FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out is a social anxiety characterized by a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing. FOMO is also defined as a fear of regret, which may lead to a compulsive concern that one may miss out an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, profitable investment or other satisfying events.
On a beautiful drive to Coorg The Husband pointed out a glorious setting sun to me. I grunted in response but didn’t look up from my phone, as I was busy texting my views on a conversation I was having in one of the many online groups I am part of. The Husband pointed out the sunset again, but I was still busy texting away. When I finally looked up, the look on his face was so disparaging that I actually cringed.
I kept my phone aside, for the time being.
My phone was back in my hand again after a while though. We drove the rest of the way in silence. When we reached our hotel all The Husband said was, ‘Think about what you are doing’.
Those simple words hurt deep, and made me think.
What was I doing?
I am connected to the online world for anything between 6-8 hours a day. If not the lap-top then the mobile phone aids in keeping me glued to Social Media. Being part of innumerable groups I can’t help being connected to the happenings there.
After the Husbands remark I started observing myself, clinically.
I feared that being away from the lap-top or the mobile I would miss out on an assignment, some important information, or being part of something worthwhile.
Then I studied myself for all of last month of being online.
What had a I gained from being online for 6-8 hours every single day? Nothing of importance.
Did what little I gained make any major impact in my life? No, it did not.
Though dark circles, a slight pain in the neck and eyes that hurt were the unwanted gifts I got.
At the same time, I also realised that what I was actually missing out was on living, life and small everyday moments that went unnoticed as I was caught in the whirlpool of the virtual world.
I realised I was FOMO inflicted.
My Fear Of Missing Out kept me glued to the virtual world. I was caught up in conversations that were inane, with people who themselves were ill-informed and shared wrong or half-baked information related to blogging. My writing suffered as I started concentrating on quantity instead of quality. That was when I decided I had had enough and I needed to make changes.
I took a critical look at my writing and decided to let go of what wasn’t working for me. The answers to the blogging related questions came to me through asking the right people and independent analysis. Then I started cutting down on my interactions in SM groups, and even exited a lot them. This didn’t go down too well, and I had people ganging up against me and passing snide comments at my ‘exclusivity’.
What difference did I see post these changes?
I enjoy the time I spend online, as I ration it. I am hoping to cut it down further. I now have right information. I have also realised that things, whether it is a writing assignment, some bit of knowledge or being part of something exciting, have found their way to me, irrespective of the fact that I may have not been online then.
I am concentrating more on Quality than on Quantity, be it writing or people. And I am beginning to feel much better already.
No more, FOMO!:)
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