Have you heard of FOMO? It’s the “fear of missing out,” yup, everything does have an acronym nowadays. We are in so much of a rush we have just started doing the first letter of every word.
I digress, anyway; the fear of missing out is a real thing. It’s been around, at least, since I was a child. We didn’t have a fancy acronym, yet vivid memories dance in my head about the fear of missing out on something. I can remember making plans with family and then being invited to a party and wishing I hadn’t made the first plans because “I’m gonna miss all the fun.”. Or being grounded and missing, well, everything. Not that I was grounded much.
It happened throughout my life and possibly yours. Nowadays, I think it’s even worse for our kids and us. I found that social media had fed this beast FOMO even more than when I was a child because people are on social media while they are out with other people looking to see what they are missing out on across town! Such problems. Social media now lets teenagers know in a repeated feed of pictures if they weren’t invited to a party. Emails bombard you with sales and concerts that you might miss if you don’t jump into action.
This world is literally trying to make you look around at what you might be missing at every second, instead of looking right in front of you at who is with you.
I was sitting at a wellness center waiting for my back appointment (long story, but I got some significant back issues). Anyway, I was sitting there, and an Amish woman came in with a small child. So quiet and seemingly simple. My mind started going a million miles an hour. Does the Amish community have a problem with FOMO?
Think about it, they cant get on the internet. The Amish community are doing life with their community. They see each other in person because they don’t have cell phones or social media. They write letters to far-off families. Now I am far from an Amish expert. All I know is what Hallmark movies tell me, the Amish people I have asked, and “English” people that work with them. Some of their lives seem arduous work. Let’s face it; I’m not sure if I could survive without my favorite appliance – the washing machine. Yes, that is my favorite. It works for me every day, sometimes twice a day. I digress again…
Some Amish life is appealing to me, though, not having to think about what to wear, not having the internet or TV fed into my house, not worrying about things other than basic needs, and helping our family and friends. Doing life with people instead of rushing to activities.
The past few months, well, I guess it started with election time, I started getting off social media. I found that I was thinking less of people that were spreading hate and starting fights, and I saw that could be a destructive path, so I put on guards to stop. In being off, though, I miss many pictures of friends, updates on life (not that I always saw that anyway because of #algorithms), and missing out on trends and such. Some of me feel a little out of touch. The other part of me feels so much less stress. I have been way more intentional in my daily life and with the people around me. It’s been pretty sweet.
This post isn’t a bash on social media; social media is the example that’s close at hand. You might have a different vice that has you experiencing FOMO. You are always welcome to share.
The point is I have been trying to be more purposeful lately and not giving in to the fear of missing out on something. I know I can only be one place at one time. If I try to be more than that, no one gets the full me. If I try to see what’s happening at someone else’s weekend party, I’m missing my own. Joy can be stolen so quickly if you compare yourself to what you could be missing. Make sure you are living your best life, not dreaming about what your neighbors might be.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~Jeremiah 29:11
If you have a problem with FOMO, I challenge you to make three actionable steps to conquer the fear. That doesn’t mean you get off social media altogether. Maybe this means to stop getting alerts every time someone post in your favorite FB group. Perhaps you set a time limit looking at the latest articles of what the Hollywood stars or royalty are doing. Maybe it is not allowing electronics at your dinner table or for two hours before bed.
I don’t know what it looks like for you, but really think about it and think about it for your family too. Children nowadays have more social anxiety and depression due to what they see online. This change could be something your whole family needs to do together. I’d love to hear ideas that you come up with.
Many Blessings and Joy to you!
with Pursuing true North