I seem to be big on abbreviations lately, but I thought since I spoke of the motto YOLO last week I would touch on another term that is common in pop culture today, FOMO. For those who don’t know, FOMO is a type of social anxiety and it stands for “FEAR OF MISSING OUT”. Those who are close to me all know that FOMO is my middle name (insert sticking tongue out at my sister Allison here). I always hate to miss out on things whether it’s a family get together, a road trip with friends or even donut day at work. I like to be in on everything, know all the information, and experience all the fun. It’s silly that such a simple thing such as missing donuts at work could make me feel so left out, but to some degree it does. So when I had told myself I could never study abroad, I felt that feeling of FOMO. What would I miss out on if I never went? I didn’t have the typical university experience of meeting great friends and doing fun activities because I was too sick and depressed to go out or meet people. So I always thought if I went abroad for a semester that would be my chance. Fit the whole four year university experience into six months and have the time of my life, but, (as you now have learned), back then I convinced myself no. However that fear of missing out pushed me to go outside my comfort soon and go, because what would I miss if I didn’t?
So that’s great, I’m not missing out on going abroad. But now….when I go to Sweden, what will I miss out on at home!?? FOMO is inescapable it seems. I’ll miss out on family events, seeing my dog do cute things and even social gatherings with friends. I’m worried to miss out on all those good things, the comforts of home. But I’m also worried about missing the bad things; break ups between friends, someone close to me possibly getting injured or even someone close to me potentially passing away. I know I can’t come home easily if something bad happens, and I don’t know how I would handle it. But I have told myself if I want to have this experience, it is something I have to deal with. I have to prepare myself and realize that everything will work out eventually; all I have to do is have faith.
So yes FOMO is everywhere, I know everyone has experienced it to some degree so it makes me feel better about myself. But isn’t it human nature for us to want to experience all we can experience? We want to seek out those potential opportunities because it can lead us to amazing things. We apply to go away for university to learn new things, to meet new friends and to find ourselves so that we can become the person we are. If we missed out on that experience, would we have met our husbands, wives or life-long best friends? Would we have learned from our mistakes, worked hard to achieve our goals, or have gotten that amazing career? Missing out on opportunities that are right in front of you could mean you’re missing out on what your future can offer you. So yes FOMO can be irritating, but I think it shapes us to become the person we are. I would rather have FOMO than miss out on things, because it could mean you’re missing out on life, and I want to experience everything life has to offer. So thank you, FOMO, for always being there. You are the only anxiety I never want to go away.