Dear Fear of Missing Out (FOMO),
At one time in my life, I felt the surge, the deep and difficult weight, of you constantly.
I remember feeling you when it was a Friday evening and I had no plans, and I felt lost and painfully alone.
I remember feeling you when I saw pictures on Facebook, posts on Instagram, Snapchats, of my friends doing wonderful things, looking happy, celebrating life, out at a bar or club late at night—pictures and posts and Snaps that are supposed to connect me even more with my circles and those in my life led me, more often than not, to feeling inadequate or lesser or lame or out-of-touch. I felt a constant stream of messages instructing me on what I ‘should’ be doing pour through my soul and tear at me profoundly.
I felt that if I were not out there too ― in those pictures and posts that document and memorialize our digital-era lives, that become our transparent journals of our feelings and actions, ‘how-to’ guides on living successfully and well ― that I would be forgotten.
I remember feeling like I was forgotten.
I remember feeling compelled to do things because of this fear of missing out, because of you, FOMO, and either doing them against my deeper urging or not doing them and feeling angst and regret later.
I suffered emotionally.
With time, however, I began to listen and learn and react to my body and to my mind. I began to make the changes that had been unsettling me for quite a while. I took the time to learn about myself.
Now, at a much happier and more comfortable place in my life, I look back on you, FOMO, with fondness. Our time together, though frustrating at many points, showed me who I thought I was, who I thought I should be, who I really want to be, and who I truly am. You helped bring me to a place where I have learned well where my time is best spent—to the things that bring me happiness. As always, I will be growing and changing, and I will be learning and reacting in response, but the progress I have made in understanding my currently greatest sources of happiness has helped tremendously— like those morning cups of coffee and homemade scones with a strikingly amazing companion. Thank you for showing me the beauty in a morning cup of coffee with a special person.
Or the feeling of sleeping often and sleeping well—sleeping when my body needs it.
Or learning to listen to my body in general. It knows what it wants and does not want, what it needs and does not need, and it does a great job of reminding and urging me to pay attention. With listening comes understanding and balance.
The feeling of waking up early on a weekend morning, when the world is still asleep and when I am rising with the rhythm of the sun and our spinning planet and feeling rested and mindful during that time.
The feeling of being in control of my day by being in control of my morning.
The feeling of running outside after I rise—hopping onto a trail that disappears into the lush trees—and beginning my day with an adventure.
The feeling of the crisp, untouched morning air in the Fall and the sound of the leaves; the morning trail in the Summer when the settling fog casts wonder far into the infinite distance.
The feeling of getting in my bed early, relaxing with a book and a small dessert, again, with someone by my side, and feeling wanted and loved and knowing that, even with nothing else in my life, I could still be happy as long as I could still have that beautiful moment every evening.
Prioritizing friends and family; feeling well, thinking, and dreaming.
The feeling of making time for priorities, spending my evenings learning to cook and loving every minute of it.
The feeling of losing myself deeply in music, and taking the time frequently to lose myself in song and word.
The feeling of being present in life.
Here I am, in a peaceful balance of things in my life, interweaving my personal passions and drives and beliefs. Here, I am writing and reading and running and loving, cherishing valuable time with all of these things, cherishing time with important people in my life. Here, I am happy.
Here, I feel you again, FOMO, for I fear finding myself in a place where I lack the blissful peace currently held in the things I cherish. I fear being in a place where I lack the energy I find in my mornings and evenings. I fear missing out on these important moments in my life that contribute so strongly to my well-being. I fear losing sight again of what makes me personally happy. But for now, I know where I am, and I am quite alright with it.