Fearing your FOMO

A BIT ABOUT #FOMO

“Fear of Missing out” isn’t exactly new, but has been taken to new extremes with the 24/7 access of social media. Simon Kelner of The Independent wrote the article Is FOMO depriving us of our ability to exist in the present and take pleasure in the here and now? He says of FOMO:

“you’re immediately paralysed with anxiety, unable to enjoy what’s in front of you because you feel something better, more exciting, more important is happening elsewhere.” In the world of Facebook and Twitter, this equates to seeing someone post pictures from a party you weren’t at, or share holiday snaps from a glamorous location, or to eavesdropping on an exchange of tweets about a film that has passed you by, or a trend of which you are simply not aware.

FOMO copyAs a Millennial, I can relate to having this fear in the not-so-distant past. But I think Millennials have more than just a “fear of missing out”, they have fears of not living up to potential, and fears of regret. Millennials are said to be highly ambitious, and since FOMO innately requires comparison, it is a combination that worsens Millennial anxiety who are already have very real stresses over money and work.

I’ve written about FOMO in the post Why it’s great to be Ordinary. I believe “ordinary” is a dirty word to Millennials. With a fear of being ordinary and a strive for greatness, how to Millennials achieve some peace of mind?

LOOKING BACK AT THE JONESES

The G.I Generation is a reflection of Millennials from a different era since they are both labeled Civic generations. Shows like Mad Men, help us understand what was fueling the Technicolored FOMO-fire in the 1950’s and 60’s. The G.I. generation was pragmatic, hard-working, and industrious— and they wanted a lot to show for it. They raised their children to conform to their values, and work hard to “fit in”, but somehow the pressure on their children resulted in this:

http://flowerpower89.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/hippies.jpg

LEARNING FROM BOOMERS

I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier. -Oprah Winfrey

Recently I read the PolicyMic article 8 Regrets from people reflecting on their twenties. The Boomer responses to the article under “comments” are the most interesting to me: Follow your passions. Don’t compromise your ideals. Focus on the positive. Growing UP is optional. Regrets are a waste of time.

I’ve heard these Boomer sentiments my entire life, but have recently learned the wisdom in letting go of pressure caused by a “fear of missing out”. I strive to make sure that the filtered snapshots on my Instagram live up to the reality of my life. It’s how I feel about my life that really matters. So my advice to Millennials is to continue to do the hard work of figuring out what you really want in life, and only fear missing out on those things. Have peace of mind knowing that life is a journey, and it’s impossible to miss out on your own life. Enjoy it!

Maybe we can learn something from the idealistic Boomers, and their Instagram-filtered glasses.

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16 thoughts on “Fearing your FOMO

  1. Great piece and brilliantly stated. I’ve always been skeptical of the FOMO mentality since when I was in high school and didn’t want to attend ALL the parties and do ALL the things my friends did. I did a lot of them, but more importantly, I did what was right for me most of the time.

    Sometimes I missed out on a great time, but I was fine just hearing about it from my friends. Other times I went out and regretting actually going. Since I’m a bit older now I spend a lot less time ‘FOMOing’ and a lot more time living the life I want to live, even if sometimes I do regret not doing certain things.

  2. Since I’m a bit older now I spend a lot less time ‘FOMOing’ and a lot more time living the life I want to live, even if sometimes I do regret not doing certain things.” Thanks for feedback! Yea, I think it’s just a good reminder for Millennials that they have permission to live the life they want to.

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  4. Great piece and great reminder to Millennials and all who have a FOMO. This piece reminded me a lot of my blog post, “On Distractions; or Fear of the Present.” I really do think Millennials largely have anxiety about missing out; but figuring out what they REALLY want and only fearing missing out on that is excellent advice. Also, love this: ordinary is a dirty word to Millennials.

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