The Urban Dictionary defines FOMO as “the fear of missing out”. A term coined somewhere in the same (and very recent) era of YOLO, FOMO has permeated into mainstream slang and can be found on the lips of teens and post-teens alike. Although FOMO as a term is rather recent, the sentiment is one that is no doubt age-old. I’m certain that ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics etched upon the walls of stone caves depicted elaborate melancholy scenes of missed BBQ’s and girls trips to Vegas.
If I’m forced to admit it (which evidently I have forced myself right here and now), I do happen to suffer from a mild to medium case of FOMO. I’ve had the luxury up until now to miss out on very little considering the majority of my friends and family live in the same city, but as I painstakingly pack the contents of my home in preparation for our cross-country move, I can’t ignore the ever-present FOMO creeping in with every pop of the bubble wrap.
For those who live away from the action, either geographically or in the form of a career or other such pursuit that runs your life, social media is perhaps the most devastating vehicle for FOMO. Glimpsing the happy faces of your loved ones with arms raised in ‘cheers’ formation without you is enough to send one over the edge. Because, unlike the pre-social media days, now you know exactly when and what you are missing out on.
The simple (and perhaps the only) antidote to FOMO I can think of is trying ones very best to be in the moment. This goes hand in hand with gratitude, working as a clever little team. Maybe it won’t make up for the Valencia-filtered birthdays you witness from the other side of your glowing phone, or the impromptu lunches (in the form of close-range foodography) you can’t drop everything for even if you wanted to, but the good news is that it’s pretty hard to feel like you’re missing out when you are truly content in the present moment. And if all else fails, there’s always FaceTime…or a life-size cardboard cutout of yourself that you can force your friends to carry around at all times….I’m just spit-balling here.
PS – do you have FOMO? Tell me how you deeeeeaal!