OMG, FOMO is actually a thing IMO.
Or ‘Oh My God, Fear Of Missing Out is actually a thing In My Opinion’. I’m sure you knew that.
AO (Acronym Overkill)
These everyday chat acronyms are pretty annoying in general, a lazy bastardisation of our beautiful language. Especially when you don’t know what they mean. But occasionally, ‘FOMO’ being a good example, they form a word that, perhaps, should already exist. There are lots of examples of rather lovely concepts, for which we don’t have words but other languages do, right here.
So. ‘FOMO’ is ‘a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent’ according to Wikipedia, and ‘the fear that if you miss a party or event you will miss out on something great’ according to Urban Dictionary’s most thumbsed-up definition.
This, as a concept, is not entirely lost upon me. Particularly, as it happens, at just this time of year.
I try to manage my finances relatively sensibly, so that often limits the amount of ‘stuff’ that I can do. I also operate a pretty strict ‘earn and reward’ conscience policy (a sometimes-welcome-sometime-prohibitive trait inherited from my father) which means enjoying something I don’t think I deserve is near-impossible. I’ll socialise with friends once or twice a week, I’ll try to get a couple of short breaks in each year, I’ll go to a few gigs or football matches. But I won’t be out the evening of every day ending in ‘y’, booking three-week jaunts to far-flung destinations, following a band around Europe or buying a Spurs season ticket.
Oh no… it’s FOMO
But come summer, my FOMO kicks in. I think it’s something to do with being British. Our summer, when it comes (see ‘if it comes’ some years), is such a welcome relief that it feels like cause to celebrate. People have smiles on their faces. Everyone’s outside. Things are going on evenings and weekends. But beyond that, and most importantly, we know it isn’t here to stay for long. And so the Fear presents itself.
Anything from ‘nice evening – couple of pints after work?’ to ‘thinking of going to a festival in Serbia this weekend – shall I get you a ticket?’ is much more likely to be met with positive response. The initial ‘I probably shouldn’t’ still happens, but it’s wrestled to the ground and put in submission hold by ‘I won’t get the chance in a couple of months’ time…’. Budgets are blown, health gets elbowed to the back of the queue, sense averts its eyes. ‘I’ll save money in November’. ’I’ll sign up for a marathon next Spring and train all winter’. ’I need to do this. I’ll be miserable without it’.
FOMO fo’ life
Perhaps it’d all be different if I lived elsewhere – somewhere that enjoyed year-round sunshine and shorts and t-shirt temperatures. My FOMO might even itself out to fun-within-reason levels, whether it be January or July.
Or maybe I’m British and I’ll always be British and my summer FOMO is in me and I cannot ever shake it.
Last-minute Dublin break. £300 Ashes ticket from StubHub. Hangover on a Tuesday morning.
Beer garden lunch? See you there.