1. a feeling of anxiety or insecurity over the possibility of missing out on something, as an event or an opportunity:
If I say no to a party invitation, I get a bad case of FOMO.
I’d come to believe my FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out, was a modern day invention, appearing much later in life.
When I delved into its depths, I was surprised to discover it had began casting its roots in my physche in my early childhood.
Being the youngest of four, the only girl and an age gap of seven years between the youngest of my older brothers and me, meant they were always doing way cooler things than me, or so I believed and I was continually left with a severe dose of FOMO.
Determined, I’d try and follow on foot, usually the youngest of the three. I can even recall being so desperate to hang out with him I wouldn’t turn home when I needed to go to the toilet. I lost him, after I had to go home to change my knickers.
There was another time too when after days, most likely weeks, of begging him to dink me on his bike, the day he said yes, I had no shoes on. FOMO set in big time and I promised him I’d keep my feet out wide. Of course I didn’t and dad had to come home to take me to hospital to have my partially removed toe sewn back on.
That’s how bad my FOMO was, at such a tender age.
I’d nag and nag to go out with the middle of my older brothers. He always seemed to be doing cool things with his friends. Playing cards for money. Hanging out at the pool. Playing footy. Heading out to the pub. Off on camping adventures, on and on it went. “Please, please can I come?”
As for my eldest brother, I’d plead and plead to let me tag along with him. He had the coolest cars, the corvette, four wheel drives, let alone the Harley’s. He was the head honcho. As much as it scared the crap out of me, ok, not quite (I didn’t need to change my knickers), the fear of being on the back of a motorbike with him, was less than the thought of the dreaded FOMO altogether.
This was all of course after school or on the weekends as with the age gap, I went through school on my own. It was kind of strange really. Being a part of a family, yet feeling like an only child at times too. Watching other siblings interacting at school, yep you guessed it, a wash with FOMO. Not that I could do anything about that one!
Oh how I wanted to be like them, my big brothers. I’d sit for hours watching them tinker with their cars, motorbikes, push bikes, model airplanes and matchbox cars back in the day. When they weren’t home I’d sneak out a bicycle and attempt to ride it around the back yard, which was a stretch for my legs at the best of times and I’d certainly come off a cropper or two. I’d even get brave at times and take it out the front. I wanted to ride a bike like my brothers did.
I don’t know how many days I would’ve spent watching them paddle along the various rivers at practice or in races. When I was old enough I wanted to paddle just like them. Unfortunately that never happened as when I was finally at an age to start paddling on my own, they’d all had enough. That was a major FOMO that eventuated.
I would even sneak there clothes out of there rooms or from the clean wash pile to wear them out, thinking I looked cooler than cool in my brothers newly purchased white wind-cheater or my oldest brothers navy and white zipped jacket with USA on the back, that he got somehow, I think, when he competed in the Junior World Championships for paddling.
I had no sisters.
As I kept getting older, as too did they, they weren’t around so much, or had already moved out and I’d project more of my FOMO onto my friends, then boyfriends and later my husband.
What was that, I didn’t hear, say it again, even if they weren’t talking to me.
Where we going? Even if I wasn’t invited.
I spread myself amongst as many friendship groups and clicks at school as I possibly could, I’m sure now too in hindsight, so I stay informed as much as I could, FOMO.
I had to be in on everything, in one way or another. I was the class clown, the drama queen, the loose cannon, the best friend, the good listener, the sound advisor, the trend maker, the leader, the follower, the rebel, the wagger, the victim and at times too, the bully.
As I grew older still, I transferred this on to social scenes, work places (although far and few), personal development workshops, my kids, their schooling and adventures, their milestones etc, for you never now what you might pick up or miss out on.
Online, offline, groups, teams and volunteering.
When depression cast its dark shadow upon me, there was a different kind of FOMO and when I discovered my husband was cheating on me and with men. That was a mother of all FOMO’s! My happily ever after shattered to smithereens (or so I’d believed).
I’m sure my decisions to do things were made by FOMO more often than they were not, if at all. Not much else went into consideration. Oh, apart from fear. That’s another topic to blog about later. Although, FOMO is the Fear Of Missing Out, so yes fear was in the mix as well (slaps hand to forehead).
You’d think with such a strong sense of FOMO, there wouldn’t be much I’d miss. Your thinking would be incorrect. I’d miss out on heaps, for one reason or another and it frustrated the hell out of me.
Now, not so much. FOMO doesn’t have the same hold over me it once did. If an opportunity comes my way, I can asses whether I’m interested in it or not or have the energy to engage, rather than going purely for FOMO.
I live more often than not in it being – it is what it is.
Light, dark, happy, sad and so forth.
If I turn down an awesome opportunity, for whatever reason, so be it.
I may initially feel disappointment, not FOMO anymore.
I’m not exactly sure when this shift took place.
Perhaps it’s when I could love myself completely as I am.
Content with my own company.
Connected to life again.
Perhaps it’s when my energy stores became so thoroughly depleted, I was too tired to care anymore.
FYI, the above stories about my brothers, they were from my perspective and told here as examples of my FOMO. They would also invite me out with them, without me having asked them.
Do you suffer from FOMO?
Do you know at what age FOMO began for you?
Is FOMO on the rise since the introduction of social media?