FOMO. The fear of missing out.
You know that social anxiety, the need to be always connected to what others are doing? Almost like a sick desire to be everywhere – especially where you’re not – just because you believe others are having more fun than you are, exactly when and where you’re not. Do you know?
Well, English has a word for that. In fact, it is more than one word, they are four forming an acronym: FOMO. Suddenly, the English language seems to always have the right word for everything – except for Saudade. How I wish there was a FOMO in the Portuguese language too.
Do you fear missing out?
We all do. More and more, and for the worst reason ever. Social media has amplified this idea that you are missing something by not being in a certain place, at a certain time. And the more you see what others are doing, the more you believe that you are missing something. And perhaps you are. But that only matters if it makes you lesser.
I remember many years ago, well before social media, someone asking me what my biggest dream was. Almost without hesitating, I replied: “to meet all people and all places in the world”. Looking back, this feels overloading. But I now understand what I meant: I don’t want to meet everyone – even because I’m a bit of an introvert – nor everywhere in the world – even because I love staying at home. What I want is to know the person I am and this world I have inside. Yet I need the external world as a mirror to reflect me. Just that.
If you fear you’re missing something, perhaps you are. But pay more attention to what you’re gaining. You can’t be everywhere with everyone at the same time. But that no longer matters if you choose to be where, when and with whom your self becomes bigger.
P.S. Your fear of missing out is real because there is a global conversation going on right now, among millions of people, in a language you don’t speak. If this conversation matters to you, don’t be left out.