12TH FEBRUARY 2017
FROM FOMO TO JOMO
Photography by Joe Davenport
Oh have a look will ya. Over on Insta Stories. All of ’em. Lording it up.
“Tee hee I’m having so much fun at this gig you’re not at” – “Oh these? Just the keys to my awesome new abode” – “How’s your Monday guys? *insert image of Caribbean coastline* #Blessed”.
We’ve all been there haven’t we? Broke as a joke, sprawled on the sofa in mismatched PJs, slurping on chicken SuperNoodles and relentlessly scrolling others social situations.
Cursing their smug fun-loving faces. Cursing ourselves for giving shit.
And so to avoid the unease of missing out we’ll say yes to the parties we’re too tired to attend, go on then to trips we can’t afford to take and YOLO to the new ‘it’ tee we’re not even sure we like but will buy anyway.
Ah yes my rather lovely friends I’m referring to the good old Fear Of Missing Out, or FOMO as the kids are calling it.
It’s the disease for our generation. Well that and chlamydia I guess.
Now my Twenties were the bomb diggity. Overflowing with all sorts of misadventure and mayhem, the kind that create laugh-like-a-loon memories and provide stories you won’t be telling your grandbabies *ahem*. And much like today they were also teeming with turmoil about where I should be going or what I should be doing. Never wanting to miss a trick. Never wanting to feel left out.
Back then the worst case scenario was not being tagged in a few Facebook pics or being the last to hear about that-bitch-who-gave-Joe-a-blozza-behind-the-DJ-booth-even-though-she-blates-knows-his-girl-innit *said in a cash me ousside stylee*. Lately though you’d need to abandon your mobile telephone device for a few
hours days in order to avoid the incessant insta-posting, team-photo tagging, live-video streaming and multiple checking-in of a simple Sunday roast.
Don’t get me wrong I’m as guilty of the social media overshare as the next guy – I mean it is my J.O.B after all – yet I yearn for the days when you could say no to a night out, blissfully unaware of what-a-gwan. Not have the entire shindig smeared in your face like a baby let loose with Nutella.
My issue isn’t aimed at my beloved social channels as such, it’s with the sheer volume of social content we mindlessly munch through, no wonder we’re all addled with anxiety. OBVS we’re very much aware that social feeds are often nowt more that a highlights reel of others lives, you don’t want to see Debbie down the road live-streaming her two-year-old’s tantrum in Tesco that’s for sure. But being bombarded with augmented renditions of reality day-in + day-out has gotta do some damage to the soul ain’t it?
I certainly can’t be the only bloody one frequently feeling the pressure to do and have it all!
And here lies the rub, the ting-a-ling is that our definition of this ‘all‘ is derived from carefully curated snippets of social lives, careers, relationships, friendships, fitness regimes and fashion choices. We see these strategically acquired accoutrement and activities as surefire symbols of success. And so folk follow suit, imitate in an attempt to attain #Goals, run ourselves ragged to be the same as someone else. And that makes me a little sad. Neigh, worried.
Are we losing our sense of self, our individuality, our minds(!) in a bid to achieve the elusive ‘all‘?
Firstly I’d like to address the have it all.
At thirty one I’m bang smack in the middle of a time where most of my mates either have buns in the oven, rings on it or feet on the property ladder. Sometimes all sodding three. Me? I’ve got a new pair of Zara boots and penchant for picking the biggest twats on Tinder. Each to their own. Apart from the old Breast Cancer palava I’m more than content with my current lifestyle sitch however there’s only so many insta posts of engagement ring clad fingers I can clap eyes on before I find myself thinking – maybe I should have that an’ all.
But do I actually want to have that right now? Not really. And does not having that make me a failure? Fuck no.
And what about the Gucci loafer phenomenon? Within a solitary scroll on instagram I’d be sure to spot at least eleven of the fluffy-backed fuckers all up on my feed. Which is fine if you’re ballin’ and seven hundred quid is chump change to you but I get the distinct impression that for most of the gyal rocking them, it’s not. Furthermore we live in a weather system of downpours and single-figure degrees, where are you thinking of wearing them fam?
Yeah I’m aware I own a pair-o-Gucci myself (pot-kettle-black much Lozza) however I bought my square-toed baes, a classic pair with timeless appeal, having lusted after them since I was SIXTEEN years old. Please tell me, hand-on-heart, that the Princetown Slipper is going to have the same iconic allure in fifteen years time *side eye emoji*
Pipe down I’m not having a dig (at all) I’m merely pointing out that maybe we’re falling over ourselves to have all these things not because we want to but because we should. Because we’ll fit in.
Know what I mean?
And what about the do it all.
Show of hands – how many of you lot struggle to uphold this work / life balance we hear so much about? – yep me too. Yet my social circles and channels are awash with women who seem to smash the school run, boss the boardroom, practice pilates, find themselves a fella and get lively on a girls night out all the while looking fresh out the fashion pages of Vogue. The shlaaags.
It’s no wonder we’re spreading ourselves super thinly and burning ourselves out, saying yes to far too much and no to far too little, when we’re persistently presented with the notion that being busy = having your shit together. But something has got to give. Amirite?
I too am a self-confessed busy bitch by nature. 100 MPH. Always on the go. Guilty of packing my every waking moment with a melee of dinners + drinks, crack of dawn gym classes and late night laptop sessions. Amid a movie I’d absentmindedly scroll through my phone. I’m not ashamed to admit I’d completely and utterly lost the ability to switch off. Even in the throes of treatment I feel like I should be doing more, going to a yoga class or off to the office. As if the fact I’m kicking cancers arse isn’t enough! Sad innit.
But chemo forces you to stop, to lay down. Standing still for more than five minutes is, in truth, refreshing. Challenging – yeah buddy – but refreshing just the same. It has given me the headspace to realise that there is a distinct difference between filling your time and using it. And for the first point in my entire life I’m actually enjoying my own company.
That’s right kids I have JOMO. The Joy Of Missing Out. And what.
Don’t get it twisted I’m desperate to don my glad rags and get reacquainted with a Pornstar Martini once I’m on the mend but for now I’m chuffed simply putting on some comfy clobber and popping out for Pie + Mash. And I reckon most of my kin could take a leaf out of my housebound book to be fair. Easing their foot off the gas every once and awhile and realising that downtime is in fact time well spent. That living your life to the max isn’t indicative of living your life to the fullest.
Essentially we should all probably stop living our lives by or for the ‘gram (And by ‘gram I mean Insta not party powder FYI).
Until next time… TIME IS A CURRENCY. SPEND IT WELL. Peace.