The Young Adult’s Guide to FOMO

Did you just graduate? Move away? Start a new job that requires you to work more and socialize less? Do you have any type of social media imaginable such as snapchat, instagram, or facebook? Did you answer yes to at least one or more of these questions? Well then do I have the WORD for you!!! It’s called FOMO, and you probably have it.

I hope you just read that previous paragraph like an late night medication commercial, because you have a DISEASE!  It’s called FOMO and it occurs in 1 of every 1 people in America.  (or at least with social media, this is a guesstimate, I don’t know.) FOMO or “fomo” as the kids call it, stands for “Fear Of Missing Out” and it occurs whenever someone else is doing something that you are not.

I’ve written about fomo before while I was studying abroad in Spain during undergrad. You miss your friends, your life, the food, the language, the fun of being home… but let’s be honest what did I care!? I WAS IN SPAIN.

Now I’m in gradschool and realizing it’s a whole lot of the stress of undergrad but none of the fun. It certainly doesn’t help that it’s Back 2 School season and I am a proud owner of an iphone that is slowly ruining my life. Everyday I wake up at 8am and go to class for at least 6 hours and watch as my undergrad friends attend fun social events (parties, tailgates, bbqs, etc.) and my working friends go make money (real adult jobs that seem fulfilling and go on vacations with said money) and my coupley friends do romantic things (like go on fun dates, and get engaged, and married, and have kids and *not really jealous of the last one but I’m just saying I could definitely get down with a bachelorette weekend) and on and on and on.

It seems like there’s always SOMEONE on SOMETHING doing WHATEVER it is that you are not. What can I say? We are a selfish, egotistical, attention crazed product of our generation… but here’s how you can prevent fomo from spreading in your local area.

Option 1: PUT THE PHONE DOWN.

This appears obvious, but honestly is a lot easier said than done. If you are one of those people who couldn’t care less about what others are up to, THEN GOOD FOR YOU! (Why are you reading this?)

BUT… if you’re like ME and spend a good portion of your day waiting around for things like the bus, or class, or you’re bored at work or whatever your reason, here’s some coping methods.

Option 2: TALK YOURSELF DOWN

If I’m being completely honest with you, I find myself getting fomo over the most random things. Sometimes, it’s even things that I don’t necessarily LIKE. When I catch myself doing this, I need to make an active effort to remind myself that I am causing unnecessary suffering to my psyche. If you are an overthinking enthusiast / avid worry wart / anxiety ridden human being like myself, sometimes the fomo can creep in the most unexpected places. To get rid of it, I need to make a list of reasons why what I am feeling is unnecessary. NOTICE, I said “unnecessary” not “wrong”. 

You as a human on this Earth are entitled to whatever feeling you might be feeling at any given moment of any day. It’s important to notice that feeling, validate that feeling, and then deal with it in a healthy way. I do this, by making lists.

Now sometimes, I can get by with only making the list in my head. Other times, I need to go out of my way to either write it down somewhere, (in my phone, on paper, a text, whatever) or just say it outloud.

Here’s a personal example:

Last week I had been home alone all day and was all in my feels because my undergrad friends were at the first home football game (D1 Go Utes!) of the year. Anyone would be a little bit bummed about that, right? Well, sure. But the thing is… I don’t even like football. I barely went to the games! Most of the time I would go to the tailgates and leave. Or, get to the game late. Or go to the game, eat some fries, and then leave. I hated standing for hours, not being able to see, getting pushed around, elbowed in the head… the whole ordeal just wasn’t my jam. But now, I’m on the verge of tears because my friends look like they’re having a blast. I made my list, put my phone down, and moved on to option 3.

Option 3: DISTRACT!

The next thing I do when wrangling the fomo monster is DISTRACT DISTRACT DISTRACT. This one is pretty straight forward. My advice is to put on a tv show or movie that requires A LOT of attention. A thirty minute episode of “Friends” that you can basically quote isn’t going to cut it here. YOU NEED DEPTH! YOU NEED SUSPENSE! Something along the lines of “How to Get Away With Murder”, “Game of Thrones”, “House”, or literally ANYTHING you haven’t seen before. (Yes, step away from the Mean Girls.) If you must watch a feel good flick, do yourself a favor and pick one you haven’t seen yet.

Or you could do something productive… like cleaning, or homework, or whatever.

OPTION 4: FACE THE FOMO

There are bound to be times where you just can’t hide it. Whatever it is that’s got you feeling down, it’s okay to just admit it. Are your friends hanging out without you? ASK THEM TO HANGOUT! Wishing you could travel? START PLANNING! Do you miss your undergrad game day festivities? TRY TO GET YOURSELF THERE!

Sometimes, that isn’t an option. When this happens I suggest you do the opposite of Option 1 and try Option 5 instead.

OPTION 5: PICK UP THE PHONE AND SOS

Guess what, everyone gets fomo and if someone tells you they don’t THEY’RE LYING. (or a psychopath.. I don’t know your friends though so no judgement). It’s okay to be feeling a little down and completely understandable to miss a giant part of your life. When I’m really feeling fomo from my home friends hanging out without me, I CALL THEM. I catch up. I let them know how much I miss them (and sometimes they miss me too, which is cool). Really wish you were at game day? Call someone who was and hear about the festivities! Bummed you can’t make it home for Thanksgiving? Facetime at dinner! Technology (i.e. the invention of the telephone) has made it so easy to get these virtual experience. Take advantage of that data plan and call (or text) your people!

Fomo sucks, but as Smokey the bear once said… “EVEN YOU CAN PREVENT FOMO FIRES” or something.

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