Thursday, October 3, 2013

FoMO: Strategies to overcome it

Ever since I was little, I have had a serious, legitimate fear of missing out (FoMO).  It permeated everything I did.  Going to bed was hard because I was sad I'd miss out on parents' or siblings' conversations or activities. Having to choose between two sports that practiced on the same days was brutal because what if the one I didn't pick ended up going to the championships? And I recall many a Scout camp that was cut short because I talked my parents into picking me up and bringing me to the family reunion that was the same weekend. And even now, I make the rounds every New Year's Eve and then stop at the best party for midnight (in theory at least). Hell, I can't even order food at a restaurant, because what if I like my (male) date's food better?

I've always been one to try it all and then pick the best at the end, and when all the options aren't available to me, I get nervous and panicky. I hate having to choose, having to miss out on one thing in favor of doing another.

The same thing applies to navigating the rift between my faith and my sexuality.  What if I choose gay and then get to the end of the line and find that I made the wrong choice and will then have to miss out on Celestial glory with my Heavenly Father, the one who is supposed to be able to love me most perfectly?  On the other hand, what if I choose the church and then get to the end and find that God wanted me to be happy as long as I was good and kind, and therefore have missed out on a lifetime of joy with a man who I loved?

Tonight I was confronted with my FoMO pretty rashly.  I missed out on an intern event because I had to work later than expected, and of course, my car doesn't run so I couldn't meet them up later.  So instead, I went home and logged onto Facebook (which is like steroids for the FoMO virus) and saw another group of interns I wish I was friends with at some cool restaurant here in Dallas.  So, for the first time I googled "fear of missing out" and found a raft of resources to help people stop fearing.

The first thing I have learned to do (and will start implementing ASAP) is to stop. Just stop.

I'm fond of passing this video on to my friends when I want them to stop doing something.  It's always a joke, but damn! Bob Newhart's advice is good! I can't deny, it fits here too.

So the next time I'm fearing I'm missing out, I'm going to stop. I'm going to evaluate myself, my surroundings, and find out if I should really be regretting that I'm not somewhere else.  Tonight, I sure as hell would rather be at the state fair or some restaurant with people I'd like to make friends with, but on the upside, I get to be at home alone and to blast some really sad music and indulge my misery and really enjoy it.  There's something enjoyable about misery...

This article quotes Emily Dickinson, the agoraphobic depressive recluse, when she says, "To live is so startling that it hardly leaves time for anything else."  And dammit, she's right.  I'm alone tonight. BFD.  I'm alive and I have some good music playing and I have a drink in my hand and the air conditioning is blowing cool breezes through my hair and I'm gonna go to bed early and sleep really, really well.  And tomorrow, I'm gonna get up early, walk to work alone, and enjoy the hell out of my life.

Bam. Fuck you, FoMO.


  1. Well done for trying to improve yourself, GMP. Sometimes when you're having a 'fuck my life' moment it's easy to get caught up in it all, but I find from personal experience I get cheered up by the smallest things that makes me realise my life isn't as awful as I first though. You're a good guy, hope you know it.

  2. Love you, kid. You're great and you deserve to feel great.

    Love, you know who. (Not Voldemort.)

  3. Thanks for this. I didn't even know Fear of Missing Out was a "thing" and even has its own abbreviation!

    It made me realize that one of my high school friends was a definite contender for FoMO. If we ever carpooled to a movie or dinner, she'd always request to be taken home last. She was afraid that the remaining friends in the car after being dropped off would talk about her, whether it be positive or negative. We thought at first she was joking, but it made her uncomfortable, so we always respected her wishes. Reading this post made me think back to her. She's overcome all this and would probably laugh if I brought it up with her. So yes, it's all temporary and you'll get over it!

    Keep enjoying life.

  4. This is just great. I was crying about an hour ago and feeling like my life was the worst, but I'ma gonna STOP IT! Thanks for an uplift in an otherwise shitty night!


Be nice, mmmmkay? I allow anonymous comments, but not anonymous (or even attributed) douchebaggery. The Gay Mormon Pioneer's tolerance for hate and venom are incredibly low, but his love of communication and debate are high, so have an opinion, but be kind and gentle when you share it.

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