Katherine Pellegrino ’23
“Fear of Missing Out” is a term that has begun to plague our generation and it all stems from our need to make connections with others. People these days would rather respond to a text while driving, risking own lives and those of others, just for the chance to make a small amount of social connection. People scroll through Instagram feeds and Twitter streams during class out of fear that they just might miss something important. We, as humans, crave connection. We are in desperate need of people knowing us and fear more than anything being forgotten. Social media allows us to feed these cravings, but in a generation where seemingly we can be in constant contact with others, how could we still feel so alone?
With the increase in social media and advances in technology, we have forgotten what it’s like to really be alone. This fear of missing out (FOMO) feeling has only increased because of this.
Even when we try to disconnect, it consumes us so greatly that we connect one more time just to make sure we haven’t been completely forgotten. Our phones are used as a looking glass into the lives of the people we know, but are they really looking out for our best interests? What was created to allow people a better connection to the world has become a place of hatred and narcissism. These days there is a certain pressure to share our entire lives with the rest of the world. The only issue is that has become somewhat of a competition. No one really knows they’re in it, but that little ping of jealousy you feel as your friend gets more likes on a photo drives our need to be noticed even more. Although we spend hours editing and posting as if our lives depend on it, our profiles have become nothing like us. We essentially all catfish each other, and everyone knows it, but we still choose whether we like a person based on the amount of followers they have. We cover up our worries by stating that “this is just how the world is” and by trying to believe that it is how we are supposed to connect with others in this day and age.
But if this was really working, wouldn’t we have less insecurity in our relationships than more? Wouldn’t we be able to stay in one night without fearing for our social extinction the next day? What we choose to do to with ourselves everytime we disconnect or stay in is esentially physcological torture, to entertain figments of our worst imaginations. FOMO boils down to one thing: objectification. We see our lives as some sort of checklist, thinking that if we don’t check off the things we want to, our lives will be worthless. We need to stop looking at our lives through the lens of our camera filters. Nothing is perfect, and all of life’s greatest experiences come with costs. We are always missing out on something, and with every choice we make we give up the outcomes of the other possible choices. What we need to do is stop overthinking and start being okay with these choices.
There really is no way to fully rid ourselves of the suffering that comes with FOMO. But we can learn to manage it. We live on a planet with over seven billion people, we should rejoice in the moments we actually get to be alone. A break from the social pressures that have rooted themselves into our society is necessary for our own sanity. We must for a second forget our human need for attention and just simply switch the F in FOMO to a J, JOMO: joy of missing out. Because when we continue to stare at the lives of others and look on in our desperate need for more, we forget that it’s our own lives were missing out on.