I am sure by now that you have all heard about the (possibly) social media fuelled phenomenon that is FOMO, that is, Fear Of Missing Out. In these days of constant connection and instant uploads the lives of others are accessible to us and only one click away. The downside of being able to see photos of Greek beaches, the New York City skyline, or rugged backstreets of Turkey is that we call into question our own lives. Suddenly the lustre of happiness and satisfaction with our little two bedroom house with undercover parking and excellent commuting possibilities dulls. Don’t even get me started on Facebook…
It’s the comparison game my dears, and humans are well versed in it. My theory is this: human brains are excellent at recognising patterns and when we see deviation from the pattern we are attracted to more intense study of the aberration. We start to compare the gap between the deviation and our own rhythm and conclude that our pattern is lacking, lacklustre.
Fear Of Missing Out has launched a flotilla of articles (this one and this one are very informative) and called us to question the ways we use technology to communicate with our ‘friends’ and update them on how our lives are going at the moment: the ethics of this new landscape and virtual community centre are currently written in chalk, there is no grand tradition or best practice to be relied upon here.
For example, are we always honest in our posts on various social media sites? Are we showing people the 9-5 of our lives, or just the highlights reel? I’ll be honest, I don’t show the majority of my life on any social media site. My days are spent in a grey cubicle, in an office, an hour’s commute from my home. Not something Pin-worthy or Instagram-able. I still do laundry, clean the bathroom, and spend a ridiculous amount of time comparing products at the supermarket before emerging empty handed. Again, not something I am going to write on my ‘Wall’. I want to share with you the delicious, the comical, the inspiring, and the special. We all know what every day looks like. We all have our own versions of it. Even those people who fill up our ‘feeds’ with palm trees and white sand and impossibly tiny bikinis aren’t always on vacation. If they are good on them. Perhaps they have FOMO on laundry…then again, maybe not.
The next time you feel FOMO falling down around you like a glittery jealousy blanket take a deep breath, put down your phone. Go outside and look at the sky, your own patch of sky. Play with your dog, run your fingers through its fur, and see the goofy tongue grin on her face. No matter how high definition your camera is you can’t capture that kind of love. Somewhere out there is someone who would love to live your 9-5 existence, or in your not-always-spotless home, or have your loving partner.
The only thing we should fear missing out on is our own lives. Sure, they might not always be glamorous, or fun, or interesting, but they belong to you and no-one else.
Don’t fear missing out on the beautiful things, they are right there at your fingertips if only you are wise enough to recognise them.
That is why I started my Gratitude List. Because the thing I fear missing out on the most is the gifts I have already been given.
Come back tomorrow for the Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Twenty-Nine. Until then, do you have FOMO? How do you resist the urge to compare?