If you are like most Millennials, you may have experienced some form of #FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
Whether it’s a good friend’s bachelorette party, a career opportunity, a TV show or a random trip, we all have, unfortunately, missed out on something.
Sometimes, your money runs funny or your change is a little strange or circumstances don’t allow you to participate and enjoy. (Sorry, couldn’t make this last phrase rhyme.)
This summer, there were so many activities I found myself desperately longing to be at or I feared I was missing out. There was Comic Con 2015 (where they dropped the phenomenal trailer for "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice").
There were music festivals and concerts (uh, Kendrick Lamar much?). There was a group of friends who traveled abroad (complete frickin’ wanderlust). And there was an ideal career opportunity.
Everyone seemed to be having the time of their lives, doing great things.
What did I do, you might ask? I lived vicariously through them via social media. I imagined the long layovers in foreign countries I had never been to as I scrolled passed the “morning motivation” Instagram accounts.
You know the ones: There’s some bold white caption about living life and an image of an animal, car or house.
I lusted over the savory taste of “fine” music festival cuisine and good laughter through Twitter. And, of course, Facebook made me want to party with the Comic Con crowd until my feet hated me. (FYI: They know how to throw a party.)
Oh, and LinkedIn made me wonder where I went wrong after seeing other people being hired for great opportunities left and right.
Yes, these were glorious, brief moments in time. And then it hit me: I was still in the same place where I found myself dreaming and that was a very sh*tty feeling. The earth-shattering reality was I wasn’t there, nor would I actually be there.
Let’s face it: No one wants to miss out on anything we find even remotely interesting. No one.
I’m sure you’re facing a similar situation, no matter how hard you may try to hide it or throw on a front. We all don’t want to miss out on moments that make us come alive, make us feel free and make us feel happy.
I love to travel and experience new cultures. The bright lights blended with the picturesque skylines and unique walks of life are enough to slow me down and make me realize just how beautiful the world can be.
I like discussing entertainment and pop culture with like-minded people. From Beyoncé (I mean, obviously) to "Sense8" (watch this show now) to how symbolic annihilation adversely impacts minority media representation, discussing random topics about this industry increases my avid love for it.
I enjoy doing crazy sh*t with close friends thinking, “This is going to be a great story when we turn old and gray.”
I mean, what’s living if you don’t shake things up a little bit, right? And by crazy sh*t and shaking things up, I mean using Taco Bell’s mobile delivery app at 2 am and finally picking something to watch on Netflix.
I love eating. I’m a certified professional cereal connoisseur. (I’m still wondering if I could get paid for that?) Anyway, I like just doing the damn thing and living to tell the story. It makes me happy.
When you’re not able to do what makes you happy and you see others doing so, it sucks. You hate every moment you’re not there. And to make matters worse, if you have social media accounts, it amplifies those feelings by 10,000.
According to Time magazine, on July 10, 2015, Gallup reported an astounding 81 percent of people keep their phones near them “almost all the time during waking hours” and 63 percent of respondents do so while asleep. In addition, one in five teens checks his or her phone every few minutes.
Everyone, this is bad. Really bad.
The bite of an Apple, the peek into a Window and the power of an Android have created this enormous fear none of us can seem to shake. Multiply this by social media, and we’re apparently missing out every minute.
However, there are opportunities in missing out, sometimes.
So, after daydreaming about these wonderful moments, I found myself wondering, “What if I was supposed to miss out?” You know, kind of like divine intervention or something. I really started to dig deep into this thought, and well, I believe I was supposed to.
I started to research icons and entities that “missed out” on opportunities, but ended up far better than before. I found two notable examples to illustrate this point: At one time, Yahoo was the world’s biggest search engine and offered to buy a young Google for roughly $3 billion. Yahoo was running the search engine game like no other and at that time, it would have been a not-so-smart business move to turn them down.
And what happened?
Google turned down the offer and watched as Yahoo continued to flourish in the late 90s to mid 2000s while Google “missed out.” But, as fate would have it, you see how that turned out right?
Another example is you, the reader: There was or is something you missed out on, and it’s eating you alive. But there could be a potential reason why you were supposed to miss out.
Here are two questions to ask yourself: 1) What have I been putting off that I should focus on? 2) How can I use this time in missing out to my advantage?
It’s no Dr. Phil, "I’m going to solve all of your problems in an hour” type fix, but it’s at least a start.
I use these examples to say, again, that sometimes #FOMO presents a unique opportunity to do something amazing you couldn’t have otherwise done.
No, this isn’t a coping mechanism by any means. But here’s a hard truth we all must face: No amount of social media, worry or fear could even come close to actually being in those moments.
So don’t stress yourself out about it. Understand that not every opportunity is for you and that’s completely okay. That’s what I didn’t realize until now.
I mean, after all, by not attending Comic Con or the music festivals or traveling abroad, I was able to discover my love for writing and building out ideas. I’m writing like crazy, partnering with like-minded individuals and launching out ideas slowly but surely.
I’m no Ernest Hemingway or Steve Jobs, but by “missing out,” I was able to learn far more about myself.
There is power in stillness, and though it can be uncomfortable, it’s needed to reassess your life and help take advantage of opportunities you may not have received otherwise.
So don't worry and instead, opt for #NOFOMO.