Have you ever been in a situation where you are doing something but wondering if there were something better you could be doing? Even if you are having a good time, there may have been another option for the night or friends who had invited you elsewhere when you already had plans. And now you are thinking about whether you would be having a better time somewhere else. Maybe you have had difficulty making a decision about something because there were too many options, especially too many options that looked interesting. No matter the situation, the issue is the same: FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out.
FOMO is a serious issue of our generation. It complicates decision making, drains people of their happiness, makes commitment more difficult, and overall takes away from being in the present moment. My husband can have a bad case of FOMO. He often struggles when making decisions about things to do, places to go, and food to eat. My dog even has FOMO. If there is something going on, she will force her eyes to stay open because she does not want to miss out on anything.
If I'm being honest with you, FOMO even strikes me some times. Typically, I am very decisive and once I have made a decision I do not think about what could have been. However, most recently FOMO has hit me hard when it comes to travel. You may know that I am currently living abroad. Myself, my husband, and our dog lived and worked on a farm in Italy for the last four months and we are now beginning a month of travel throughout Europe.
Notice that I said Europe, not a specific country. The reason is because it was way too difficult to decide. We have narrowed it down to four countries over the course of the month and that was hard enough to do. Thoughts came into my mind when I was planning like “what about Greece, it's practically right there...so is England, and I have always wanted to go to Czech Republic!” This is in addition to the places we have already planned to go.
I had to stop and give myself a reality check. First, I told myself what an ungrateful thought that is. As if a month long vacation is not enough, I am upset that I may not be able to go to all the places I want right now? I told myself I'm being unrealistic and then I acknowledged that FOMO is real. I reminded myself that I must be happy with the choices I have made. Greece, England, Czech Republic and everywhere else will be there for another trip. Another time.
That is the difficulty with FOMO. It gives the illusion that we have to do everything right now. And if it is not done right now, we will be missing out forever. It is true, that concert that you could not attend because you had a birthday dinner planned will not happen again. But that dinner party might be amazing. This is where FOMO hurts the most. It allows us to think that what we are doing is not the best and that there is something better happening. When in reality, you might be having a damn good time where you are at.
So here is my cure for FOMO: be present. Remind yourself that whatever you are doing, whoever you are with, whatever you are eating is because you made that choice. Gain confidence in your choices by reminding yourself that you are a wise person who has thought things through and has made the best possible choice out of a million possible choices. Also, sometimes we need a gentle reminder that we can only be one place at a time. We are not omnipresent and do not have an infinite amount of hours in the day to do every single thing possible. Chances are what you are doing in the moment is pretty great! Remind yourself of that and allow yourself to enjoy this moment because just like all the other things you could be doing, this moment only happens once.