Sometimes it can seem as if there aren’t enough hours in the day. How are you supposed to do everything you want to do in the span of 24-short-hours, especially when you’re forced to block out some of those hours for sleep?
I have some extremely active and social friends who are always sharing the fun things that they’re doing. I look at their social media feeds and see how they’re fully-booked with parties, bar-hopping, working out with goats, and keeping up with all the cultural events that intrigue them. Leaving a party early is practically impossible for them, and if they don’t see every single thing on their itinerary when they’re traveling, they feel cheated.
They have FOMO or the Fear of Missing Out. I used to be like them. I would double-book social engagements (and on occasion still do,) which involved having drinks in the early evening with one group of friends, and then afterward, having dinner with another--it was stressful.
Since many of my friends are in the arts, I was constantly going to shows, art-openings, and book-events to show my support; partially in hopes that my friends would return the favor and go to some of my performances, but also because I felt guilty if I didn’t go.
I couldn’t take the chance that if I turned down one invitation, I’d ever be invited to anything else again, or if I left early I wouldn’t miss something..
The trouble was I was getting burnt out from doing too much.
Do you know what happens when your calendar is overly full? You become exhausted to the point where it can affect you in other areas of your life. You’re late for everything and careless with your work. You don’t take care of yourself, and you’re barely present when you’re hanging out with your friends because you feel tired and irritable.
No matter how much energy you have, you’re still human and at some point, something's gotta give. What I’m saying is if you’re worried that you might not get the full experience of life if you don’t do everything, and you overextend yourself on the reg, it’s going to catch up with you.
Life needs to be a balance and that even includes the stuff you enjoy. So, in order for me to stop feeling as if I was only half awake, I had to make a change.
New Me New JOMO
I had to alter my mindset from FOMO to JOMO aka the Joy of Missing Out.
I decided that I didn’t have to do everything to have a good life. And, if I missed out on things that was okay. I was practicing self-care, not being antisocial, when I turned down an invitation or two It made the things that I said yes to feel special. I could enjoy them without feeling overwhelmed.
The first thing I did was to cut back on the time I spent on attention-stealers, so I limited the time I spent on the computer, my tablet, and my smartphone. It’s too easy for me to get sucked into the Internet rabbit-hole (Hello Prince videos on YouTube,)so I had to release some of the power the electronic screens had over me.
I carefully considered the events and gatherings I was invited to. Did I really want to spend a night getting wasted at a pop-up bar? Probably not. I tried to cut back on group events in favor of one-on-one coffee dates. I had real conversations with my friends without having to yell over the D.J.’s mix and I gave them my full attention.
I practiced gratitude and was especially grateful for the small moments such as spending time with my boyfriend and our cats. When you appreciate what you have, you don’t need to constantly chase fulfillment—you’ve got it already.
I slowed down—not necessarily physically speaking, I just took my time with things, and didn’t rush. My productivity improved and my overall performance at work got remarkably better.
Life is busy no matter what, so sometimes, and I gave myself permission to do nothing and be lazy if that’s what I needed.
When we so caught up in not missing anything, we end up leaving things out like independence, and spontaneity. If you’re overscheduled with too many commitments; you close yourself off to other opportunities and things that can unexpectedly come up like last-minute concert tickets or seeing a friend who is only in town for a few hours.
JOMO might seem odd at first, especially when you see all the things your friends are doing—but you’re not really missing out on them, you’ve only redirected your energies. I’m not saying to alienate all your friends, become a hermit, or become housebound, just to limit your activities. Make time your own, not something that you’re always manipulating to try and squeeze everything in.
In the end, you’ll discover that your small quiet moments are much more satisfying than partying every night and feeling hungover the next day and that it’s infinitely better to choose joy rather than fear.