An epidemic has plagued nearly everyone who has a social media account. A scroll through your Instagram feed or a view of one of your friends' Snapchat stories can very likely trigger a variety of emotions; curiosity, jealousy, stress, envy, self-comparison, and most notably… the fear of missing out. Better referred to as FOMO, this constant worry of not being being able to say you were there has become a defining problem in our generation. The truth of the matter is that people are not having any more fun than they were before they had access to phones… social media just provides us with access to the smallest of details of people's lives that we would not have ever been exposed to otherwise. We are all guilty of it - that irrational fear of missing out on something so seemingly fun - and, it's emotionally draining. Sometimes you just need to take a breath and live in the moment… not someone else's moment… YOUR moment.
I went on a Mediterranean cruise with my family the summer going into my Junior year… and I made a big mistake. We visited multiple places and islands in Europe… stops in Greece, Montenegro, Spain, and Italy. It was an incredible trip, but I spent too much time freaking out that I would be missing time spent at home with my "friends" at the time (spoiler: they no longer are). The vacation was amazing and I learned a lot from visiting different countries, but if I could go back, I would focus my time into absorbing myself into the country, taking photos, asking questions, and learning as much as possible instead of channeling many stressed emotions into minutes of data I bought for my phone. Looking back, my cell phone should have been the least of my worries, and because of constantly worrying about what people at home were up to, in turn, I traded my wanderlust and curiosity for a couple underwhelming text messages and Snapchat stories.
It's no secret - I'm as guilty as the next person. I have an unhealthy relationship with my cell phone, and most of that I attribute to my need of feeling connected with people at all times. But it is not just our phones that keep us from living in the moment. We spend too much time taking pictures of moments so that we can remember them forever then we do enjoying these moments. Why buy good seats to a concert if you're going to view it through a the lens of a screen the whole time? It's all these little things we need to ask ourselves… we need to come to terms with and make a healthy change. The truth is, disconnecting from the outside is a term for being fully connected with yourself and what's around you. Time reserved for yourself is time well spent.
The world is an amazing place full of opportunity both big and small. So whether you choose to focus intrinsically on yourself or extrinsically on the things surrounding you - it is important to immerse yourself in where you are NOT where you wish to be. Make tea, read a book, and set aside time for self care. Or, when you are walking to class, look around at what is going on on campus and appreciate where you are. Genuine interactions with friends are much more valuable than filmed ones with cute filters. It is something I need to change and plan to focus on in the coming year. Don't miss out on life by being too immersed in someone else's!