I have the fear of missing out. As a seventeen year old, I am surrounded by a billion and one other teenagers at school that are constantly going out and being “cool kids,” while I’m stuck at home and doing absolutely nothing with the youth that I have been gifted. The worst part of it all is that I actually have a social life. Somewhat. I’d like to think that I definitely have a social life, but it’s just less exciting than everyone else’s. Does that still qualify?
I have friends. I socialize a lot more with the people in my grade and the people in my school. I have groups outside of school. I’m on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram when I know I should be working on AP Calculus homework, which is probably why I feel a bigger type of emptiness when I’m at home. There are people my age that know how to drive and constantly go out with their friends. I end up looking at my phone like this:
Being based in California is already cool to people that don’t live here. The thing is, I live in this really cool place, but I don’t even know half of what’s in it. Everyone else is going to museums, parks, observatories, amusement parks, and whatever the hell California has to offer. (Aren’t there also hiking trails?)
FOMO at my age is inevitable. We want to go to parties. We want to go to any social event that we know about. Why? Because time is ticking and we know that this moment won’t last forever. You might be saying that fear of missing out is totally understandable. But it freaks us out. We find ourselves doing everything that we can just to get to that single event. We crave the feeling of being cool and being everywhere. We want to live out our life so quickly that time becomes something that moves too slowly for us.
The concept of missing out on things makes us seem like we’re not invested in our social lives. We’re teenagers, so we should be making the most out of everything, right? Even if it means that we have to sacrifice our own morals to fit in with everyone else? Wrong. Along with F.O.M.O. comes with individual confusion. Who am I? What do these parties really mean to me? Do I really need to be here?
When pursuing a lifestyle that is attractive to others our age, we lose ourselves. We lose touch with our own likes and dislikes. I became familiar with the “fear of missing out” through the YouTube sensation, Lilly Singh, also known as iiSuperwomanii. In Chapter 14 of her book, “How to Be a Bawse,” Lilly talks about letting go of F.O.M.O she defines it as,
“A crucial obstacle to overcome on the road to success. F.O.M.O is not only strong enough to encourage you to stop working but also sly enough to convince you that you’ve got your priorities all wrong.”
In short, F.O.M.O is your biggest enemy. And as a teenager, it can be a bigger enemy than yourself.
F.O.M.O blinds you. How can you go out with your friends if you know that you’re not in the right state of mind? How can you go out for a good time if you know that you have business to deal with? How can you put yourself out there without taking care of yourself first? The problem is that we often strive to please others before taking care of ourselves. One cannot emphasize more on self-care and self-love.
Last summer, several of my friends were struggling with relationships. The term “relationship” pertains to more than just romance: there are friendships, family, and of course, an individual’s relationship with their own self. One of my friends went through a bad breakup. She lost herself in him. She was miserable for what felt like the longest time until she decided to take charge of her life. She was empowered, motivated, and even had a new anthem. She got back on her feet as she held this anthem close to her heart. To my surprise, the song was actually a hit on YouTube, racking about 1.3 million views today. If you’re curious, there’s a link under this article to the song. The song is all about being better on your own. It’s inspiring. It’s empowering. It’s basically Beyonce-like. And everyone likes Beyonce.
Truth be told, people will always have the feeling of wanting to go to parties and events, even if they know that they have work to do. But will one party be worth missing your deadline? Is one party worth risking your well-being? You’re better on your own. You need to be better on your own before you go out there. Got it?
Written by Charlene Franco