I’ve been deliberately ‘missing out’ for years.
I love it,
It definitely brings me joy.
Absolutely no FOMO over here.
But is there?
As that ‘Fear of missing out’ became JOMO, I totally embraced it. I’m a hypocrite obviously, I mean I still want to be asked, invited or included, but will I be attending?
I’m no spring chicken and I have embraced my old-ladiness wholeheartedly. I was probably always a ‘young fogey’ anyway. Tea and slippers are always top of my ‘to do’
But lately, on those rare occasions that I actually venture out into natural light, I am definitely getting a strong whiff of ‘I should do this MORE’
My comfort zone is ‘in’
Am I an introvert or a party pooper? I don’t think so - but as I embrace the cliched onset of middle age from the confines of my sofa, the idea of doing anything I really don’t want or need to do simply isn’t an option. You see I’ve done ‘it all’ - no doubt not compared to many others I’m sure, but for me, I’m done with unnecessary late nights, over consumption (or any consumption at all) and I know my ‘best life’ is lived out of potentially boring conversations, traffic jams and shouting over speakers.
Writer Anil Dash came up with the phrase JOMO in 2012 - it’s definitely more than a decade for me, even if undefined. Dash wrote:
"There can be, and should be, a blissful, serene enjoyment in knowing, and celebrating, that there are folks out there having the time of their life at something that you might have loved to, but are simply skipping,”
Take Glastonbury - as a student, when it’s likely I could have attended any year I chose, I simply didn’t want to. Sure, my now Emmy award winning housemate swore by it, but I’m pretty sure her A-List hanging experience would have been very different to mine, if I wasn’t a plus one. These days, I love it - it’s a summer highlight, only the BBC have made it such a ‘stay at home’ experience for us all, I actually don’t think I want to attend in person anymore - not unless I can procure myself a private, sofa bedecked box with a prime view, and a helicopter to a local boutique hotel every night for the weekend. I love to see everyone there having the time of their lives, whilst I brew a cuppa and enjoy flicking through the stages via the telly.
Don’t forget, most things are never, ever as good as they appear on social media. Similarly, have you ever booked a holiday, event or attraction based on someone else's review? You know, total strangers you have probably got zero in common with? All those absolute ‘must do’ recommendations - then, when you witness them yourself you wish you hadn’t bothered? Again - too old and ‘round the block’ for that
It’s gotten to the point that I specifically do not want to go anywhere. Seriously, absolutely nowhere. Do I go to places? Yes. Do I fuss and worry about it all before I get there, also yes. Do I enjoy myself when I get there? Always.
So I’m starting to think that too much JOMO is not necessarily a good thing. I trust myself, so anything I choose to or agree to attend is calculated. And I’m enjoying doing things on my ‘own’ terms. A band I have wanted to see live for aeons was very local this summer, like 20 minutes away. The gig was scheduled after a day of horse racing - something I have zero interest in at all - so we turned up just before the show started, managed to find parking right near the exit, had a ball and was home via the drive thru by 10pm. Absolutely perfect.
And it’s enough to fill my homebody's middle aged cup. But it was a reminder.
Whilst I’m living my best JOMO life with my super strict boundaries in place, I do need to actually do more things more often, and this night out reinforced that - As much as I adored her, for no reason apart from severe antisocial tendencies, my Nanna basically never left the house, yet needed to hear all the gossip and goings on in minute detail. I’m pretty sure it’s hereditary (along with the love of slippers and 3 brews an hour)
Embracing JOMO is an easy pill to swallow, especially after the ‘lockdown years’ - anything that becomes a habit after so long practiced stays with us. I remember as a new, first time Mum looking longingly at the clock every Saturday afternoon, desperate to have somewhere to go or be, really, really feeling the FOMO of a 23 year old whose friends spent every weekend exactly as you would expect them to. And now? Invite me out on a Saturday night? I’m not saying I wouldn’t come, but I would certainly spend a fortnight stressing about it, and dreading it before getting there and having a great time.
In modern life though, the list of ‘places to be’ is literally endless. Choice fatigue is real, and with an ability to live vicariously through your social media feeds, not bothering at all is a very attractive option - are you really missing out on anything?
That said, a life without social interaction is no life at all - and I mean, IRL - not ‘digitally’ - maybe we need to embrace the joy of just being without fear - whether that means missing out or going all in - our choices, made just with us in mind.