The joy of missing out

. 2 min read

You've probably heard the term FOMO, or the fear of missing out, that refers to the psychological state in your head that makes you do things everyone else is doing - not because you like to do those things, or because you analyzed the pros and cons and decided it was best you do them, but because you're afraid of the regret you might get afterwards if you don't.

How baloney! What idiot would do travel around the world or invest in real estate or party in nightclubs every friday just because they're afraid they'll miss out on something if they don't? (Actually, a few people come to mind.)

Truth is, the fear is in your head; and if you miss some things, you're bound to get others. The people who travel the world could have spent their money, time, and effort on something else; the real estate investors risk losing their investment; the chronic nightclubbers probably miss out on quality friendships and hygge and pizza/movie nights at home.

Which brings us to the upside of FOMO: JOMO, or the joy of missing out. The term is apparently invented by a writer named Christina Crook who used it as the title of a book. Now, I've never read the book, and I don't know anything about what Crook or other people thing about JOMO, but here's what I think:

It's freaking totally unbelievably mind-explodingly awesome to miss out!

In my early adulthood, I didn't like the idea of partying in a nightclub or getting wasted in a bar, so I asked an older friend (who did those things all the time) if I was missing out on something. Her answer was, "I don't know. Maybe." At the same time I felt slightly proud of being different from others my age, not bending to the social norm, and instead spending my nights writing poetry and short stories and reading books. I didn't want to change myself, even if I was missing out. (I went to a nightclub once in my mid-twenties, to see what it was like - and realized immediately I'd made the right choice back in the day. It was boring as hell.)

So however you choose to spend your time, make sure you're joyful to miss out on the things you're missing out on. Make sure you're not thinking that you're wasting your time, doing what you're doing each moment, that there's something better you should be doing. Travel the world if you truly think it's the best use of your time; don't travel just so that you can tell people you've been to Paris or Africa or wherever. Go to the clubs if you really enjoy yourself there; don't go to clubs just to fit in or to find friends.

Do what you want. Choose a life and its components, and start living them out. Enjoy the activities you've chosen, and happily miss out on those you haven't.