The FOMO Epidemic

Fear of Missing Out? Sometime we just need to slow down to truly see the things that matter most.

I have had the privilege of meeting diversely culturedfb people over the years. Therefore, it’s only natural that my Facebook account would have diverse stories from all over the world.  The same applies to my other social media platforms like Instagram where is see pictures of friends on vacations in exotic locations like Argentina whilst my Snappers send greetings from their corners of the world like Japan.  Although the intentions of such media platforms are in good faith, they also happen to be the source of the ongoing FOMO epidemic. Of which I am a victim.

The FOMO syndrome – for those not aware, the simple acronym spells out ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ aka FOMO as understood by the urban dictionary – is a psychological anxiety that if you miss a party or an event you will miss out on something great hence you try keeping up with the times (oops, not the Kardashians). In the end, this is harmful.

fomo friendsThere is nothing detrimental about having an eventful social life hopping from one party to another especially in our youth (it is the time). However, it becomes dangerous when you’re always up late, always intoxicated, but especially for those who can’t afford such a lifestyle. The unfortunate truth is that in this world some are privileged without compare while others are simply not. Yet again, there’s nothing that haunts you more like the thing you didn’t buy, a person you didn’t see, or a trip with friends that you did not partake. Can you relate?

At a tender age, my grandmother (from whom I take my name) was hospitalized. Upon my visit, it was dreadful to see her in such dire condition. I promised to visit her again as soon as possible. A few days later she passed on. I never got to fulfill my promise and I missed out on the last moments with a person who loved me unconditionally. The regret and guilt ate me up. Regrets can lead to depression but acting on fear never leads to happiness. Then why constrain and chain yourself to such a social construction? Why not be the opposite? Why not cultivate an attitude of self-reliance without feeling lonely?

Friends having a BBQ with drinks.If you ask a dear friend of mine to describe herself, she believes she has a calm personality. Nonetheless, everyone around her is prone to say that she has a vibrant nature. Now here is a girl with a refreshing social life, nothing is ever tedious. After a week on long nights and short naps, my advice was to take it easy. Unhesitant she agreed to a weekend of binge watching and movie marathons. Saturday morning began with a hoot. Let it be noted though, that all this time her hands were not far from her constantly  vibrating phone. Before noon struck, she stood up and started getting dressed. Did I miss something?

I’m aware my perplexed expression needed not any explanation. She simple began “there’s a barbecue over X’s place. So get up, get dressed cause we can’t miss out.” At that moment I made nothing of it. But there are simply some individuals that are incapable of staying indoors especially when the weekend begins on a Thursday. That’s all well and good, but is it all worth it when you constantly have to worry about fueling your car, don’t forget the social expenditure and the research paper that is due beginning of the week. From experience, the FOMO syndrome is statsdefinitely not good for the pockets.

The experiences and memories gained from such social interactions are cherished, there’s no disagreement. Sometimes though, you have just got to slow down and see the things that matter most. My personal guilty pleasure is star-gazing. I enjoy the climb up to the roof at home, laying down a blanket with my iPod and just staring at the stars while my mind wanders aimlessly. I take pleasure in the serenity that nature offers. Social media may have encouraged this FOMO epidemic. But fear not, take this as an opportunity to experience, make mistakes and learn. After all it’s a rite of passage to adulthood (as puberty is the rite of passage to maturity).

A Fateful Encounter

What is the purpose of fate if we shape our own destiny?

This is not a ‘happy-ending’ kind of story. Neither is it, a sad one. It’s about the cycle of life. Flaws are part and parcel of human nature. The beauty is in accepting the good and bad in order to survive. I want to understand the purpose of life; the reason behind our existence and the answer to why some events take place in our lives.

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I’ve recently come to a point where I’ve started to question my path in life. Where am I headed? Why did this happen to me? How come I feel like am floating? To those in their thirties it’s acknowledged as a mid-life crisis. Then for us in our twenties, should I consider it a process of self discovery? Nonetheless, in today’s fast track world, I am faced with the fear of missing out.

In passing conversation you overhear that, ‘fate gets its own way while destiny is up to you.’ It indulged my curiosity. The terms fate and destiny are used so lightly everyday and never given a second thought. By definition, fate is ‘the preordained course of one’s life that will occur because of or in spite one’s actions’; whereas destiny refers to ‘a set of predetermined events within one’s life that one takes an active course in shaping.’ On the contrary, fate generally carries a pessimistic connotation as compared to its optimistic counterpart destiny. I struggle to fathom why such is so. Therefore, I share my story to the world and let them be the supreme judges.

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Second Year of University I found myself attracted to a guy. It was not a crush since it was the first time to lay eyes on him. Yet I was intrigued. In a crowd with friends, they laughed honestly. His aura was inviting and in passing our eyes met for a mere second. As he disappeared, so did my temporary spell. Shaking it off, I went on my merry own way. A year later, making my way to the gym, a shoulder tap draws me to a halt. As I turned around, it was fateful. Mesmerized, it was then the second time to lay eyes on him. Pleasant as the moment was, he was flabbergasted. A split second later he apologized and explained that he mistook me for a friend and that the resemblance was uncanny. Confidently he moves forward to introduce himself. It was the beginning of a good friendship which grew deeper into a relationship. Unfortunately, one that ended before it began. Once again, we were strangers with a shared memory.

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Opposites do attract. As I am a vivacious extrovert, he was a reticent introvert. Yet I was always in awe of him from the first day. So despite my actions to ignore a momentary spell-bound attraction to a stranger, fate had other plans which led to our eventual demise. Fate has a purpose. Its mission is to educate. Through fateful encounters with life – both positive and negative – a life lesson can be depicted. These lessons are the fundamental steps that lead us to pave our own destiny. Destiny is the result of predetermined events in our lives where such events act as moral compass that we use to guide and shape our futures.