It’s not exactly FOMO that I suffer from.
Not the type of fear that makes you say yes to a night out when you know that you have work early the next morning. Or the type of fear that lands you on a trip you know that you can’t afford because the dent it will make in your overdraft is far less painful than scrolling through the pictures of the trip you missed on Instagram. I don’t have a fear of missing out, I would very happily have a night in over going to an event that I don’t want to go to, just to feel involved.
No, what I suffer from is much worse. I like to call it S.A.M.O. I am sad about missing out.
It’s awfully uncool. It’s terribly dependent and it feels fucking horrible. It seems to flare up when I am in a period of ‘boring busyness’. You know the kind. Deadlines, heavy work load, stressful to-do lists, mundane plans that require lots of attention and reap very little rewards. It is during this time, when I am physically unable to blow caution to the wind, say yes to everything and ‘live my best life’ that a bout of SAMO can be lethal.
It starts with a wave of jealousy. Why are they having fun without me? Or more importantly HOW can they have fun without me? Why don’t they have important boring things to be doing? This is followed by a shower of insecurities. Am I boring? Do I have no friends? Should I be doing something more significant/effective/fun with my time? Once this has dried up the sadness looms. The overriding feeling of blue. Rationality kicks in and I know that I’ve made the right decision or that I had no say in the matter anyway – I had other plans, responsibilities. But still, all I am left with is a feeling of being a bit glum. And OF COURSE I torture myself by looking at the pictures, watching the snapchats and listing the reasons as to why I am boring and why I deserve to feel so sad.
This is of course detrimental. A form of self-torture. Both the fear of missing out and the subsequent sadness about missing out is unhelpful and unwanted.
It’s awfully uncool. It’s terribly dependent and it feels fucking horrible. So why do I allow such trends and accurate acronyms to manifest in my head?
I’d like to be the kind of person that revels in their decisions, that see’s only the benefits that can come from missing out on whatever it is that you wish you were doing.
If you’re working, you’re earning money, not spending it. If you’re in the library, you’re a step closer to finishing your education, a step closer to entering the real world. If you’re at home with your family, you’re spending quality time with people that you love and who love to love you. If you’ve stayed in, because you have to get up early and run a 10k, as you’re training for the marathon, you wont have a hangover when you surface and by mid day you’ll feel very smug,
In missing out comes independence, in saying no comes responsibility and in being an outsider comes the realisation that the world continues to turn when you are not there. A horrible realisation actually, that people can continue to have the same jokes, dance the same moves, and sing the same songs without you there. But, alas, a very important one.
It’s a lesson that comes with growing up. A lesson that comes with realising that you can’t do everything, like you’ve been doing for so many years. There are times when you physically won’t be able to be in two places at one time. The guilt of picking the fun option is often too much to bare, so here you are left on ‘Boring Barry’ island taking command of your responsibilities and waving good bye to your friends as they travel to ‘Fanny Fun’ Island next door.
Of course it’s worse now than it ever has been, (Instagram hatred to follow). Not only do we have to hear the inside jokes and the ‘funny’, not so funny when you weren’t there, stories the next time that you go for drinks. But we have to see it. Live most of the time, as it’s happening. I mean you might as well be there, so maybe that’s one good thing about social media. No, it doesn’t make it easier, it makes it harder. It rubs it in like Sudocrem on a spot.
I’m not looking to wallow in my SAMO or my FOMO, I’m looking to cure it. Rid myself of this character fault and live my life as an independent soul that rarely gets upset when other people are having fun and I’m not there. When you say it like that, it sounds so pathetic.
You all know what’s coming. The first thing to go is Social Media. If you can’t cope with seeing the fun because it reiterates how painful it is that you’re not there, don’t look. Take away that one form of torture. Free yourself.
Remember why you’re not there. If you’re missing out on something you really want to do, there is probably a very good reason. If you can’t see the good in the reason, that’s okay. They do exist.
A helpful mantra. For times of severe SAMO, ‘todays news is tomorrow’s chip wrapper.’ It’s so true, it’s over before you even really had a chance to miss out. By the time you all meet up again, it will be for something far more fun, where new memories are created and some poor sod is missing out this time. Good friends will recognise that you weren’t at the last shindig and will refrain with all their might to tell the story about ‘that hilarious time that guy Dave tried to snog Sandra and she fell off the table!’ (once is fine, more than once is rude and insensitive.)
In this new found security, in which you can accept that sometimes you will miss out, find joy. Find joy in the realisation that you have responsibilities, a calendar busy enough to double book and friends that do incredible things that are worth being sad about when you miss them. Embrace the fear, disregard the sadness and accept the difficult fate of growing up.
Try desperately not to spread yourself so thin that you end up doing everything, even things that you don’t really want to do, just so that you can say you were there. You weren’t really there if you weren’t enjoying yourself, and all you were thinking about was all the work you have to do, the meetings you’re missing etc etc. Live in the moment that you’ve chosen to be in, sometimes that moment is on ‘Fanny Fun’ Island and occasionally it’s on ‘Boring Barry’ Island, Whichever Island you happen to be on, you may as well enjoy it, both have a beach and an ocean to swim in, sometimes you may prefer one to the other but don’t bother looking across at the one you’re not on. Otherwise you might miss something.