FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is something that has come to the forefront for a lot of us since the rise of social media. Other people are constantly sharing only the highlights of their life, and when friends get together and present curated posts of some outing or event, that’s when it hits. You’re sitting at home in your comfy flannel pajamas with a cat on your lap, content as ever, but that picture of your bestie with her other friends gives you major FOMO.
But what if you chose to stay home that night? If you elected to stay home and have a quiet night, that FOMO shouldn’t take over your mood. It’s about intention. What if you can turn this instance into some JOMO–some joy of missing out instead?
What is JOMO?
So JOMO may seem at odds with how we usually feel when we hear about our friends’ fun or see pictures and videos of it online. That’s because it is! JOMO means embracing and even enjoying the fact that you’re not out doing whatever it is that your friends are doing.
At its roots, JOMO isn’t about only being comfortable when you’re at home. I don’t think it’s meant to be a beacon for a lack of adventurousness, though I think that many do mistake it for that. I think JOMO is an attempt for balance in a world where we only hear about FOMO. It’s an attempt to reset ourselves to somewhere we can find balance. It wants to tell you, “You don’t always have to feel compelled to be out and doing things. You can be happy to be home sometimes, too.”
Why We Need JOMO
This antithesis is something overdue in the social media sphere. Social media tends to present a world of excess, perfection, excitement, and it creates a highly curated vision of happiness from these elements. Since none of our lives match up with this conglomeration of everyone’s best moments, we feel like we’re doing something wrong or we’re not doing enough.
That’s where JOMO comes in. JOMO battles this dangerous conception of what our lives should be like and offers us a way to return to reality.
JOMO and Introvert Culture
Don’t get me wrong, JOMO can absolutely be romanticized too. Introvert culture, something I love even though I often find it a bit reductionist, frequently uses media related to staying home and getting cozy as a benchmark for introvert life. What it often excludes is the other portion of life–introverts don’t always stay home or dislike being around people, after all.
So for some, JOMO is a tool of overcorrection. I completely understand this. The reason I do love introvert culture is because I get tired of seeing general pop culture glamorizing going out and living lives that are just too excessive for my tendencies. So countercultural introverts want to have a voice, and they use JOMO-ishness to build an alternative. And you know what, having an alternative that is a 180 from the usual has a great purpose. We just have to remember that buying into that can be just as harmful as buying into general pop culture with full force.
So…let’s feel JOMO in moderation then. Let’s find balance.
Resetting Your Mindset
Like most other obstacles in relation to mental health, feeling JOMO requires a bit of a mindset change.
Let me be clear, JOMO is definitely a lot easier to experience when you weren’t excluded from an activity. Not being invited to an event can absolutely induce some FOMO, and justifiably so. For our purposes here, I’ll consider JOMO an alternative to the FOMO you get when you simply see others doing fun things and you feel like you’re not doing enough in your life.
Eliminating this nagging voice that you’re not doing enough (read: you aren’t enough) is an important part of embracing JOMO. You need to accept that life cannot be exciting every day, or even every weekend.
Plus, let’s take a step even further back here. Why does it matter if you’re not doing something envy-inducing on a weekly basis? What makes us feel like we need this to be a part of our lives? I think it’s because we’re convinced that people will think less of us if we’re not presenting an exciting enough life. I’m here to tell you that they probably won’t notice. If you’re a regular person living a regular life, why would anyone expect more from us? Why should you expect more from yourself?
A Little Bit of JOMO = Contentment
In the end, letting a little bit of JOMO into your life can bring a lot of contentment. If you can block out all the influences telling you to do more more MORE, you can lead a life that you’re happy with regardless of its brag-worthiness.
Let me know if any of you have ever felt JOMO in the comments! I’d love to hear how it impacted you.