Abundance Versus FOMO

I passed by a sign that said, “JOMO” (aka Joy of Missing Out). It was a play off the FOMO (aka Fear of Missing Out) phenomenon that has permeated our culture.

It was a relief to see.

As someone who has never experienced FOMO, I felt enlivened that another acronym was redefining our relationship with “doing.” FOMO is not only about missing a great concert with friends while you were at home sick or working. That’s how it’s experienced in our modern parlance. But it runs deeper as the idea that if something is good or interesting or innovative or amazing, it should be experienced. Innocuous comments like, “You HAVE to try this” persist this idea. If you don’t experience it, it’s viewed as a loss, rather than a neutral.

It’s why many resist making substantial changes to their diet even when it would improve their health (and health of the planet). So many times I’ve heard, “I can’t live without cheese,” or bacon, or ice cream. You easily can. It’s okay if you choose not to, but it’s not a loss. Also, how much do you need to love food? Over centuries, food has increased in its accessibility, variety, and it’s preparation more delicious. We can enjoy these perks of modern living while not assuming that just because it’s available we should experience it.

Beyond food, anything on the “you’ve go to try this” list or that you’ve envied on the internet, isn’t “missing out.” There are incalculable incredible possible experiences. We know we can’t have them all. But on an item by item basis, the disappointment is felt and creates a pull at us. Anything we want or want to do that we don’t feels like a loss of something, even if small. These pinches of loss add up.

So many people struggle with feeling busy because of this. They feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Even when they acknowledge their gratitude and an ownership over the choices they made, there’s a feeling of loss and not enough of what they want and too much of what they don’t.

Here’s the crazy thing: It’s entirely constructed in their mind. It is not based on a true reality of their life. If they ceased doing more things than they had time to do (the amount more that made them feel busy), then they would not be busy.

We all have “busy times” that pop up. Too many unexpected external factors aligning at the same time or an unlikely conflation of multiple problems. Sometimes we find ourselves in these hotspots, but we can experience them and let them pass. Having a minimalist lifestyle helps during these times. We’re less likely to fall behind and get overwhelmed when we have things in order and priorities straight. We know we will return to a more peaceful pace.

What defines busy anyhow? Doing more things than what you want to do? Or is it doing more of the things you don’t like to do to the extent that you don’t feel you have time to do the things that you would like to do? Resist framing your life as busy. You have this choice. It’s all perspective.

Consider instead a full or fulfilling life. Do less of what you don’t want to do. Be more accepting of the things you feel you need to do, become more efficient, and don’t become resentful of them. Instead of ruminating about all of the things you would like to do if you had more time: (ex. taking a kickboxing class, spending more time with friends, learning a new language, exercising more, whatever it is), consider this a list of abundance that you can choose from and see it as exciting that you have such a wonderful menu from which to choose.

The abundance mindset often is conflated with the idea that if you want something it will come. If you are just positive enough, the “universe” will hear you. It may. But true joy does not rely on external factors. Joy comes from within.

Taken further, making a decision to do away with something you love or think you would love is the joy of missing out. It’s a practice in not letting your desires control you. Undoing urges is an act of strength and putting things into perspective. Admire abundance in the world without so much emphasis on what you’re missing and more on what you have. This is the pleasure that minimalism holds.

Creating a minimalist lifestyle designs the circumstances for a fulfilling life. It may take an investment of your time and energy now to go through your things, and organize your home and calendar, and mostly, your mindset. But you’re likely not too busy to do it. Take time now for far more time savings later.

It’s time to enjoy JOMO.

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