Fear of missing out, FOMO. facebook, inner peace, intuition, learn to be at peace with yourself, life path, listen to your body, power of choice, power of decision, social media, too much choice, zig ziglar
For as long as I can remember I have always lived with the classic FOMO (Fear of missing out). I remember the word Fomo coming into play maybe ten years back, after the whole Facebook, social media buzz and now that everyone could see what everyone else was up to this was heightened as in your mind all you can think is, everyone else is having a much better time than me.
When I was younger I didn’t seem to have this, I remember one of my close friends forever asking me out on Friday nights when I was 16 and I was always more than happy to stay at home with a good book or a film. I would say no, leave it there, feel fine and get on with my evening and usually enjoy it.
Somewhere along the line however this changed. I’ve occasionally asked myself what was the pivotal moment where this all changed? Was it my mum telling me not to be so boring, I was young and should go out on a Friday night (Ha thanks mum!) I think every mum or dad says this to their children at some point. We see it in films and books too, ‘What fun are you going to have from staying in? Go out and let your hair down!’ Was it maybe the introduction of Facebook and being able to see what your peers were up to?
Facebook came in to play in my second year of university and when I look back I must admit that I do remember first experiencing this. I would be going to one place for the evening and then all of a sudden would see another event was going on. Suddenly, rather than just committing to one thing, the mind decides, you know what I can make both! They’re not too far from each other, I could start at Dan’s house stay for a couple of hours then head over to Sarah’s, perfect! However, this doesn’t always make for the best of evenings.
The idea of not fully committing to one thing, one event, one decision came into play and I think over time has just grown and grown. We’re sent to school, we’re told what we’re going to study until suddenly we have to choose a secondary school and then choose what subjects we want to take and whether we want to go to university. What job are we going to go into straight after? Are we going to take time out to travel or are we going to be too late jumping on the career ladder. What’s everyone else doing? God they seem so much further ahead, am I doing something wrong?
Life is all about decision making and choices and it is the choices we make which set us on our path. As the quote from Zig Ziglar says:
You are free to choose, but the choices you make today will determine what you have, be, and do in the tomorrow of your life.
Therefore we panic, we want to make the RIGHT decision, choose the RIGHT job, be with the RIGHT person and all of a sudden we’re putting way too much pressure on ourselves. Whatever happened with listening to yourself, your body, your needs. These seem to fly out the window when we’re young, we’re curious, we want to try everything, explore and figure out our paths, our identity. However we are all on our own path. We don’t all know what we want when we’re young or where we’re going but we figure it out with trial and error. We learn a great deal by discovering what we don’t like to enable us to make sure that when we do discover what we like and love we hold on to it and appreciate it that so much more.
I’ve found that since I’ve got older staying in is more often than not exactly what I’m craving. Tonight I finished work, did an exercise class and after was really looking forward to going home, having a free house, do some cooking, make some chocolate peanut balls and just catch up on life admin and watch something.The evening sounded perfect. As I was walking to the shops though I actually said to myself Fi, don’t get too attached to this idea because something could change. You could go to the shop now and they might not have the chocolate or the peanut butter you want and it’s late so you probably won’t want to head back to the other shop which is a mission and lo and behold that happened but whatever, it was a blessing in disguise. If I’d come home and made that snack, truth be known I would have eaten the whole lot. Ok fine no peanut butter chocolate balls. Moving on, I’m literally 15 minutes away from home when I get invited to the cinema.
Hey, so I’ve got a free ticket to see the Avengers tonight, fancy it?
Instant reaction: Aaaaahhhhh.
I read the message again. Film’s showing at 10.15. Are you still in town? Let’s grab some drinks first and go and see it.
Am I still in town? Not really but it’s not far. I then ask myself; Do I want to see The Avengers? Hmmm I’m not against seeing The Avengers. Black Panther was pretty awesome but I haven’t actually seen any of the other films. I’m also a few steps away from home and ready to stick my pajamas on. Going to the cinema means going back into town and I just don’t fancy it right now.
It’s all good- it’s a simple no. Politely decline, thank you but no.
But it’s free! Yes it’s free but do you actually want to go? No not really. So listen to yourself and say no.
So I did and after my initial reservation I felt good about it. I put my headphones in and continued listening to a great country song I discovered the other day. This was easy.
Two minutes from home, my phone rings, it’s my housemate.
We’ve got a spare ticket to a gig, do you want to come? It’s completely sold out. It’s going to be great, we want you to come!
Instant reaction: Aaaaahhhh.
I love gigs. God dammit. If I was going to choose between the film or the gig I’d choose the gig but I’m literally at my front door. I’d have to put all my stuff down, grab food and run out the door, jump back on the bus and head back into town.
I decide to say no.
I haven’t even heard of the band and the thought of a night in by myself sounds bliss!
I’m in the door, thinking woop this should feel great but no, I’m doubting myself. Crap I should have gone. It could be really good. Why did I say no? I decide to play the band on my phone. They sound pretty good actually. Balls. Maybe I’ll text and see if I can still come.
Flash on the phone.
Come on, come to the cinema, don’t let me go by myself. I can pick you up and drive you.
Lord what the hell do I do?
In the past, I would have probably said yes to the cinema as soon as I’d been invited. I would have looked at the message, thought hmm I don’t really fancy going to a late night screening of this film, I’m super tired and just fancy a chilled night in but that’s just boring, sure I’ll go. Then I would have been invited to the gig and would have battled because I’d be like crap the gig will be so much better than the cinema and I can see this film whenever, I should go to the gig! I would have then probably disappointed my friend with the cinema tickets as I would have agreed to that but then changed my mind, I’d then have gone to the gig and probably would have had a good time, sure gigs usually are pretty awesome but who knows! Knowing me I would have felt bad about turning the cinema ticket down after initially saying yes.
In the end, I turned them both down. I did faff around for 10 minutes thinking I’m being a right boring so and so and should just go out but then I actually thought to myself you know what this is nice, I’m going to blast music out that I want to listen to, cook, make a tea and do whatever. Turns out I’m now writing this whilst wearing a face mask.
But the best thing is I feel good about it. There are always going to be options. There’s always going to be decisions that you have to make. By choosing one path you’re not choosing the other. By choosing to stay in you could be ‘missing out’ on something great. Sure I get that completely. Some of my best nights have been when I’ve not been in the mood to go out and have met someone amazing or had such a wonderful time which has created a beautiful memory. But there’s also something special about having some down time too.
I love going home on the occasional Saturday night in the winter and watching Strictly Come Dancing with my mum, dad and Murphy, with dad sitting there listening to tunes on his phone on YouTube. I love the sun but also sometimes I love when it’s a miserable grey day and you can just stay in with a good book or film.
It’s easy to have Fomo. There’s so much choice nowadays in everything, it’s hard not to think we might be turning something good down or missing out. I don’t think we should always turn things down, as I said sometimes being spontaneous can lead to some incredible memories, however I think it’s important to tap into how you’re feeling and what you genuinely want. I know I have got very lost with this in the past and made some decisions from a not so clear place and I think that’s why it’s so important now to stop when we’re invited somewhere or asked something and to pause and ask yourself, what do I want? Because it’s by honoring those needs, your own needs, that will bring about the most inner peace.