The Joy of Missing Out

Posted on February 26th, 2014

Apparently 2014 is the year of joyfully missing out, or JOMO. You haven’t heard? I came across this new buzz term when a UK magazine editor wrote about it recently in a newspaper editorial.

Via Carla Faro Barros

Via Carla Faro Barros

Her piece referred to a growing trend among many of us that sees us go so hard during the week, running between commitments (work and otherwise), that we land at the weekend too pooped to do anything else. And so begins the process of pulling out of social engagements with friends and family. Usually at the last minute and by text. We just can’t cope with any more. We’re schedulely spent. Stressed. And a little anxious. (I wrote a post last week about why I think everyone’s feeling anxious right now, if you’d like to catch up.)

Of course, when we pull out of things, we often experience FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). And if you’re on the receiving end of the last-minute cancellation, you experience The Shits, especially if you’re single with no Backup Husband to Collapse on the Couch With.

But in both scenarios, missing out can provide an opportunity to experience joy. So goes the theory. Actually I’ll rephrase that and add my additional layer to the topic:

We must miss out to experience joy.

You might have noted my call to arms of late. I’m really getting heavy on the importance of taking responsibility for our own peace and happiness. It’s imperative that we reclaim ourselves and not seek answers from others and other things. Missing out – deliberately so – is part of this.

* Missing out, or actively doing less “out there”, allows space to explore our inner selves. It gives us the room to turn the focus inwards instead of constantly responding in our frantic Pavlovian way outwards. It’s like when we find ourselves with a flat iphone and time to kill on a train or at the airport. We have space to sit with our own thoughts. We unfurl. We get intimate and cosy with ourselves. Right?

* Plus there’s this: By deliberately turning down an engagement to have a quiet night in sends a massive “up yours” to the ceaseless pressure “out there”. It makes an important statement. It’s empowering.

* Then, once we experience this space, as well as the peace and happiness of our inner selves, joy flows in.

* Add to this the thrill of feeling back in control of our peace and happiness, instead of being at the whim of the next brunch inclusion, Facebook notification or diversionary (but often dull) night out.

This yearning for less “out thereness” that we’re all trying to articulate is not about seeking silver linings in secondary situations. It’s about taking the prime cut up front. And owning it.

What do you do to actively miss out? Right now I’m having Saturday nights in on my own and switching off social media from dinnertime onwards (PS some of my social media posts are pre-programmed!).

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