Thank god TBEX (Travel Blogging Exchange) is over. Seriously. I don’t think I could handle anymore overrun twitter feeds or lengthy facebook status’ with comments about the food, the sights, the new friends made, the networking opportunities, the inspiring talk attended etc etc…And you know why I’m glad its over? Because I wasn’t there. Not because i wasn’t one hundred percent interested in every update or fascinated by everyone’s experiences. It is because I wasn’t there and I so badly wished that I was. My FOMO was at a maximum and it wasn’t good…
I find it quite hard to control my FOMO at times. While I am no longer the undergraduate student who would force herself out every night of the week to different parties JUST IN CASE I missed something gossip worthy- it still dominates a great deal of my actions. I feel much more confident and secure in myself as I have gotten older, the FOMO subsiding slightly, however the influx of social media in my life and the predominance of it in my generation has certainly not helped matters. Whether its viewing that new relationship blooming, that fantastic holiday abroad, that scrumptious meal eaten or that successful career burgeoning, everyone seems to jump at the chance to share all the good times on social media.
Even as a successful, confident person who is happy with your life and all that entails, it is hard to not feel envious while on your lunch break (which you eat, in my case, in a freezing cold creepy basement) you see a facebook/twitter update in which your friends tell the world they are happily relaxing on a sunny Spanish beach. Or you are relaxing on a sunny Spanish beach and your facebook/twitter friend posts an update of how they just received an promotion at work/got cast in that show/got published in a magazine and are so happy with how their career is going- its hard not to feel like a waste of space.
I believe Social Media has contributed to us all feeling inadequate, competitive and unsatisfied- at least at some point in all of our lives since its world wide domination. Yes we might feel like this regardless but having a distant friend, whom you otherwise might not communicate with, post an update of how they’ve just gotten engaged isn’t quite the thing you want to hear while trying to deal with the post break up blues. While yes, social media connects us all in wonderful ways and allows opportunities we never dreamt of, the fact still remains that for our mental health sometimes it is the last thing we need.
I made a choice earlier this year to leave my life in Dublin and move back to my hometown of Vancouver. It has been a hard decision to say the least, adjusting back to a place I haven’t lived in over 7 years. I desperately miss Dublin and all my friends and family still there. It makes my heart ache when I see updates of them over social media going for pints or having family dinners- I want to go back. My FOMO shoots through the roof. But it was the same when I was living there! I would see my friends in Vancouver all going out birthdays, beach days, ski trips and I would feel sad that I was not there and was missing out on prime moments with crazy friends. Sometimes it feels like I will never be happy or that I am not missing out on something, no matter where I am in this world.
But you know what- this is true! There is always something amazing (as well as horrifying) going on in this world that you are not present for. Deal with it! Don’t be so hard on yourself! You are only one person and can only be in one place at one time- hopefully the place of your choosing and your preference. If you are in that place- don’t complain. It’s alright to miss somewhere and somebody but you can’t let it control your thoughts and energy- it will only drain and depress you. Focus on where you are and the amazing times you are having there. Focus on what you feel you are lacking in your current life, that you so desperately feel you are missing out on elsewhere, and work on filling that gap. Think about how many times someone else has looked at YOUR FOMO inducing updates!
Life is not perfect. No matter where you are. Whatever you are doing with your life someone else is doing it better and someone else is doing something you wish you were doing. I believe/hope getting older helps with FOMO and promotes a deeper sense of confident, acceptance and peace in your life. At least I damn well hope so! So I will allow myself to indulge my FOMO at times going forward- after all the fear of missing out sure pushes me to do some pretty crazy things once in a while! For the most part though, when I feel it creeping into my thoughts, I am going to take a deep breath and give thanks for everything I love in my life. Gratitude is key. Practice it every day. Never forget that and good luck to all of you out there with your own FOMO!
How do you handle it?