For a long time, I suffered from an affliction that we have all felt at one time or another: FOMO, the fear of missing out. You know that feeling of always wanting to be in the know, to join in on the fun, to just be invited to the party. It can mean a number of things from being absent at an event, not having the latest iPhone, or missing the latest episode of a TV show. Not being included means that you are missing out on something, right?
My social anxiety around FOMO stemmed from always wanting to be everywhere and anywhere to stay connected with my friends, coworkers, fellow bloggers and more. It meant always being able to enjoy good times and good friends in all sorts of settings and environments. Fear of missing out is a great way to get you out of your comfort zone, attend plays, concerts and other cultural events, try new foods, visit new places. It gets you to live life to the fullest and leave sleep for when you get old. It’s just plain fun!
That is, until it’s not so fun anymore. The fear of missing out leads to always saying yes, juggling a busy calendar and endlessly event-hopping from venue-to-venue when you get double- or triple-booked. You can’t miss out to the point that you are exhausted and never fully living in the moment as you’re constantly worried about what other things you might be missing out on. It just never ends.
Eventually I got to the point where I realized that it’s ok to miss out. Relish it in fact. Always going after the next best thing and chasing down the “next” whatever makes all those people, places and events less special. They all blur together and become so similar to the point that you forget why you were even there in the first place. Oh that’s right, to not miss out. Definitely not there for the right reasons (oh, I feel like a Bachelorette episode!).
Nowadays, I like to live off a new adage: JOMO, the joy of missing out. It’s the freedom to say no, to pick-and-choose what you do want to do and just veg out on the couch and watch copious amounts of TV. Rather than being a slave to fear, it’s freeing to see an invitation as an opportunity – if I choose to go. Missing out on something just means it’s a chance for you to do something else instead. It’s finding your own fun, at your own time, at your own pace. There’s pleasure in knowing that you are choosing your own journey and actively enjoying it. It’s figuring out what’s important in your life and seeing how that changes over time. I know that I am missing out – and that’s ok.