I’ve always considered myself rather inquisitive for the average person. I like to ask a lot questions and get to the root of things. I’m always on a quest to find something knew to know about the world around me and the people I come in contact with.I never seem to get all the answers to my questions, and I leave conversations with a thirst for more knowledge.
In other words, I’m really nosy.
At first I just accepted the fact that I like to be in other people’s business and that’s just the way I was. I mean, yeah being nosy can be kind of an annoying trait, but that’s not so terrible. However, recently I have been doing a lot of research on social interaction as I try to build community on my floor and in my hall, and I stumbled upon something that I didn’t know I had been struggling with until I acknowledged what it was. Ladies and gents. I have been living with FoMO.
So, what is FoMO? I swear it’s not a word I just made up, in fact it’s actually an acronym for Fear of Missing Out.
Fear of missing out or FoMO is “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”. This social angst is characterized by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing”. FoMO is also defined as a fear of regret, which may lead to a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, profitable investment or other satisfying event.In other words, FoMO perpetuates the fear that we have made the wrong decision on how to spend our time, as “you can imagine how things could be different”
Now, I know that I can’t really diagnose myself with any condition, because I’m not certified or anything. But FoMO isn’t something that is a constant, many people experience it and there will be times where I feel perfectly fine and other times not so much. Everyone wants to fit in, it’s human nature, basic survival skills. So don’t feel bad about it, but don’t lose yourself trying to fit into something that won’t help you grow as a person.
My first conscious memory of feeling like an outsider was probably in middle school. I remember the Razor phone coming out and begging my parents to get me one, or any phone for that matter. I remember thinking that if I could just get that phone, then all of a sudden I would be invited to all the great social events and hangouts that everyone was obviously having without me. I wanted to be in the crowd, regardless of what it would cost me. As long as I was in the middle of things, then I was okay and I was worth something as a person.
As time went on, the feeling that I was on the fringes only intensified. It’s not like I didn’t have friends, it was that they were better friends with other people. I would always feel like I was a loose appendage, weakly attached to the whole but easily disposable. The urge to just be invited to the party (knowing fully well that I wasn’t even going to go) was something that I felt would provide me with the ultimate stamp of approval from my peers. If I could just be in the thick of things, and be present then I would enjoy my experience and be a part of the memory making process.
The social media boom didn’t help me much either. All of a sudden re-tweeting, re-vining, snapping, posting, following and liking were all over the place. Now not only was I not there, I could see what I was missing. I could see my peers hanging out and wonder if the test I was studying for was really worth missing out on the events that was going on. It just felt like everyone was having so much more fun without me and that I was missing out on something.
Because time means so much to me, I want to spend my time on things that I value such as people, and building great relationships, and experiencing life. Sometimes I just want to rip my life at its seams and take off on a wonderful adventure. Then I remember that 1. I’m not Bilbo and Gandalf didn’t knock on my door and 2. I have future goals that require a lot of time investment now, and I don’t want to sacrifice then for now.
This all simmers down to one of my biggest fears, and that is to live an insignificant life. I’m afraid that when I look back at my life and how I lived, I’ll only have a pile of what-ifs and regrets, or that the chances I took didn’t pay off or that I didn’t take enough chances to begin with. I’m afraid that I’ll die and have nothing to show for my life and my time spent on Earth.