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 Read more

Why do we write? Tweet? Blog?

Posted on October 29th, 2013

Anyone who blogs, or finds themselves really quite glued to their social media feed, asks this of themselves intermittently. I do. I have my answer now. I blog because I need to. It’s my dharma.

Image by Arno Rafael Minkkinen

Image by Arno Rafael Minkkinen

The way I experience things is to pull apart the elements, to break them down, to cluster and to organise and to entertain meta theories and note interesting patterns of behaviour or phenomena. It’s a sport for me. Some people do cryptic crosswords. I spot patterns in life.

I spot that middle-aged Jewish men like to power walk in pairs.

That people born and raised in Sydney often have raspy voices.

That our idiosyncrasies spawn from a need to escape loneliness.

That Liberal MPs are all starting to speak in the same stilted, hesitating, lip-licking way as Tony Abbott.

Then I have to record them. I’m reminded of something Arthur Miller wrote. Scrap that. Sarah, get real!? I never remember quotes. Rather, this quote popped up somewhere, I saved it, and I found it again just now:

“The very impulse to write springs from an inner chaos crying for order – for meaning.”

Writers, bloggers, we all have the need to spot patterns. I think we tend towards the obsessive end of the behavioural spectrum, with an impulse to create patterns and order. Read more

An eccentric and some e-loveliness

Posted on March 14th, 2013

I have days when I resent blogging. I’ve been blogging now for almost four years, 3-4 posts every week, largely unpaid for my toils, sometimes uprooted by trolls. I wonder why I do it. Some days. I mean, why would any sane person expose their controversial brain farts, their innermost reflections and their ugliest fears to hundreds of thousands of strangers each month who are then free to pull apart such thoughts and farts among their friends and in their own heads? My family ask me this often in their unaffected, un-social-media’d way. But, then, they know I have always been a slightly unhinged personality.


But just as I’m about to throw in the towel, I get reminded of why I blog and why I’m so bloody blessed.

I blog because it allows me to help people. I don’t have dibs on myself. I’m largely a selfish, tight, hard-to-live-with, neurotic human. But I get the biggest kick out of helping other raw, open humans who, too, struggle at times just to get out of bed each day and go through the human experience. Nothing else matters. This is my dharma. And, as I say, just when I doubt myself – working as I do in my isolated, tight, selfish way – I’ll be reminded of said dharma. Someone will come up to me in the supermarket and tell me their story. Or I’ll hear about how a post I wrote connected two strangers on opposite sides of the world, who then helped each other out…generously, openly, lovingly.

This happened a year or so ago when a reader – Gordon – followed my advice to get a VA in a second-world country. Gordon was so touched by the VAs work and life story, he and his wife went to visit him in Thailand and helped him start up his own company, which enabled him to get married. Gordon and his wife went to the wedding, too. He shared this story with Jo and I. It made me weep at the time.

It happened again this week. SMACK BANG as I needed it. Reader Soula contacted me and asked if I’d mind writing to a young family member who was in hospital suffering from depression. She thought a note from me might cheer her up. She likes my blog and book.

I wrote to the relative. I checked first to see if she’d mind my sharing what I shared with her:

“I thought I’d just do a shout out to you and say I’m thinking about you. …I get low. Real low. I Read more