You know that feeling you get when something is going on and you’re not there but I just want to be a part of it? Or when you see a friend in a relationship and how much fun they’re having, and you wonder, when will it be my turn? What about just sitting at home, scrolling on social media and you see someone you follow, maybe even admire, and you think, wow their life is so much more interesting than mine. Pretty soon you’ll be in a place of asking yourself how far you’ve come and what do you have to show for it in comparison to them, and before you know it, you’re dissatisfied with so many things that may actually be accomplishments and victories of yours. You, my friend, have FOMO.
What is FOMO? Also known as the fear of missing out, it is actually a form of social anxiety – a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity or satisfying event, often sparked by posts seen on social media websites. This could be anything ranging from the most minor, wanting to be the first in line because you’re anxious about getting good concert seats, or even the ones I mentioned above.
When I was in college, I had serious FOMO. I used to get minimal sleep because I would go to every event, every party that I could, fit in a seminar and spread myself thin all because I was afraid that I might miss something. When I was in high school, I wanted to be in college, and when I was in college, I couldn’t wait to grow up so that I could be in the real world and far away from my campus. It wasn’t until a really good friend of mine, and to this day she is much like a sister, told me, “Subi, you’re always doing something. You have serious FOMO, hun.” Number one I had never heard that word before. Number two, because I had no idea what it was, I was all the more offended! So I asked and she explained to me that the more we feel a need to be elsewhere, anywhere other than the present and growing, truly living in the moment, the more unhealthy we don’t realize we are. I had FOMO of the future. I was so caught up in rushing into the next step in life, so sure that what was ahead was so much better and worth my time than where I currently was, that I had allowed so much to pass me by. But most of all, I was wasting time in the present.
A decision had to be made about how I wanted to proceed. I could brush it off and keep doing the same old thing. Or, I could make a conscious decision to live in and appreciate the present for what it was. This is much easier said than done. For some, all it takes is an alteration of what you focus your attention on. Dwell less on the possibility of a loss: time, memory making, travel, likes on social media, and hone in more on immediate achievement, benefits, and payoffs. Write down some goals that you want to work toward, and set intentions to get right where you want to be, by being the best version of yourself in the present. Clear your social media feed of anyone and anything that is not mentally healthy or inspiring. Follow people who inspire your creative interest and Focus more on what is occurring in the now.
The person I am today is not who I was four years ago. I look back and shake my head at all the time that I wasted, hoping to be somewhere, anywhere other than where I was, but I also smile. Being in that space taught me how precious living in the now is. The present is my favorite place to be now; I am learning so much about myself and am pushing myself to be better than who I was yesterday. That is the only person or thing that anyone should have FOMO about. Leave room for more celebration of the little things, all your little things. Xoxo.