FOGO (fear of growing older), but I do have new fears. For example while I enjoy skiing, I have a more pronounced FOASI (fear of accumulating snow and ice), especially when it pertains to my house. I always wish the guy who parks in front of our house during a snowstorm would understand that I have FOBF (fear of being fined) by the city for not shoveling the sidewalk and park elsewhere so I can have a place to pile our snow.

To put it all into perspective, I guess as Franklin Roosevelt famously said, there is NTFBI (nothing to fear but fear itself).