I am sure you are all familiar with the term “FOMO” (fear of missing out). It is a common refrain to our lives as we strive to balance work, friends, family, and, most importantly, a little bit (or a lot) of fun.
FOMO has levels. If FOMO is high enough, most likely you will attend some event even if you have a test the next day, a problem set to do, and still have to call your parents. Why is this? You are worried enough about what will happen — the fun, the memories — all while you're sitting in your room studying. If FOMO is between low and moderate, most likely you will stay in, but the event you are missing will weigh heavily on your mind.
FOMO is inevitable, challenging, and variable depending on the event, your schedule, and a variety of other factors that include but are certainly not limited to the amount of sleep you got the night before and your relationship with the individual inviting you.
Now, I introduce the term: JOMO. JOMO stands for joy of missing out and I am making a case for combining these two acronyms, one more commonly reiterated, into (J/F)OMO. In doing so, you have the opportunity to both feel the stress of possibly missing out on a potential source of fun, enjoyment, adventure, etc., but also can engage in mindful appreciation and exaltation that what you are doing is important, enjoyable, and right for you. It is absolutely normal to feel the joy and the fear, and in fact, I would argue that it is important to feel both together, at the same time. It's scary to forge your own path, to put your needs above those of others, and to know what you need even if it doesn’t correspond with those around you. It is also not black and white. There is much room for interpretation, analysis, and confusion as you comprehend these two sentiments in one package of how you lead your life.
Thus, even though it's difficult, I am making a conscious effort to take the fear and joy that accompany determining my life schedule and use them both to grow as a person. Be it deciding whether or not to study abroad or whether to go to a party on a Saturday night, it is all an opportunity to test and learn about yourself. I promise you are loved, appreciated, and acknowledged, and that everyone around you has to make these decisions constantly as well. So don’t feel alone and overwhelmed when you decide to go or not to go. Appreciate the moment, and know that there will be a next time. Yesterday afternoon, this meant deciding to go ride a zip line twice instead of studying for my physics midterm and it was fine. I had a wonderful time having a mini adventure and was able to resume studying afterward. If I had spent the whole time on the zip line fearing the consequences of not studying for the 45 minutes I was there, I would have squandered the joy I could derive from my perch on top of the world and subsequent letting go to speed down the line.