Do you ever wish there were more days in the week – or hours in a day? I often feel this way, as I try to fit everything I want to do into the time I have available. There’s work, household stuff, time with family, time with friends, not to mention “me” time like yoga and running. And then there are all of the events – the movies, concerts, rallies, exhibits, sporting events… Sometimes I despair that I will never do all of the things that I want to do. Good things keep passing me by because I can’t be everywhere, all of the time. Still, I keep trying to figure out how I can DO IT ALL!
The Urban Dictionary defines FOMO as “a state of mental or emotional strain caused by the fear of missing out.” I know that feeling. I feel it when I am doing one thing, while at the same time wondering if it would be better if I was doing another thing. I feel so distracted and anxious about the thing I am missing, that I don’t enjoy the thing I’m doing. FOMO almost always leads to a regret hangover. It feels something like this: “I wish I had gone out for a drink with the gang after work, instead of going to that movie with my friend. I couldn’t concentrate at all when I was the movie. I hope I didn’t miss anything my friends were talking about. I hope that I won’t be left out next time they go out together.”
FOMO is what makes my monkey mind screech and jump up and down. It disturbs the peace in my mind and in my heart, and makes everything feel like it’s not as much fun as it’s supposed to be. It has me checking Facebook compulsively, texting my friends to try to rearrange commitments to fit things in, and cancelling at the last minute, more often than I would like. Ug.
Have you heard about it? There’s a movement to turn FOMO on its ear: JOMO. Here’s a short blog article explaining JOMO – or the joy of missing out. JOMO is when we embrace hygge, which dictionary.com defines as “the feeling of coziness and contentment, evoked by simple comforts, as being wrapped in a blanket, having conversations with friends or family, enjoying food, etc.” So instead of trying to be everywhere, I can just stay home in my pajamas, eat macaroni and watch Netflix? Sweet!
When I think about JOMO, I think about how much I love my home. I remind myself that even though I am fairly extroverted, some introvert-time feels very very good. Maybe that’s why I find myself cancelling out on commitments – my inner extrovert is craving some hygge.
But wait, is there a way to find a balance? I want to be active, engaged, connected, and energetic. I want to live zestfully and have lots of experiences. I also want to rest and recharge. Can’t I have both?
What about: JOJI
In my efforts to do lots of things (because there are SO MANY good things) and also take the down time I need to recharge and refresh my heart and mind, I have come up with some ideas about how to join in, joyfully. Here are a few things I’ve been thinking about.
What’s Important to me?
If I figure out what’s really important to me now, and make sure I do that, the other things aren’t so terribly compelling, and I don’t mind so much if I can’t do them all. When I can get a good handle on my priorities, then it’s a lot easier to decide what I really need (and most often really want) to do. Sometimes I can figure this out on my own. Sometimes it’s helpful to talk with someone I know and trust. I have an easier time deciding when I am relaxed and not rushed – like in some hygge time.
Is a “half-portion” available?
Many things I want to do are not “all or nothing.” I can plan, on purpose, to join an activity partway through. The party is planned to be 4 hours long. I can plan to attend for just 2 hours, and know that I’m leaving myself space for some down time – to either not feel rushed to get there at the start, or not feel compelled to stay to the end. In most cases, this is completely acceptable. I’ve noticed that lots of people do it.
Is this my last chance?
Most things I would like to do will happen again if I don’t make it this time. That concert? They’ll be back. That movie? I can catch it later online. Best friend going up the Grouse Grind in the morning? He goes up 3 times a week. I’ll take a raincheck. It’s incredibly freeing to realise that opting out is ok. It’s not my last chance to do the good thing. I’ll do it next time.
One, two, or many?
Sometimes a crowd is good, sometimes solo or just two is better. Maybe I want to do something, just not with a lot of people. What if I go see that gallery exhibit all by myself? What if instead of the big family Sunday dinner, my partner and I pack a picnic and have Sunday dinner “a deux” at the beach?
Am I breathing?
When all else fails, just breathe. When I am feeling overwhelmed, indecisive, distracted and provoked, going back to breath can be a powerful inducement to calm and clear thinking. The FOMO funk is very often mitigated by an hour on my yoga mat, or even just a few minutes of quiet yoga breathing wherever I am.
I am not alone…
Knowing I am not the only one having trouble managing FOMO is a good feeling. When I talk to my friends, I discover that lots of people struggle with this, just like I do. We can share, laugh about it, and try to help each other let ourselves “off the hook,” to calm down and enjoy what we are doing.
Sometimes I find it – JOJI – defined, by me, as “the joy of joining in.” I can’t find JOJI in the Urban Dictionary or dictionary.com, so maybe it’s something I just discovered. But I don’t think so. You must know this feeling too, sometimes. When we choose thoughtfully, and remember self-care, we find ourselves going to do things we want to do, with a feeling of joy. We are not distracted or conflicted. We’re just doing the thing, and even if it’s not perfect, it’s good. We forget about anything else we might be doing, and just do the thing. It’s pretty cool.
I don’t think there’s an easy answer to finding the perfect happy balance every day of our lives. Some days though, it feels pretty good to pick one thing, and join in with joy. I hope that my thoughts and experiences are helpful to you. Let’s talk about it after yoga practice, over a cup of tea, before we snap on our shoes and run out the door to do the next thing that we don’t want to miss.