Have you ever gotten caught up in the state of FOMO? It’s a physiological phenomenon that has swept our generation: the Fear Of Missing Out. Essentially what it means is that whatever you’re doing right now is not enough and that there’s always something more, something bigger, better, different that you should be doing and seeing and experiencing because whatever moment you’re in right now just doesn’t capture all of the other life you could be living!
In tandem with fear, a sense of guilt generally accompanies FOMO-ing. Thanks to social media, events and parties are happening almost every second of every day and each one seems better and more life-altering than the other, so getting that carpe out of your diem means spending time at each one documenting on Instagram and Twitter that you were there, all the while wishing you were somewhere else.
I’m guilty of FOMO-ing. When I was in my early- and mid-twenties, I attended soirees (yes, soirees), partied with bands, took wine tasting classes, knew all of the best restaurants in Chicago, danced til 5 am at hipster dive bars, went to art gallery openings, joined a softball team of strangers-turned-friends, tried out for Wheel of Fortune (and almost made it!), took weekend trips, traveled to Europe…. What I’m trying to say is I did a lot, and it was fun. Did I actually see and do everything? No, of course not. But I was afraid I wasn’t doing enough with my life.
One major act I desired to do back then was move away from Chicago. I needed to get out of the Midwest and define my life away from what was familiar. I FOMO-ed the shit out of that desire and transplanted across the country to Seattle. Without that fear of what I could be missing out on, I wouldn’t have changed career paths to something that I actually enjoy, wouldn’t have found the most dazzling group of human beings I am fortunate to call my circle of friends, and I would not have been united with the man who changed my life and steals away my breath and heart each time I see his smiling face.
Lately, I see life differently. I’m not as caught up in FOMO-ing as I used to. I still strive to experience new things and enrich my life with interesting, unusual events and people, but I don’t stress about having to be in twelve different places at one time capturing on social media proof that I had done something.
Perhaps it is the knowledge of age or being burned out from my twenties (or both), but I now soak up the moments I am living and feel stable in that I don’t have to live a frenetic life of wondering what better thing I am missing out on. Adventure lies in the world around me; I just have to appreciate what is there and who I’m with.
In retrospect, a lot of what I did in my twenties just to simply “do” things and document for others on social media now rings as hollow. Even though what I did was fun and no matter the amount of the many things I had tried to do and see, a lot of what I encountered I did so alone. I’ve since learned that having someone around to experience the world makes for a) great memories and b) a really fun time. Fortunately, I lucked out and recently found someone whom I love (and loves me back a startlingly good deal) to share in life’s latest escapades. With him by my side, the world is as large as I can imagine and as quiet and intimate as a night together on the couch.
Back in my early twenties I had detected a fear that I was missing something somewhere, which drove me to where I am today in life, and for this fear I am grateful. But I am even more grateful that I have reached a confident place where I no longer need to be concerned about what I may be missing out on. The future is still unknown and there’s still a lot to see and do, but right now I feel complete. What was previously lost has been found.
With many Millennial good vibes,