I’ve felt it myself so there’s no more denying what I originally scoffed at, FOMO (internet slang for Fear of Missing Out). **Anxiety that you are missing exciting events that other people are experiencing, especially caused by things you see on social media.** This trendy acronym made me laugh when it first surfaced five years ago. Not any more.
I used to feel this twinge once a year as holiday newsletters arrived, all filled with world travels and festive family gatherings. It makes sense, though. Once-a-year updates obviously call for highlights only, not the everydayness of life. Never the mundane.
Since I had my own newsletter business, I looked forward to using my skills to capsulize my family’s life into something that would entertain, Wiseman Nutshell. It was never about wandering the Louvre, touring ruins or sunning in Jamaica. Occasionally about snorkeling in Hawaii, but mainly delightful moments we shared with the kids or friends… mostly with each other.
Social media keeps us all up-to-date on what everyone is doing—all the time— so Christmas carding has faded over the years. But now we get a constant barrage of “Look what I did this weekend!”. That FOMO feeling of being left behind can sometimes creep in when I log on and think, “Oh, how I wish I could do that. Their life is so much more exciting than mine!”. Mostly that’s not true, but these snippets deceive. I’m happy as heck that the people I know are enjoying life, and t’s easy to forget that those photographic moments are just that — a single moment. Who knows what goes on in between.
I’m free to choose the kind of lifestyle I want and I’m grateful for that. Thankfully, my husband and I both agree that living with constant activity, or post-able moments, would wear us down. And even though I have moments of envy, doing less takes most of the stress out my life. In other words, I’m able to think clearly most of the time.
Those of us over a certain age are usually stereotyped as tortoise-like and boring, but the truth is a lifetime of “doing” leads to burnout. A lifetime of parenting, working, worrying, moving, traveling, socializing, noise and constantly interacting ends up with a been-there-done-that kind of attitude. You know by now what you want to repeat.
Resisting that FOMO state of mind is easier if you’ve already decided how you want to live your life. If not, it’s a good thing to contemplate on this first week of a brand new year. You know, another chance to get it right!