Missing Out

 

Fear of missing out, also known as FOMO. As Wikipedia defines it: “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media websites.” Millennials’ are known to acutely suffer from FOMO. I’ll be the first to stand up and raise my hand, my name is Jo’el, and I am addicted to this idea that I am perpetually missing out.

I want it all. To be single, to be married, to travel, to have a career, to have money and free time. At any given place in life I am usually thinking that the grass is greener on the other side. Not only do I suffer from FOMO, but I also perpetuate it. I carefully organize my instagram and social media accounts with the best pictures, portraying a life that is a highly stylized snapshot of my existence. I am flattered when people are envious of where I have been and my life (the life I portray on instagram at least). That satisfaction lasts only as long as it takes me to browse through other people’s instagrams to be envious of their adventures.

This past week a couple of my best friends took a trip to Mexico. A trip that I was supposed to be on. Unfortunately, I am in the middle of finding a new job and at the last minute it was going to be a far more responsible choice for me to stay home. I hated that I had to choose between being responsible and, well, missing out. I was disappointed, but then I started to think. In the span of a year I have radically changed my life. I’ve changed my definitions of what success and happiness mean to me. I have abandoned some life goals, and swapped some out for new and improved goals. I deliberately redefined my life to find happiness and contentment.

I couldn’t make it on this Mexico trip, but what am I actually missing out on? The joy in every day life. The beauty that is spring in Salt Lake City, the fact that I am healthy and the people I love are healthy. I am so preoccupied with the future, with goals and travel plans, that living in the present becomes very difficult. I was asked in a recent job interview what my one-to-five year plans were, and the first thing that leapt to my mind was “I want to be happy.” I want to have a work-life balance. I always associated being happy with “when I get married,” “when I get that promotion” or “when I can take that trip”. I have aggressively crossed off items on my life to-do list, and achieved everything I set out to achieve, I still haven’t been happy. I am constantly restless, filled with a deep loneliness and fear that I am somehow, missing out on something. Success has a different meaning for me now. Now, being content is my definition of success. Not that I’ve abandoned all goals, I think it is supremely important to continue to strive and be better than you were the year before. However, the difference is internal. I want to be more loving, more gracious, more content, more peaceful than I was last year – all of those things are not about what trips I’ve taken or what job title I held.

When the day finally came and I had to drop my friends off at the airport, my heart didn’t sink. Even though I couldn’t be part of this trip, I wasn’t missing out; I am realizing the gloriousness of the moment in front of me.

 

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Spring in Salt Lake City

 

2 comments

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  1. Mir Isaac

    Holy smokes darlin’, one thing you AIN’T missing out on is a phenomenal ability to communicate! You gots the pretty words all.day.long.
    I really dig being able to peek in at your process, and am deeply grateful for your fearless candor. You get the Big Brass Ovaries award for the day.
    Just wanted to leave a comment from a slightly different life stage. Simply this: At this point in my life I have a touch of the FOMI, that is, Fear Of Missing In (it’s more of a concern, really). I don’t want to lose time trying to find myself in the Great Out There anymore. Had a chance to get a few stamps in my physical passport, did a lot of adventuring, some scoundreling, hopefully more building and fixing than breaking, more loving than hating, more healing than hurting, and only slightly more getting-ups than falling-downs. It’s been a helluva ride.
    My focus has now become that of finding a path home to myself, and it’s starting to be pretty interesting! Guess what? Turns out everything you need is already inside you.

    Jes’ my two cents.

    a heartful of love from your wacky Auntie M

    Like

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