Microblog Mondays: What’s Your FOMO?

I have been reading (and enjoying) Morra Aarons-Mele’s Hiding in the Bathroom: An Introvert’s Roadmap to Getting Out There (When You’d Rather Stay Home), which I heard about from Mel (thanks, Mel!); it’s given me a lot to think about, and helped me understand why I find it so difficult to think about leaving academia (spoiler alert: I’m not only an introvert but also a hermit and academia, at least in the humanities, is great for hermits).

Early in the book, she writes about the positive side of FOMO (pages 29-31), writing that “once you get in touch with your FOMO, it can be a powerful diagnostic tool” and “like a sore muscle or overused tendon, excessive FOMO is also a sign that a behavior has to change”. If you are always feeling FOMO about the same things, that can be a signal about what you feel is lacking in your own life.

This point really struck home with me, because I know exactly where I experience FOMO. I might get a twinge of it now and again if someone has gone on a particularly exotic vacation or spent a lot of time at a cottage or gone out for a weekend of eating at nice restaurants and watching live theatre, but those moments of FOMO are fleeting: I don’t really want to be that person doing those things. I wish I could do those things too, but I’m content with the current phase of my life and I can see that those things don’t easily align with that phase (read: raising small children). I’m even less likely to experience FOMO with career-related news (which is the kind of FOMO Aarons-Mele is discussing) because I’m not ambitious in that regard (even though I often feel guilty that this is true).

When does my FOMO strike?

  1. When people take better photographs than I do (especially of their kids and/or landscapes)
  2. When people announce they’re publishing a book (especially bloggers who started blogging after I did [not that I ever thought this blog would lead to a book- it’s more that they were able to find a blogging niche that eventually opened the door to a book]).

It’s not rocket science to see the changes I need to make to triumph over my FOMO.

For photography:

  1. Take more pictures
  2. Switch from AV to Manual mode and start shooting in RAW
  3. Read my camera’s manual to figure out what I don’t yet know how to do
  4. Learn how to edit my pictures using Lightroom
  5. Possibly take some sort of online course if I’m still not seeing the results I want

For writing:

  1. Write more
  2. Set aside dedicated time for writing each day/week
  3. Edit my work if I finish something
  4. Actually submit my work somewhere so it might have the opportunity to see the light of day

Seeing the steps forward is always easy for me. Actually taking those steps is often another story.

Do you experience FOMO? Is it fleeting or is your mind trying to tell you something?

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.


Filed under A (Good) Day's Work, Anxiety Overload, Microblog Mondays, Writing

5 responses to “Microblog Mondays: What’s Your FOMO?

  1. Hmm. I don’t know if I have FOMO per se. Or at least most of it is stuff I can’t do anything more about (*cough* infertility *cough*). I do have major FOMO about raising kids much younger than my friends’ kids but yeah, not much else I can do about that..
    There’s a lot of things that I wouldn’t mind being better at (photography, cooking, blogging). But like you most of those are fleeting moments.

  2. Mel

    Isn’t the book so good? I’m glad you’re getting stuff out of it, too.

    You know, the FOMO part I really struggled with because I think I’m like you — I see something and have a fleeting “oh it would be nice to have that, too” — but I don’t feel lingering jealousy. I guess my FOMO is seeing people connected and doing things but I have lost touch. Like noticing two people have stayed in touch on Facebook, whereas I’m only friends with one of them and allowed the other to drift away. I guess it’s FOMO for friendship skills?

  3. Yes, I have FOMO. Not so much in ambition terms either, though I used to suffer from it when I was younger as I realised that to succeed in my business/area I would have to become a person I didn’t really want to be.

    My FOMO is that I haven’t taken advantage of the last ten years to get a business going that will allow me to travel at the same time, and to do more writing (like you). I think I need to read that book.

    And yes to all your photography points. I bought my first interchangeable lens camera a year ago. I’ve been excited to move from auto mode to AV, but like you want to move to Manual and RAW. I need to do a course. Especially as someone has asked me to take portraits of their daughters when they visit in a few months. Argh! (Though I think Av will be okay for that).

  4. Turia

    @Mali- I am sure you could take beautiful portraits in Av mode! My photos improved enormously when I switched from using the kit lens to using a dedicated portrait lens and started shooting in Av mode, back in 2013. They’re still getting better, but I feel like I’m plateauing to some degree.

    @Mel- I get friendship FOMO too, mostly when I feel like everyone else has good friendships and I don’t. But I can’t say I’d take Facebook as a good indicator of friendships, especially if the people “connected” each have 700 friends.

    @countingpinklines- having kids out of step with your friends’ kids is one of the hidden costs of infertility that I feel people don’t talk much about (because we’re supposed to be so grateful and happy (which we are!) that we ended up with kids). But, like you said, it’s not something that you can control.

  5. FOMO…for me is centered around not having been able to add to our family when we wanted to. I want my son to experience having siblings, and never wanted him to be almost 7 and still an only child. No matter what we do now, he’ll never have a sibling close in age, and I hate that. I don’t really care to ever be pregnant, but seeing other people adopt when we’ve been unsuccessful is hard to watch.
    And I have to agree with commenters above with friend issues. I have good friends, but none that I am BEST friends with. I need a bestie. I guess moving around for so many years made that difficult, and I feel like everyone else already has a best friend and they’re not looking to expand their circles beyond acquaintance level.

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