“How do you deal with FOMO?” My friend asked me via Instagram the other night. It got me thinking how and, more importantly, ‘if’ I deal with the fear of missing out?
One thing is certain, I feel FOMO less now than ever before. Why is this? Well, I don’t want to produce a cop-out answer and say it gets easier with age – I’m sure there are other factors too.
I grew up in a busy household, under one roof: my mum, my dad, two dogs and four kids (including yours truly). I was happy spending time on my own (I’d play with Barbie dolls for hours) but even if the rest of the family didn’t want me around I could still have human interaction with them: barging into their room, singing in their faces and turning over the TV.
At least if we were arguing we weren’t feeling lonely, right?
By the time I left home for uni and the haven of student accommodation, I was ready to live with f.r.i.e.n.d.s (I’m spelling it like that because that’s how I thought it would be). I had visions of flat dinners, flat nights out and flat nights in. Of course, real-life was different: housemates would stay in their room, spend time with other people and eat out (the communal kitchen was too dirty to cook in).
Ok, so I know what you’re thinking: ‘nice trip down memory lane here Linds, but where does the FOMO come into it?’ Well, this was back in 2010, when social media hadn’t crept into our lives quite how it has today, but I still felt like my experiences didn’t match up to those I thought other people were having.
I’ve had a part-time job since I was 14-years-old, not the same job, but the same unsociable hours. I was the one who had to work in the morning – the one who shouldn’t be dancing the night away, but my FOMO was so bad I would be tapping my feet and nodding my head ’till the sun came up. Too many times did I turn up to work without any sleep.
Even in full-time employment, I was the colleague out all weekend, I was at all the events and I was the one handing out the verbal invites to the pub. I loved socialising.
Fast forward a couple of years, I’ve learnt nothing good happens after 4..actually midnight. OK,10 pm. I just end up chasing the night, talking drunk nonsense and guaranteeing the hangover from Hades the next day.
The summer just gone, some of my favourite friends all went to Edinburgh together, I couldn’t go because of a work commitment (of course) and I was so disappointed. I thought I’d have to throw my phone away whilst they were there and any pics of them on social media together, laughing in kilts and eating haggis, would tear my heart out, but it didn’t. I was sad, yeah, but I wasn’t distraught, my world didn’t fall apart and no one stopped being friends with me because I couldn’t make the trip.
Part of my old FOMO was down to trying to make sure people liked me – if I was there then I couldn’t be the topic of conversation. In hindsight, this probably came from bad experiences in school, as we know, girls can be cruel. Now I’m less of a people pleaser, if someone doesn’t like me because I didn’t go to the party then that’s their issue, not mine.
As it stands, I’m more settled and more comfortable (God forbid) than ever before; I’m really happy in my relationship and I like my job (most of the time) so I don’t get as much of an urge to go out and get smashed, I’m not looking for validation from the opposite sex, I’m not trying to get over a difficult working week and I’m not on the hunt for Mr Right.
More importantly, though, missing out doesn’t feel like missing out anymore. I have a sense of ‘been there done that’. I’ve had a million nights out and an equal number of mornings after. This could seem like I’m being patronising, or I’m boring, but I’m not and as for the latter, I just don’t care.
Of course, occasionally, there is a twinge of FOMO when I see people out, living their best life, but deep down I know it’s not always all that and there will be times when I’m swinging from the chandelier and they’re at home with the dishes.
Getting over FOMO is about trusting yourself, knowing you’re in the right place at the right time and having confidence in your decisions, even if those decisions are just sitting at home watching Made in Chelsea with a cup of tea. I wonder if Jamie Laing will ever find ‘the one’?
So I guess FOMO isn’t cured by age, but by being comfortable with yourself and where you’re life is heading. Which in my experience, came with getting older.