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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

FOMO is not a dirty word!

There was an article in the Huffington post that I was alerted to the other day. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/faith-popcorn/fomo-the-only-thing-we-have-to-fear_b_1677856.html) That basically painted Fear of Missing Out, FOMO as a sulky insecurity (it did have the classic line “Ten percent confess that they text during sex.” which is the topic for another blog – about how you probably aren’t having very good sex).

Now as someone who has spent the last 18 years living my life on FOMO, I take great offence at this. Fomo isn’t sitting around sour grape-ing that you weren’t invited somewhere – FOMO is creating every opportunity you can, so you squeeze as much into your one and only precious life. As I’ve said before,  Ray Bradbury put it perfectly when he said “Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”

One of my favourite fomo moments was when I was on maternity leave, making dinner for my then 3 year old and the tv weather man was crossing live from where a rare giant plant was flowering in the Botanical Gardens, first time in 24 years and it would only flower for one day. For the special occasion the Gardens would stay open all night. We dropped everything (put the dinner in a Tupperware container to eat in the car) and headed into town. Within less than 5 minutes of the report, we were in the car. It was probably not the best thought out plan to be carting an 8 week old in a capsule, who’d want a feed while in the queue to get into the greenhouse, and the whole exercise took over 2 hours, even though we live 5kms from the city. But that’s now crossed off the list. My three year old was the one who went around telling everyone in amazement “We just got up and went!”. I think he was more impressed with the surprising spontaneity than the big stinky plant.

My midlife crises moment was when I woke in a panic, as I realised that I would never get to see the heads on Easter Island. I know that sounds funny but I sunk into a depression as I grappled with that fact. Every thing I do now, at this stage of life, comes at a cost of missing out on something else. There is only so much time and money to go round, and with three kids there doesn’t seem to be enough of either. However, my good friend pointed out that if I wanted it enough, I’d make it happen. That to me is the driving nature of FOMO.

On the upside, while planning adventures and activities like a dervish, I see a lot of things I probably wouldn’t. I also often share these adventures with friends and I derive a lot of happiness from them. I think you can look at the facebook updates of friends and think “I’ll add that to the list” rather than “Why didn’t I get invited?” And I think the former is the true essence of FOMO – not to show off, not to be self indulgent but to get the most enjoyment out of life that you can.
As Benjamin Franklin once said “do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”

20 comments:

  1. Haha, I learn something every day. My sister and daughter suffer from FOMO. I have a mild case :) Rachel xx

    #teamIBOT was here

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  2. Well, I guess which way you mean - I think it's a good thing...:)

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  3. Oh dear, you're making me feel the need to own my weirdness...but I'll take all the compliments I can get :)
    On a different note, your bento boxes are amazing - and making my daughter's tomato sandwich look a little pathetic...

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  4. I used to suffer from FOMO but I have softened somewhat in my old age. There are still somethings I hate missing though!

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  5. I'm the reverse - I've gotten worse with age. I never have enough days in the school hols to fit everything in (it's the time for our big day trips) and I've taken to delighting in the teachers strikes cos we can zip off to an exhibition for a morning...and planning a holiday? I pour over where to eat and what to do for ages in advance, and then if we run out of time, I'm really torn....but I see it as a good thing, not the sulky 'invite me' attitude that the HuffPost implied...

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  6. Of course, not meaning to diminish all the valid reasons teachers strike for....

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  7. Because of the negative connotations of FOMO, maybe I'm better going with torschlusspanik. Why do foreign languages have much better words than English??

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  8. I think it definitely depends on the way you look at it. I think that FOMO can catch you out on social media because we share so much of our lives on there now. It's easy to feel jealous etc when someone is posting updates and photos of their beautiful holiday while we are stuck at home being inundated with housework. What makes the difference though, as you said is how you take it on board. You can either use is a motivator or use it to fuel a sour grapes attitude.

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  9. As you now know, I'm attempting a one new thing a week challenge because basically I was in a bit of a FOMO rut. My family doesn't know what hit them and possibly think I'm having a mid life crisis but are happy enough for the most part to come along for the crazy ride.

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  10. I think you get used to living with a certain degree of FOMO as an introverted, Aspie type because you never really fit in with others or operate in quite the same way. Sigh. Or maybe I'm just really pre-menstrual at the moment...

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  11. I think FOMO has it's place. I believe life is for living and our family are very much-just get in the car and see things people. I don't want to be on my rocking chair in old age and regret not seeing or doing something. I agree with Tegan on the social media FOMO - it can get depressing to see everyone's highlights and you are wiping baby bums xx

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  12. I want to do more and take more chances in life. We are getting ready for our first overseas trip with the kids to NZ at the end of the year and we determined to just do it, instead of talking about it and then deciding it's too hard and then doing nothing!

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  13. I'm the geek who didn't know what FOMO meant lol than realised I have it lol. I work really hard to not get jealous of people I have to remind myself of what I have in the here and now. Love this post so much xx

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  14. I wish I suffered from FOMO. Usually our best times have been where we don't plan and just do something. I find it hard to function without a plan though!!

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  15. I like your take on FOMO, it's definitely the way to think about it.

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  16. That flower story is cool. I think that's something the Robo family would've done too. Cheers for linking up. I liked your post. X

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  17. Wow! This is a great read!!
    I totally believe in what you have stated and love this view you have.
    I can understand your panic over Easter Island too. I did the same over Hawaii. In fact I have been to both Hawaii and Easter Island. One was a stopover where I couldn't exit the airport. Easter Island (returning from Brazil) was at 3am! I missed the joys of both! Or maybe I didn't?...

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  18. I love this! I think I have FOMO too and it's why making plans to go and do stuff and travel and explore get me so excited!

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  19. I rarely get FOMO. And when I do, it's more about wishing I was the sort of person who enjoyed the activity, rather than actually wanting to be there!

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