Yesterday evening as I surfed the internet, this article about the joys of staying in rather than going out popped up on my screen. The woman in this piece describes how many people attend gatherings and parties because of the fear that they might be missing out on some “important” something (more commonly called FOMO). Part of this phenomena is related to social media and the assumption that based on other’s tweets, Facebook pictures, and statuses that, of course, your friends and acquaintances are having more fun than you. She concluded that at many of these “in” gatherings, she felt awkward and anxious, rather than uplifted. Ultimately she made a choice that she preferred staying home.
One particular line resonated with me in the piece. Susie Pearl, happiness expert, proclaimed that the author’s need to stay in may center around “being honest about who and what is truly important to you.” When you focus your thinking on that statement, a shift occurs. A few years ago, pangs of feeling left out might have hit me if I caught mutual friends getting together without me or if I found out others were catching dinner and my name failed to make the cut. I probably took some of those non-invites personally, but more because I suffered from the “fear of missing out” or hurt because I thought being left out indicated some deficiency in me. These days not being included is unimportant. I enjoy staying in. I look forward to reading a book on my ever-growing list or writing in the comforts of my office. Some weekend nights, my husband, daughter, and I grab a bite to eat and then catch a movie at home. I am still a very social creature. There are times when I enjoy going out, but it is on my terms and with people whose company that I enjoy.
Perhaps my angst in not being included is thawed because I am claiming and understanding who and what means more to me. I’ve identified those that are part of my inner village and the interests that I truly want to pursue. When those elements rise to the surface, this undercurrent of missing out sinks to the bottom. You understand that there is a true joy in missing out.