The other night I found myself feeling so upset about the fact that I couldn’t find anyone go to a local carnival with me. Everyone I asked was either busy, had already gone, or was studying for AP exams (which I probably should be doing more of). Even though my last two carnival experiences were rather crappy (the first time I was so sick and just in the worst mindset, and the second time my phone almost broke and my friend and I almost died of nausea), I still love the carnival. From the scary rides and greasy food, to the Ferris Wheel and bright lights, the carnival aesthetic is so exciting. All I wanted was to experience all of it with good company and without getting sick.
The thing is, I didn’t even know the carnival was in town until I saw a girl from school post a picture of herself in front of those bright lights. The other thing is, I was so happy until I saw that picture. The other, other thing is, I was ready to buckle down and study for AP’s the whole weekend, and I honestly wasn’t too mad about it, until I saw that picture. The other, other, other thing is, I really love carnivals, but I didn’t want to force someone who I’m barely friends with to come with me simply out of FOMO (fear of missing out). If I had never seen that picture, I would’ve been completely content with the way my weekend was going. But alas, FOMO struck.
For those who don’t know, FOMO is not usually an actual disease. It’s literally just the sadness and worry that if you don’t experience the same thing everyone around you is experiencing, you’re missing out on something wonderful. Most people feel this at one point or another, some more than others, and it’s completely normal. In my opinion, it’s such a first world problem. I was sitting with my awesome family in my favorite buffet when I saw that picture. I am so lucky in so many ways, yet seeing that one thing that I was missing out on just brought my mood down so much. Less privileged people would beg to be in my shoes, and I’m fully aware of that. I’m insanely grateful that this is what ruined my Friday night, and that it wasn’t something far worse. Nonetheless, that feeling sucks.
Social media obviously contributes to this feeling a lot since it’s literally a tool for bragging about your experiences. Unless you’re willing to give social media up for good, you’re bound to see that picture from a party you weren’t invited to and feel at least a little bothered. It’s human nature.
FOMO often hits people hard in respect to relationships. Not to get too deep in the feels, but for months now, I have been so happy about being single. I genuinely was fine with being on my own, a feeling I never thought I would feel. Then, a couple of my girls started getting boyfriends. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy for them. These girls truly deserve all the love in the world, but I started feeling so jealous and questioning why I wasn’t having that romantic, spring love story. It’s like that scene from “Friends” where Monica and Chandler start dating, and Rachel and Phoebe are discussing how happy they are for the new couple. They start by saying they’re 99% happy and only 1% jealous, but those numbers flip by the end of the episode. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ir6vIaCdVJU . Anyways, feeling like I’m missing out on those butterflies is not a fun feeling. But whenever I get sad about it, I remind myself that 1. I’ll find those butterflies again one day, and more importantly, 2. I used to be content without a relationship, so it’s not the romantic in me that wants that relationship, it’s the FOMO. I am slowly realizing that this paragraph is cheesier than the Bagel Bites I’m eating right now, so I’ll wrap this post up.
Staying in the present and enjoying what you’re doing is not easy when FOMO strikes. I wish I could give you all a good way to handle the feeling, but I really can’t advise anything other than this: 1. Put the phone away during your nights in 2. Reflect and ask yourself if you’re really sad about not being somewhere, or if you’re just worried you’re missing out on something 3. Be thankful for the fact that you even have FOMO, because chances are, you’re really lucky that your biggest problem is not being at that party. As clichė as it sounds, be where your feet are. If you try to be mindful and enjoy the moment you are in, the FOMO won’t hit you as hard, I promise.