For those of you unfamiliar with the term, “FOMO” stands for “fear of missing out.” This term can be applied to many situations whether it be that you can’t make it to your friend’s birthday party, you are too tired to go drinking with your coworkers, or even something simple such as you didn’t get the job you wanted. Regardless, this phrase is just related to the anxiety one feels when they feel left out. Although “FOMO” is not a clinical condition, many people suffer from it, especially in the day and age of sharing to social media.
I didn’t discover that I was a victim of this until someone told me. I remember denying the concept and feeling offended that they would even say something like that. Yet feeling insecure about the thought of me suffering from something as silly as “FOMO” helped me come to a conclusion that maybe he was right and I was nervous about missing out on opportunities. Once I came to terms with this, I began to question my motives whenever I felt this way.
“Do I really want to go to this house party or do I only want to go to say I went?”
“I was asked out to go get drinks but I’m already cozy at home. Should I trade time and energy toward getting ready for a night in by myself?”
“I just got paid but rent is due next week, is it worth it to spend the money out this weekend?”
“I have to wake up early tomorrow but there’s a show I would like to go to. Should I risk my sleep knowing I’ll feel like garbage tomorrow to go out tonight?”
Until I realized that most of the nights I went out usually resulted in me sleeping through my day, waking up hungover, only to reflect that I didn’t really enjoy myself the night prior is when I began to heavily way my options and tune into myself.
This isn’t to say I stopped going out completely. I simply just started to think realistically about what would serve me based on my emotional, physical, and mental state as well as my responsibilities.
Over time, denying plans when I needed to became fulfilling because I knew I was doing something beneficial for myself without letting some irrational fear get in the way.
Whenever I know of an upcoming plan or event, I try to keep my finances in mind as well. Yes, I could go out this weekend, but at what cost? As I grow, I am more capable of recognizing that everything is costly and you can’t always do everything you would like to do (at once, that is). Yet, you can be cautious of your spending in order to save for another activity. I am currently not going to a music festival this year in order to save up and spend my money on traveling. I know that when the festival pictures start to arise, I’m going to feel extremely left out and nostalgic yet I also know that when I finally visit Chicago this summer, it’ll be worthwhile and those feelings will fade.
Every so often I still let FOMO get the best of me yet ever since my ability to recognize that it is just anxiety, my emotions aren’t as intense as they once were. I no longer let it consume me and my plans. I have decided to do what’s best for me and not let the fear of missing out control my life.
- Harmony B.