Okay, so I think I’m totally out of my comfort zone with this post. Mainly because I used the acronym FOMO in the title, and two because I’m about to discuss this acronym FOMO. I literally have no idea who I am anymore. But here goes, bare with me.
So I heard on the radio that the digital world we now live in is causing high levels of anxiety in people, predominantly teenagers. Our increased use of social media means people constantly feel like they are missing out or are going to miss out on an exciting or interesting event. This means people are apparently getting less sleep as they are constantly checking their social media outlets for updates on people’s lives. Adding to this, people are comparing their lives to the perceived lives of others on social media. This anxiety is called FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out. So my first thought to this was – get a grip! Then my second thought to this was – is this really a new thing? Haven’t humans always felt a bit like this? Isn’t this just a modern version of ‘keeping up with the Jones’? Is this anxiety just highlighted as we have so much access to the lives of those who are seemingly more fortunate?
Growing up (80’s child) I always felt like I was missing out on something big. I have no idea why, I just did. I always wanted to be out, I was always doing things, I had a ridiculous amount of hobbies but it still wasn’t enough. Perhaps I read too many copies of Smash Hits, J-17 and Bliss and longed for a more glamorous lifestyle than my small seaside village provided. I’m from a generation where as a young teenager you would go out to Youth Club or to a friend’s house and give your Mum and Dad one ring on the home phone to let them know you arrived safely. The introduction of THE WORLD WIDE WEB struck fear in to everybody, no one wanted to catch the Millenium Bug! I had visions of the world being hit with some deadly virus, I think this was why my auntie stocked up her garage with bottles of water and tins of food as we approached The New Millenium. Dad used to have to dial up the internet modem, those loooong moments used to make me nervous/excited, would this virus everyone is talking about strike today? The internet of course was incredibly slow and rendered pointless at the time. Such an anti-climax. And then all of a sudden we’re here. Access to everything at our finger tips. I’m sometimes annoyed with myself at how impatient I am when things don’t happen instantly now. What sort life are our children entering in to? This thought does scare me, but I know I shouldn’t be scared, I just need to roll with it, and write a blog post discussing FOMO, haha.
So, this got me thinking. Do I feel like I have a fear of missing out on things? I don’t think I do. I think I used to, when I was younger. Now I feel pretty content with what I have, what I’m yet to have and who I am. So maybe it is just an age thing. Maybe it’s just an insecurity we have when we’re young? I think I may have had a touch of FOMO when I was a new Mum. I suddenly had to dedicate my life to someone other than myself. Since the age of 18 I pretty much dictated the comings and goings of my life. Kind of. Suddenly I had a beautiful little girl in my arms whose needs would forever come before mine. So, there have been times when I had to decline a few invites to things I really wanted to go to as I knew it would be too difficult managing the logistics of it with a baby. Or just too expensive. Everything is so expensive these days. But all that is just life. I may have had a touch of SIMO (Sad I Missed Out – I just made that up, as you can tell) not really FOMO. But I got over it pretty quickly because I’m concentrating pretty hard on my own family unit. And for the most part, these days I kind of like having an empty diary, because life is so busy I just don’t want to complicate it even more. Sounds so boring but it’s true. I’m a working Mummy and when my diary is overloaded it kind of gives me the dreads. I’m pretty sure a more simplified life results in a more content life. I think if we concentrate more on ourselves and those close few around us, they’re what really matter. No need to feel like you’re missing out if your focus and attention is on those you love. I feel lucky that I was young enough and old enough to experience life without technology and life with. I love technology and I love social media but I do think there’s a time and a place for it. Sometimes you’ve just got to put your phone down, push your anxieties aside and concentrate on your own life. I realise that if you are a teenager or young person then this idea is probably not really going to ring true. Teenagers/young people have quite a lot to cope with anyway. I just hope they are old enough and wise enough to realise that social media is a very brief, edited snapshot of life. I know I’m naive in saying this but I hope that if they don’t recognise or understand this then they’re probably too young to be using it. Although, I have heard of kids as young as 6 having their own social media platforms. But I think I’ll park that whole new subject matter there!
Just some thoughts on the subject. Would love to know your thoughts on it? I really do believe in simplifying your life, this fast paced world needs to slow down ever so slightly. Or am I just showing signs of age?
Lea x x