FOMO. That’s Fear Of Missing Out.
It’s not THAT new a craze. Many magazines and blogs have talked about FOMO over the last few months. I found it a facsinating trend. But not one that I really related to. Sure, I could understand it. But I didn’t feel like I had it. I guess I felt pretty happy and content with where I was in that moment in time and didn’t feel that I was missing out on anything, because my life was just that, mine.
But now, I have it bad. But why? I’m still happy. I have great people in my life and things going on. It’s not like I suddenly have a boring life. I have loads of plans for summer with my friends and plans to go travelling.
But the other night, I felt like I was in a major conundrum. I was lying in bed, and I felt anxious with life. I think it’s because university is coming to an end. Yes I have my travel plans, but I started thinking, oh god, what about after? should I really of turned down that work experience? what if my plans fall through? what if I change my mind? In short, I was thinking… What is it that I want?
And the answer was bold, but not satisfying, as the answer is ridiculously unattainable.
I want it all. I want it all and I want it now.
I go online and I see these people, some of which I look up to and some of which I barely know, living a fabulous life. They have so much. Yes, that may be money or materialistic goods which highlight their wealth, or it may be a hot bod, a beautiful home, a list of achievements as long as their arm, an amazing career, a number of plane tickets to exotic locations… the list goes on.
I feel an unusual pressure on myself right now, and granted much of that pressure comes from myself. I want to travel, but I want to travel everywhere and I want to do it right now. But I also want money. And a home. And a great career. And the truth is you often have to sacrifice some of these things for another, even if it’s just for a little while. I can’t jump on the career ladder and commit to long term travel. But when you log on and all you see is these people living a life that you deem better than your own, it can be hard. I guess I just need to remember a few important things about these people online.
1. Their lives are filtered. Sure, they may not be intentionally ‘showing off’. They may still be showing their real life. But it will still be filtered to show the best bits. Do you take a photo of your face or body when it’s looking shit and put it on Facebook? Do you bang on about how much you adore your part time, minimum wage job which you’ve got while you get your feet off the ground? Umm probably not. These people are also human and as such they also have faults. They have arguments with their loved ones, trouble paying the bills sometimes, stress, fatigue, and wobbly bits. I’m not saying we should glorify their faults like some sort of tacky celeb magazine, but instead it’s important to recognise we are all human and as such we all have our own strengths and shortcomings.
2. You can’t have it all, but you can do your best. All you can do is what you want to do and can do right now, in this moment. Instead of thinking about what everyone else has/does/is, I need to remind myself from time to time of what I have/do/am. I may be at a completely different life stage and have had completely different opportunities from other people. And other people may look at me and think, oh I wish I had that. Right now, I’m about to graduate from university, go to a couple of festivals, and then travel the world. I have amazing friends, and family. I don’t have a lot of money but I do have a few cool pairs of shoes. Other people may not have great people surrounding them, or any money at all. They may not of got a chance at education. And while problems are relative to the individual, I am incredibly lucky with what I do have. Practicing gratitude is so important.
3. There is still time. As I said above, I may be at a completely different life stage from others. I am only 21. Sure, Cara Delivigne is also 21, but Cara Delevigne is a model. I’m not a model, sadly. I’m about to graduate from uni and as such I’m at a similar stage to many of my peers: very skint, quite scared, and a bit torn. I’m at a confused time of my life because one door is closing and i’m hoping to god another door is opening. But in a few years time, I may still get to have a home, an amazing career, some hard earned cash, and travel to all the awesome places I want to. Instead, I must enjoy the time I have at the present. I’m lucky in that I still don’t have to worry too much about responsibilities. I don’t have a career. I don’t have to commute. I don’t have kids. I don’t have a mortgage. And one day i may do anything to be 21 again.
FOMO is horrid because it stems from jealously. Jealously is gross and we don’t want to admit to being jealous unless it’s in a light-hearted, jokey, manner. But the truth is, while jealousy aint nice, we all do suffer it. We all want a slice of other people’s pie. But the best way to overcome FOMO is with common sense: remember that other people will say about the great stuff in their life but not the tough times, and that we are all human. We are all on our own personal journey and instead of focusing on others, it’s better to remember what we have, what we’ve achieved, and where we are heading. Focus on the beauty of the present. And if you want something? Make it happen. Only you can do that. So instead of wishing for someone else’s life, simply carve your life into the one you want. No, it’s not easy. It’s bloody difficult and won’t happen overnight. But it’s not impossible. So instead of having a fear of missing out, be brave, and dive in to life.