I saw the term “JOMO” on a mommy blog somewhere and have been obsessed with the concept ever since. JOMO, for those who are unfamiliar with the term, is the “Joy of Missing Out.” According to experiencejomo (seriously check out their site, it is full of a lot of really cool resources for learning to live and love JOMO), Jomo is “the joy of missing out on the right things —life-taking things like toxic hustle, comparison, and digital drain.” I think that both JOMO and FOMO look a little different for every person. Some people (like my husband) feel absolutely zero “missing out” when it comes to things like social media. He doesn’t use ANY social media, unless you count Discord, and wouldn’t have it any other way. Other people (like me) can’t go a day without checking their Instagram and feel super disconnected from the world without it.
I have ALWAYS struggled with FOMO but the specifics of what I care about “missing out” on has changed over the years. In high school, I was obnoxiously desperate to be liked and my FOMO made me practically beg people to spend time with me, be friends with me, etc. Yikes I know, though I think most of us have been there at one point or another. I remember finding out about people doing fun things without me and it would crush me. I spent many evenings wondering why people didn’t like me all because I wasn’t invited to go hang out in someone’s basement for a couple of hours And in reality, plenty of people liked me. I had convinced myself that if I wasn’t invited to something, it was personal, which ended up leading me to believe I didn’t have value unless I was well liked by all and invited to all. Thankfully, I learned to value myself, made some amazing friends, and stopped worrying so much about what other people were doing with or without me.
In college, my FOMO morphed into something a little different. I didn’t care so much about missing out on connections and relationships (popularity, to put it simply), but my FOMO morphed into something way harder to deal with. If I wasn’t going, going, going ALL the time, I felt like I was missing out on something. I had not yet learned how much I needed alone time, space, and the lack of activity. I remember one weekend during my freshman year where I went on 7 different dates. With 5 different people. Again, yikes (but so fun!). I had a breakfast date, a lunch date, and a dinner date on Friday. Then a day date and an evening date on Saturday. And THEN a day date and an evening date on Sunday. It was exhausting. I thought I always had to be connecting with people, building friendships, experiencing fun things, or adventuring (you get the idea) ALL THE TIME. I wouldn’t get upset anymore when I wasn’t invited to something, but I felt this constant need to be out and about at all times. And if I wasn’t, I was less valuable.
Both of these forms of FOMO come from the constant comparing of myself to others and even though I’ve come a long way, I still struggle a lot. My FOMO looks a little something like this these days. To illustrate, here’s a look at my actual thought process sometimes:
“Did so and so do this or that? Do I need to do this or that to feel satisfied with my life? Do I need to be going out every night? Or is it okay for me to want to go home after a long day of work and spend the entire evening with my cat and my husband?”– The inside of Dom’s brain pretty much every day when deciding how to spend my evenings
I am slowly but steadily learning to embrace the JOMO mindset and find joy in staying home and doing nothing every once in a while. I asked my boss to decrease my hours when school started this semester and in a way, that’s JOMO (the joy of missing out on a few extra dollars if it means getting to chill a bit in between work and school). My mental health thanked me for this move. I am trying to consciously allow myself to feel okay with staying in 4/5 weeknights (and sometimes even 5/5 weeknights) because at the end of the day, I really need it. Say it with me: Taking breaks is okay. Doing nothing is okay.
I am allowed to be satisfied with my life, even if it looks a little bit different than someone else’s life. I may not travel 24/7 like Indy Blue and that’s more than okay. I travel like 2 times a year which is more than enough for me (and my bank account). In Utah County, there are approximately a million things to do, from classic skating to hiking to various BYU activities to local music performances to swing dancing and pretty much everything in between. Personally, I usually prefer to spend my evening playing Minecraft while watching Tiny House Nation instead. On average, we go out about once a week. And this is OKAY! IT’S MORE THAN OKAY, IT’S WONDERFUL. Life is about balance and I think the balance point is going to look a little bit different for every person.
So to Dom (and anyone else who needs to hear it):
You don’t need to feel like you are constantly hustling all the time. It is okay to have down time, breaks, Minecraft and frozen pizza dates, and anything else that remotely feels like “missing out.” Frequent nights in aren’t the sign of a live going unlived. If staying in is your jam then do it, and don’t let anyone (including yourself) tell you that you’re missing out on anything. You aren’t required to live your life the way ANYONE ELSE is living theirs in order to feel satisfied. You are a valuable human being and the number of activities you participate in has nothing to do with that number. You are a fun human being. Your life isn’t boring. Staying in does not make you boring. You’re doing you and that is how it is supposed to be. Stop comparing yourself and start finding joy in the things you actually want to be doing.