I am writing this to you at the end of a long weekend. Unlike most Mondays, people actually looked forward to today — both because it was Holi, and also, because it meant a respite from the routine of work and college. But one of the things that the long weekend also brings with it, is the pressure to do things. You plan a movie marathon, for instance. And then you go on Instagram and see that one friend who has taken a trip to the mountains. Or, maybe you are that friend who is enjoying a long weekend in the Himalayas. And you feel left out because you just saw someone post a photo of a cozy house party scene.
Basically, thanks to the pervasiveness of social media in our lives, whatever we do, the grass is always greener on the other side. Greener, and more aesthetic for the ‘gram. No wonder that for so many of us, FOMO or the “fear of missing out” is a feeling we know only too well. A study published in the journal “Computers in Human Behaviour” defines FOMO pretty accurately. It is the “the uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling that you’re missing out – that your peers are doing, in the know about, or in possession of more or something better than you.” A sorted career, a fulfilling love life, a happening vacation — everyone always seems so much smarter, and better! Especially, when you’re scrolling away to glory before bed every night.
While most people’s experience of FOMO may differ, I think there is one thing we can all agree on. There is no one experience that can conclusively ward it away. When I was in my early twenties, I used to believe in a hierarchy of “experiences” that I think would cure my FOMO. Maybe going to that concert. Maybe doing a Goa trip with my friends. (Hah!) But the thing about FOMO is, with anything you do, there will always be something else to entice you, and to make you feel, well, inadequate. So how to get rid of this FOMO?
By getting rid of the “F.” The “fear” in FOMO is what’s making us so unhappy, right? We push ourselves, because we’re scared we will miss out on The One experience that will change our lives. But what if there is no The One? (Might be applicable to people too, but that’s a different newsletter!) What if there are multiple small moments that we can derive joy from, and learn to deal with our jealousy at other people’s lives?
Say hello to JOMO aka “Joy of Missing Out.” With JOMO, we get off the treadmill, and choose the slow lane. We decide to stop, and admire the scenery. We let go of the fear, and say, “you know, who cares.”
I experienced a bit of JOMO at the beginning of this long weekend. I hid away my to-do list. I switched off the WiFi on my phone. And I just lay on the sofa, looking out at my balcony, admiring a sunny spring day. It felt nice to not constantly think that maybe a better use of my weekend would be a lunch date. Or, a shopping errand. Who knows, it may have been. But I chose to focus on what is.
So, that’s the Holi greeting I have for you. I wish you had the Holi, and the holiday you wanted this long weekend. And as we get back to our routines, here’s hoping for some joy — of missing out, and otherwise.