I bet most of you can recall a time where you may have experienced FOMO or fear of missing out. I know I certainly have — more than once. Whether it is social, career-wise or seeing other people live out my dream life, I have a hard time enjoying the present. This is what FOMO feels like for me.
In regard to social events, sometimes I don’t even really care for the event but rather would just like to be included and have as much fun as everyone else. A large factor that contributes to this phenomenon is social media. I tend to see what other people are doing and compare myself to them. Some people are traveling and exploring the world, some have already settled down and established a living for themselves and others seem like they have all the time in the world to hang out with friends and family while still in school. I will never understand how they manage to balance school and such a busy social life.
My problem is I tend to compare my life to theirs as they showcase mere snapshots of a perfect life on their timeline. The key information I’m missing is I’m only seeing the best parts of their life that they choose to show me. And even if they are living their best life (which cheers to you, you deserve it), their activities should not have any impact on mine. I’m on my own journey to finding my purpose and enjoying the ride based on my own likes and dislikes, which I can manage on a personal scale. My happiness will look different from others.
On a specific level, I’ve had a hard time with FOMO during my last year at college. This is my senior year, and it may be the last year where I will be able to see and spend time with all my college friends. Once we graduate, everyone will disperse to pursue their own passions and dreams around the globe. This may be the last time we are all together in one place, so I’d like to make the most out of the little time I have left and cherish every moment we have together. But lately, it has become more time-consuming and draining than fulfilling. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing my friends, but I’m tired of the late nights. I get FOMO, so I attend all the plans everyone makes, but I miss my routine. I miss waking up early and sleeping at a reasonable time. I miss having downtime and exploring hobbies. I miss being alone and having some “me time.” Lately, I feel like I’ve been on a constant run trying to balance school, extracurriculars, social life and self-care. My problem is I have a hard time saying “no.”
But then, one day I was on the phone with my brother, and he said something that changed my perspective on things. He told me a saying he heard from someone else: “Don’t have FOMO, have JOMO, the joy of missing out.”
Do I really want to go out, or do I just not want to be alone at home with the fear that I’m missing out? If so, would I really be missing out on much? If I really think about it, I may be losing more by sleeping late and not being able to wake up early to do activities I actually enjoy or want to explore. I don’t have to go to every event that everyone plans.
This is something that I’ve been focusing on more. I’m learning to balance my social life with my personal time. It’s fine to go out once in a while and see friends, but it’s also important for me to spend some alone time reading books, playing soccer, learning to play the piano again, watching the sunrise and sunset, taking road trips to new cities, volunteering at my favorite place and trying out new restaurants.
How am I supposed to figure out who I am and what I want to do with my life if I never spend time with myself? I mean, think about it: If you want to get to know another person, you spend more time with them. In order to get an unbiased opinion and really get a feel for someone, you need to spend time alone with them. This is the exact same thing I need to do with myself. In order to get to know me better, I need to spend time alone to find out what I like or don’t like and explore my passions further.
I can always invite my friends to explore new activities, such as grabbing lunch, playing sports and taking little vacations. I’ve been learning to set boundaries, so I could prioritize my own needs while still seeing friends and having fun, such as setting a curfew, seeing friends during the day and blocking out Sundays to just focus on myself and prepare for the upcoming week.
So I encourage everyone to not get scared of FOMO, but rather, look forward to having JOMO. Spend time with yourself to get to know your own passions and quirks. Find what makes YOU happy and pursue that.