FOMO: the fun of not missing out
Let’s have a look back at the days before the crazy Coronavirus took over the world and locked us up in our homes. Remember your daily routine? Half the time you woke up with just a little too much headache from the night before to start your day enthusiastic, but with enough energy to come out of your bed. After 5 times snoozing your alarm clock, you got out, well done! Then, a whole day full of difficult choices was lying in front of you. The daily struggle of whether to have lunch with Peter or Jan. You haven't seen Peter for a while, but Jan will have more juicy stories to tell and you do like them juicy stories… And darn it, there is a disco party at the Steck where all your university friends will go to, but then again, the guy you like will be at a house party at the OD.
You know you would probably make the wrong decision because you always make the wrong decision. “Maybe I’m cursed with this wrong decision making?” you would think. But actually, no... It is everyone’s problem.
FOMO (fear of missing out) has become a common phenomenon of our society today. It is the fear of not have chosen the option that would have made you the happiest. In other words, FOMO can be described as the fear of making the wrong decision. In a society where it is all about getting the most experience out of life and being the happiest all the time, it is almost impossible to escape from this problem. Also, the rise of social media has not made it any easier. It has made it possible for us to see, no matter where we are, what others are doing with their day. It provides a constant influx of comparison material and we are just too curious not to look.
The obsession with finding optimal happiness increases the fear of missing things, because if you miss it, “you have not made the most of it”. Linked to this is that the more options we have, the more unhappy we are with the choices we have made (Barry Schwartz).
Now, it is true that some people experience this problem more than others. Those who suffer the most of this are probably the ones who want to make the very best out of everything and who are constantly looking for the maximum. Others can let it go more easily and are faster settled with supposedly less.
However, now that the people on our planet are suffering from the much worse illness covid-19, there is a change going on. Now with everyone sitting at home, not doing anything super special or unbelievably fun, we do not longer have to worry about ourselves missing out on something. Knowing that nobody else is spending his / her time better than you are, has given us some sort of peace and serenity. The only messages you see on Instagram or Snapchat are from your friends who have entertained themselves with making self-made pasta or have finally completed a puzzle.
Well…. good for them! That must have been so much fun.
You could say that FOMO does not exist in corona times, or at least to a much smaller degree and the best part is that most people are enjoying it! Of course, we all miss the parties and hanging out with friends, but never before in my life have I enjoyed walking around the park or city so much. Now when I walk through Delftse Hout I am not worrying about what others would be doing at that same moment. I am just walking, not thinking about anything, and just enjoying what I, myself, am doing.
It’s nice, I recommend it.
The awareness of the non-existence of FOMO during these times is not only present with me, but I hear it a lot around me. Friends and roommates who all hate the feeling that a small part of their student time is flushed down the toilet are also secretly enjoying the peace and the #healthylife.
It is interesting to consider whether the FOMO-problem will make a rocky return when corona is over or that the positive experiences of the present time will have made his impact in the future. So until that time comes, try to enjoy the so called ‘boring’ days of today and take this understanding with you in the upcoming years.