The Joy Of Missing Out

Photo by  bruce mars  on  Unsplash

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Everyone falls prey to it. The fear of missing out that is marginalizing all of our lives. We know we can’t be everywhere and we can’t do everything that our friends are doing, but we always wonder if what we are doing is the best choice. Because if it’s not, we must be missing out on something better.

We spend our lives constantly in fear of missing out on the holy grail. The night where legends are made. Our soulmate, who we would’ve met if we just arrived one minute earlier to the party. But most of this FOMO is just a product of a social media-infused mindscape. One where everything is better than what we are doing.

But what if we stopped fulfilling our fear quotient and focused on the joy of missing out? The uncluttered headspace of saying no and doing the thing that we really want to do. Binge-watch The Haunting of Hill House with a giant bowl of snack mix. Read an entire book on a Saturday. Stay in bed until noon. These things bring us immense personal joy, but we often cast them aside in favor of something shinier. And it’s because of fear.

The Joy Of Missing Out

I have it. I used to think it made me anti-social. That yearning to cancel plans just to stay home. But it’s not anti-social, it’s cathartic. Because many situations that others love, I don’t. And over the years I’ve gotten immense satisfaction out of saying no to a party. I love ordering all of my holiday gifts online to avoid the amplifying crowds inside the mall universe. I just love it. I have a profound joy when I miss out. And I’m not sorry about it.

The fear only exists because of societal expectations. If I don’t go to the work holiday party, I will never get a promotion. If I cancel this date, they will never go out with me again. Both of these things are possible, but so is getting hit by an errant drone on your way to the party or date. It’s fear that prevents us from missing out when we really need to and causes us to remain overscheduled and underwhelmed.

So maybe it’s time to reframe it. Allow FOMO to become JOMO. Embrace it and quit lying about it. Just say it. I really don’t want to go to the party because the truth is, I really don’t like parties. They make me feel uncomfortable and out of place. I would have a much better night staying home and watching Scandal. So tonight, I’m going to choose me. And a package of Twizzlers. And popcorn. And Kerry Washington. Instead of a St. Patrick’s Day party. You have fun though.

Truth Sets the JOMO Free

It’s the ability to tell the truth about your JOMO that will set you free from the constrains of always feeling bad about allegedly disappointing someone, or the world in general. Why did we all become so scared to be honest about what we like and what we don’t like? Or about just making a personal choice to say no to something. I find “no” to be one of the most rewarding words. Not necessarily when my kids were toddlers, but now - for me. It’s a word that maintains your internal power over your life and allows you to set the JOMO free.

Photo by  Kal Loftus  on  Unsplash

Photo by Kal Loftus on Unsplash

Replacing Fear With Acceptance

What are we all so scared of missing out on anyway? For every good thing we miss out on in our lives, we miss out on thousands of bad things that could have happened each day. And the bad things are outside of our control most of the time. But what is within our control is the choice to replace fear with acceptance.

Instead of indulging in the fear of missing out, accept the fear and then deny it. Replace your fear of missing out on something with acceptance of the fact that it’s ok to say no. It’s ok to stay home. It’s ok to not enjoy crowded places. It’s ok to enjoy watching a football game on TV instead of spending $200 a ticket to sit in traffic for two hours on either end of the game and sit in a stadium full of people who spend half the time looking at their phones anyway. It’s ok. We aren’t missing out on anything.

And what if we were? What if we missed one of the greatest games ever? What if we missed one epic party? What if we missed out on a surprise guest appearance of someone somewhere. So what?

I was in the room when both of my children were born. I was in the room when both of my parents died. I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything. Especially not more social media and comparative sharing. It’s meaningless and I’m thankful I’ve figured this out. Which is why I foster the joy, not the fear, of missing out.