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FOMO Who?! 💅
Dealing with it, subverting it, and learning to defeat it.
Hello and happy Wednesday, my Dearest Twenty-Somethings! This week, let’s talk about the ever powerful fear of missing out—FOMO—that our generation knows so well. I asked you all how you deal with it, and you delivered.
It happens to the best of us. Pre-pandemic, arguably even more so. When we were all collectively told to stay inside, not see our friends or family, and stay away from any and all other humans, it put the jealousy on hold. There were no parties on Instagram stories nor friends hanging without inviting you—or at least if they were, most of them were smart enough not to put it on social media.
But when there was a glimmer of hope that this past summer would be the hot vaxxed girl summer we hoped it would be, the familiar sense of FOMO was suddenly alive and well. We were stir crazy and itching to leave our shoebox-sized apartments, and finally we could. Your vaccinated friends were out getting chilled beverages and dance floors in some parts of the country were full! Whether it’s jealousy or having to choose between conflicting responsibilities, us young folk never want to be left out. Maybe it was the participation trophies we collected in our youth, or perhaps it’s the fact that we have 24-hour surveillance of what everyone else is doing via social media. We want to be included and, even more so, we don’t want to be forgotten.
But maybe all it takes to kill our longing to be out and about is really just a good old-fashioned reframe. I adopted a kitty cat last week and suddenly the only place I want to be is home. As we get older and we become more content with our lives and who we are, will our FOMO naturally dissipate? Only time will tell. What I do know is this: Comparison is the thief of joy, and the Game of Life is won by not keeping score. (Hope my Dad appreciates that one.)
I also know that gratitude is key to happiness. Shame and vulnerability researcher and author Brené Brown’s studies on resilience found that in 11,000 pieces of data, joy was inextricably linked to gratitude in happy individuals (if you’re a self-help lover, read her book Gifts of Imperfection!). So maybe it isn’t about what you have or what you’re doing, but the appreciation you have for what’s in front of you.
Anywho, it’s always refreshing to put things into perspective. Life is what you make of it, and only you can squeeze every drop out of this life. Alternatively, if you succumb to the bitter bite of FOMO each time you’re invited out, you will experience burnout. Get some sleep. Enjoy the little things. Take care of yourself. But enough from me! Here’s what all of you lovely folks told me about how you deal with the fear that plagues us all:
I tell myself there’s no way I can possibly make it to everything and still be taking care of myself. I’m a huge extrovert so I pride myself on saying YES to everything I can, but it’s unrealistic. My worst FOMO comes from moments where I have to choose to prioritize something boring and responsible (ex. friends are going to a concert but I need to save money or work or stick with a prior commitment). I find relief in knowing I can’t control it. FOMO is natural and I can’t escape it. All I can do is control how I react when I’m missing out.
My advice: Turn off social media notifications. If you don’t see all your friends having a fabulous time out to drinks after work, you won’t beat yourself up about it as much. You may hear about it and still feel residual FOMO, but you’ll find more comfort without notifications reminding you. Also, if your FOMO is based in being excluded, remember the golden rule: Treat others how you want to be treated. Remember all the times you wanted to hang out with just one or two individuals and didn’t think about larger repercussions. You still cared about everyone else that may have been “missing out.” Your love for them wasn’t diminished and it’s safe to assume the same for them!
I don't have FOMO anymore because if I'm not there, I know it's not going to be fun, so I'm not missing out. If I am being excluded, then the excluders are people not worth my presence.
I moved back home six months ago after being away for five years. Since then, all my friends from the area have also moved and I’ve had a lot of FOMO when I see friends from college or high school growing their lives in new places, experiencing new things and making new friends. I’m like, “Did I make the right choice moving home?” And I think I did, but it’s easy to forget that when comparing where I thought I’d be to where I am. But I’ve taken the time to start new and old hobbies again (gardening, embroidery, pottery) and also building upon the relationships I have around me (working on a podcast with my grandparents, hanging out with family I missed). I’ve also tried to use Instagram less and really only use social media for work. I also love planning what I’m going to do in the future! It doesn’t hurt to take some inspo from people you see doing the things you want to do.
I submerge myself in other things, movies, activities, and keep myself occupied as best I can. STAY OFF MY PHONE! Friends getting together while you’re home doing nothing hurts the most. Especially when you didn’t get an invite. I’ve learned to understand that I can’t go to everything and not let it impact me as much as it used to.
By the way, I’ve been listening to this playlist, made by one of my favorite Instagram nail artists. With that, here are a few picks to get you through the week:
Netflix’s Clickbait - Imagine Black Mirror and The Undoing had a dark, twisted, violent baby—and it was in Oakland! It also stars Adrian Grenier. Need I say more?
HBO Max’s The Inventor - Nothing captures a zennial’s attention like a tale of fraud, deception, and wealth. This doc gives a great background of the accusations against Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes in her criminal trial, which is now underway.
Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building - Can a murder show be cute? Apparently, yes!
Cheeky Palm - Another cute artist with affirmations, doodles, and inspirational quotes galore!
Dry Clean Only Magazine - This is a great art, culture, fashion, music, you name it, mag. Enjoy!
“Late Summer” by Carrie Fountain
Out for a walk tonight,
the dog is throwing all her weight
against the leash, lunging toward
the fat tomcat
licking his black ankles
with a delicious, solemn attention
at the top of the neighbor’s steps.
Because this is what the dog
was made to do.
Because for some lucky animals
the space between the body
and what it wants
is all there is.
Affirmation of the week: It’s never too late to be what you might’ve been.
Question of the week: What do you most look forward to about getting older?
Thank you all for taking your time to read this week’s newsletter! I’m always looking to improve my work, so leave a comment, send me a message, or fill out this form to tell me about what you want to read about in upcoming Dear Twenty-Somethings! I’m all ears. Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads or online if you feel so inclined. And check out last week’s newsletter here in case you missed it.
If you liked what you read, send this newsletter to a friend! Heck, send it to 10 friends! Sending love and light to you, wherever you are. 🌟
Cheers & happy Wednesday! Stay well.
xoxoxo, Quinnie <3