This week, I would like to talk to you about something that is near and dear to my heart and drives my husband absolutely bonkers. It’s called the Fear of Missing Out. As a child growing up in an area where Not Much Happens ™ and living 200 miles from Minneapolis, I, and many of my friends had this feeling on any given Saturday night that there was someone, somewhere that has having More Fun Than Us.
It’s a common feeling for kids living in the Midwest and anywhere that doesn’t have much going on. Occasionally an entrepreneur would open Something New that would either be infested with wankers or get “boring” after the 20th visit. Now, I am of the belief that boredom is a self-afflicted injury. Give me some paper and crayons and I’m happy for hours. But as a teenager I felt that non-school nights were for Doing Fun Things. This, gentle readers, (Mom!) did not mean getting shit-faced drunk at Frat Parties. I waited until college to do that.
Unfortunately, I carried this feeling into adulthood, much to my husband’s chagrin. Not the shitfaced drunk part, just the feeling of Missing Out. Living near a large city does not help matters as there is always something fun to in Portland like getting shot at by cops or becoming a fixture at the local wine bar. While my husband is content to sit at the computer for hours playing Civilization, I climb the walls if I don’t have Something To Do. Of course being the product of workaholics doesn’t help matters. But I digress.
With social media attaching itself to our hips and our friends posting status updates of the food they eat and fun they are having, that feeling of Missing Out has increased. I don’t have an iPhone and nor do I post on Facebook whenever I eat a cheese sandwich, but I do read the Facebook pages of people more accomplished than me and feel I should be Doing Something Important. While writing this blog post, I have checked my e-mail 4 times and Facebook more times than I should. In many ways constantly being connected and feeling like we’re Missing Out making us less likely to focus on what is really important. It’s also making us less resilient when change comes around.
What do I mean? Well, last week on A Closer Look Radio, speaker and business trainer Jeffrey Vankooten was on the show discussing many important topics including the fear of Missing Out. We constantly check our e-mail and Facebook pages and distract ourselves with TV and media when should be focusing on what’s important. How about those times you were presented with something truly fabulous and maybe a little scary and were afraid to grab it or say yes? So you went back to what was easy and comfortable. When my cat Lettie was alive, she would always run to her food bowl when she was scared or confused. We do the same.
Jeffery said that by running to our food bowl or checking e-mail when we should be focusing on what’s important is making us less resilient to change. Americans are some of the most stressed out people in the world because we can’t handle change. He gave a few suggestions to consider when life doesn’t go as we expect:
- Take time to think. Turn off your TV and detox yourself from internet and just think.
- Consider what’s really important and what changes you CAN make.
- Choose to accept chaos and that shit sometimes happens.
- Go with the flow and laugh. Yes, laugh. When I was in New Zealand my dad and I went on a short kayaking trip. At one point in the trip we had to paddle against the wind and current and it was hard. I was tired and frustrated and instead of getting mad, I laughed. It helped.
So in conclusion, Gentle Reader, the next time you are faced with the feeling someone is Having More Fun Than You, regroup and consider if they really are or if it’s just your perception.
Tune in next week when I discuss the various ways in which you can make you your own fun (and not get arrested) and mostly importantly, make your own content.