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Me and my FOEFOMO (fear of experiencing fear of missing out)

Jun. 19, 2018
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While the idea of FOMO (fear of missing out) may be an age-old dilemma, constant access to social media makes it all the more common in our day-to-day lives. I can easily recall feeling this way, even in my earliest experiences with social media. And still, I often find myself with the same exact sentiments. But lately I have found myself grappling with some new questions. Am I really afraid of missing out on a fun time? Or am I afraid that I might be totally okay with it?

I have always considered myself an extrovert, and connected deeply to the definition. I am outgoing, outspoken, and I feed off of the energy from those around me. This was easiest in college. There was always a roommate, friend, or a classmate surrounding me at every waking moment. I was rarely alone, and frankly, I liked it that way. 

As a twenty-something, post-grad “adult” (and I use that term loosely), establishing a routine can seem virtually unattainable. Between balancing work and a social life, we sometimes forget the importance of self-care. And no, I am not talking about meditation, inhaling the perfect concoction of essential oils, or a spa day (although that all does sound kind of nice). I am referring to something much easier to come by: personal relaxation. While I do consider myself an extrovert, I am the kind of person who finds relaxation in the absence of a schedule. My self-care can include waking up whenever I want, watching Netflix, going on a walk or to a work-out class, or even getting some writing done at a cute coffee shop. It’s about doing my own thing and not having to worry about anyone else’s plans.

Sometimes, however, I find myself feeling a special kind of guilt when I spend a day like this. Before I know it, I am scrolling through my Instagram feed obsessively and I have come to the conclusion that every single person I know is out doing something absolutely incredible. She’s at a music festival, he’s sightseeing in a new city, and meanwhile, I have watched seven episodes of The Mindy Project in a single afternoon. What I so often forget is the fact that social media allows us to curate the things we want others to see. Although I do spend certain days relaxing on my own, do I ever post the shameful “Are You Still Watching?” Netflix screen? Of course not. It’s easy to get caught up in trying to live the way we feel we are supposed to. 

I love spending time with friends. I love exploring new places, trying new restaurants, and meeting new people. But I also love myself. I love myself enough to understand that it’s okay to stay in if I want to. This doesn’t mean that I am wasting my twenties or straying away from the outgoing personality I have always identified with so closely. As I get older, I am coming to terms with my FOMO, as silly as it sounds. While it may never go away completely, I think I am getting better at understanding when to take a “me day”—or a few.