I wish with all my heart that I could confidently say missing out on activities with friends is all no big. But the fact of the matter is that it is NOT no big deal, and it can actually be a pretty big deal sometimes, especially inside my head. The whole thought process behind FOMO (fear of missing out) is pretty obvious. Your friends, your boyfriend, your family, whomever, is doing something that you would absolutely want to be involved in, but for some reason or another, you’re not. Cue the fear and anxiety. So in a world full of social media posts showing cool Instagram pics all day, every day, of all the fun events you’re missing out on, I’m here to admit the struggle is real.
One of the biggest things I’ve realized about myself and anxiousness from missing out on things, is that it didn’t stop in college, and it didn’t stop when I got a full-time job or when I got married. It’s still here! I think part of it stems from always wanting to be in the mix. I’ve never been one to really want to be on my own for too long and I love to be surrounded by people. Don’t get me wrong, the occasional alone time is great for the soul, but in my free time, I usually prefer being active and with all my peeps.
So what happens when you become a super busy, mid-twenties career-focused married woman? Less free time and less social time! In the last few years, I have become more involved with non-profit organizations, work, my husband obviously, so I’ve, by default, had to miss out on some things. And let me tell you, I didn’t find it any easier to drop the FOMO feelings. It’s super hard when I spend Monday – Friday working like a dog and absolutely live for the weekends. And it’s especially hard when life has brought about more non-friend-party-driven commitments and reasons to have to say no.
It probably goes without even saying that the advancements of social media have made my self-admitted FOMO even more apparent. When I was younger, it was all through AIM chats and away messages, and unfortunately as I’ve gotten older it’s evolved into an abundance of social media platforms aiding to my anxiety. If I have to miss out on something, I don’t just know it in the back of my head, I see it constantly. Social media makes it very easy for others to humble brag their way to the top of the Facebook news feed and here I am again worrying about what everyone else is doing and kicking myself for having to miss it (even when the reason I’m missing it is for something great!)
Through growing up, getting busier and yet realizing it’s still hard to miss out on things, I’ve come to learn that this type of anxiousness doesn’t move on with age. I don’t think it’s a flaw in my personality, but just part of who I am. The FOMO I unfortunately struggle with may not ever go away, and I think I’m OK with that. I love my friends and I love being a part of all the fun activities that come with great BFFs. So it’s just a fact of life for me that I’m not going to enjoy missing out.
There are silver linings in everything, and even this. I’ve become a better planner and when I want to be involved in certain things, I force myself to be the one who steps up to make that happen. Gone are the days of waiting for my friends to make all the plans, and then freak out when they plan something on a night or weekend where I have to miss out. Now I can be the one starting the group texts. Because when it comes down to it, and knowing my anxious tendencies, it’s just not worth worrying a day or night away, or at least understanding that FOMO might just be here to stay.
(Image via FX)