Last month I read an article titled “How to Make This the Summer of Missing Out.” It was in the self-care section. JOMO is an acronym for the Joy of Missing Out. Some years ago I blogged about FOMO a few times, the Fear of Missing Out. (One of my personal favorites is the FOMO vampire.)
FOMO refers to the fear we’re supposed to feel about being left out or left behind while scrolling through the feeds of our friends showcasing their amazing lives. Every post, every filtered picture and selfie displayed all representing the idyllic vision of what it means to be out having the time of your life. And we’re at home, or sitting somewhere boring, reading about these things instead of being out and experiencing them. Remember YOLO? (You Only Live Once).
Enter JOMO, essentially the opposite sentiment. JOMO means you’re supposed to turn your device off, stop scrolling through your friends’ feeds enviously wishing you were doing those things and spending every waking minute scanning your social media accounts in case you miss out on something. With JOMO, you’re supposed to feel joyful about missing out on these social media feeds because you’re out living your life. You’re engaging with it and living a story instead of spending all of your time creating (or fabricating) one on Snapchat/Facebook/Instagram.
Smart phones have not been around that long, I think just a little over a decade. But we’ve already become so addicted and infatuated with them that we have to label time spent away from them as the “joy of missing out.”
What strikes me odd about JOMO is that when I’m out enjoying myself and not glued to my phone, I don’t understand what I’m missing out on. I’m fully immersed in a pleasurable experience and engaging with the world and the people around me. Couldn’t we find a new term for it like JOEL, the Joy of Experiencing Life? Or something catchy that expresses the gains we’re making instead of phrasing it as though we’re losing something, or failing to take advantage of an opportunity if we step away from our technology.
When I take a break from my phone, the only things I’m missing out on are possible eye strain and a fresh bout of text neck. Everything else can wait, as far as I’m concerned.