If you have spent any amount of time online, you have probably seen somebody mention FOMO… Fear Of Missing Out. It’s that terrible, nagging instinct that if you don’t check your Twitter or Instagram, you are going to miss something. Something important. Something big. Something that everybody else already knows about…but why don’t you? You had better change that, and hop on your phone.
Oh what, nothing there? Just a bunch of banal opinions and/or anger and/or excitement? That is how it usually is.
Recently, I saw somebody mention JOMO … the Joy Of Missing Out. The utter elation of not scrolling through your timeline, of not seeing a text within seconds of it being sent to you, of having no idea what people in Washington are arguing about today.
How often do you intentionally stay away from a computer, a television and even your phone? I’m not judging, I’m asking. Sometimes I feel like the chief of digital information, like the survival of the world depends on me knowing every detail about everything at all times. It’s self-imposed to a point, but also subconscious quite often. A lot of times you know you are being manipulated into consuming more information. If you have ever heard something like, “you’ll never believe what happened next. We’ll let you know, right after the break”, you know almost immediately that it’s a ploy to keep you on the channel, but you allow it to take ahold of you, and you wonder, “maybe this time it really is important! I had better not miss it.” We love to be lulled into distraction to take us away from…well, a lot of other things.
Today I did yard work without my phone, without a Sonos blasting music my way, without anything electronic near me. How did I manage? I listened to the birds. I noticed the breeze. I wondered what the people across the neighborhood were doing when I heard the wood chipper (besides the obvious chipping of wood). I did this for hours. I missed every single thing that happened on Twitter today, and do you know how I feel about that? Joy. I feel joy that I have completely missed out. The paradox is, of course, that I didn’t miss out. I took it all in, I absorbed all that nature had to share with me. If I had my phone with me, if I saw what people on Twitter were talking about, well then yes…I would have missed out.
It turns out that missing out is actually an opportunity to miss nothing.