FOMO is Real

August 17th, 2015

I find myself at this great stage of my life where many of my friends are getting engaged, getting married, buying houses, having/adopting kids, getting Ph.D.s, or getting new jobs. It’s amazing to get to see all of this online on a daily basis and join with them in their celebrations. I feel very fortunate to be a part of all of it.

And yet.

What is happening in my life? I’m past the point of getting engaged or married, we’re not having any more kids, I can’t seem to talk my partner into a new house, I’m not quite at a point where I can start a Ph.D., and the job changes are few and far between. Some might say this is a good thing – and they’d be right. Obviously I’m focusing on the ups of life, but everyone knows those also tend to come with downs – and right now I’m not having a whole lot of either. Go me!

But in seeing the things that people celebrate, I really get the idea of FOMO – fear of missing out. It can feel like all of these awesome major life events, all these causes for celebration, are happening to everyone but me. And I want something to celebrate.

And then I remind myself – I have a great partner and an amazing son – let’s celebrate! I have a job that doesn’t drive me to hide under my desk anymore – let’s celebrate! I have a roof over my head that my son and partner love – let’s celebrate! I learn new things every day – degree or not – let’s celebrate!

It can also be important to celebrate the small things for ourselves. I published a blog post, and it was well received. My son got his green belt in tae kwon do. I got a good appraisal at work. We finished a project at home (okay, that happens less and less these days, but still). Hell, why not celebrate every time I finish a good book? (Or maybe that’s too much celebration?) You get the idea, though – why do we only wait for the big things to celebrate?

The highlight reel we see on social media can often have us run down until we take a step back to look at our own highlights and quit comparing them to others. Yes, FOMO is real, but it’s also avoidable if you make the effort, if you decide to celebrate even small victories. So yeah, I feel FOMO, but I’ve decided to make the effort. I think I’ll celebrate this post tonight with a glass of wine, in fact.

  • Chandra

    Good post! I always interpreted FOMO as feeling like you have to accept every social invitation, and feeling like you’re missing out I’d you already have plans for whenever the event is taking place. So great. Now I have BOTH kinds of FOMO. Because I have your kind, too, and believe it or not, it’s because I’m one of those people with BIG NEWS of late… But my big news — a baby on the way — is going g to cause me to miss out on other stuff: sleep… freedom… disposable income… my life as I know it… And heck, it’s already causing me to miss out on the ability to have a drink at the end of the day. So when you celebrate your next thing, have a glass for me! And thanks for this.

    • Thank you for posting this comment – it’s a great reminder that we have to remember the grass is usually greener wherever we aren’t. It’s easy to compare and come up wanting when we only see the positive side of things and not the issues that might come with it.
      Congrats on your news, though – it really is awesome to be able to celebrate with you through Facebook (and here)! And I will not miss out on my sleep and celebrate that fact, too. 🙂

      • Chandra

        Sheesh. Sorry about all the typos. Was commenting from the Wendy’s drive thru, on my phone. Damn pregnancy thumbs. At any rate, you’re right — the grass is always greener where we aren’t . . . but we never seem to consider all the work (and chemicals) involved in getting it that way. 🙂

  • JenniferD

    I don’t have too much problem with FOMO generally speaking. But what a great post, Kristen!