Everyone seems to be talking about their FOMO (fear of missing out) all the time. There’s a fear of missing out on an activity, the latest trendy product, or even a trip somewhere. We’ve all been there. There’s been that thing you didn’t want to miss out on trying because everyone has said how fabulous it is. What about that place you’re dying to go? Or what about that thing you have to get so you can take a picture of it because it’s all about the gram? People have a hard time being left out of anything, whether it’s the latest new gadget or it’s the place to be.
But I’m here to tell you that it really is ok to “miss” out on things sometimes. Passing up on things, saying No sometimes, and choosing the simpler things can really bring so much happiness to your life. I’ve experienced a lot of what I’m calling JOMO lately and I gotta say that there really is a joy that comes from missing out on all the things. I read a lot about this in my new favorite magazine Breathe that my dear friend turned me on to. The truth is that in a lifetime, we will never have it all or do it all. It’s great to have dreams and goals, but it’s also important to just be happy with what you have and what you’ve done. There is so much joy to be had in just being with your people and enjoying the simple things in life.
We’ve found it’s a great lesson for our children too (one that they are still learning). It’s hard when their friends get a smartphone, a television, or a computer. How do you explain to a kid that they don’t need it when they feel like they’re missing out on something? No child likes to feel left out. It’s not something I really had to deal with as a kid. I felt blessed with what we had and got to do as a family. Things seemed different back then. Now it seems like we are living in a much more entitled world. It’s so much easier to think you are missing out on something instead of just being content with what you have. No one is content anymore.
Learning To Miss Out
It’s been a process teaching them to be happy about missing out. Let’s be real, we’re all still learning. There are still occasions where some new gadget pops up and I have to remind myself that I really don’t need that thingy. Adding to all the material things we already have can give momentary happiness, but in the end it all just leaves you empty. People really don’t consume consciously anymore and it’s something we are working on as a family. It’s not just a saying…it truly can make you happy to have less, rather than having more.
Then there are all the experiences and activities kids are exposed to these days. As a kid, I got to experience so much too, but I was thankful, satisfied, and happy with what I got to do. I had activities, but I also had downtime that I enjoyed and experienced healthy boredom. I wasn’t always looking for the next thing to fill my time and I didn’t feel entitled to do or have more. There were plenty of kids running circles around me in life, but I was perfectly happy and didn’t know any different. Kudos to my parents for raising us the way they did.
Our kids have learned how to entertain themselves too and be happy with all they have and all they get to experience, but not without a struggle. Just like most kids, they’re always wanting more and wanting to do more. Trying to keep up with what other kids are doing is a real thing, but we want them to discover that in the moments they are supposedly “missing out”, that they have the opportunity to experience real joy in so many other things. They know we don’t have to have a lot of toys, we don’t have to make every birthday party, and we can try different sports and activities, but we can’t continuously do them all. Sitting at home for the last couple of weeks while my son is recuperating from ear surgery has definitely brought that point home and while there is a world of things going on out there, they are perfectly happy in here hanging out and so am I.
We try to practice having experiences over things, but even having an experience can get out of hand these days. There are so many activities the kids can participate in and so many things we can do as a family. A lot of these experiences are not family friendly in the cost department and there’s no joy in going broke over them. We wanted to take our kids to their first concert, but prices even for the nosebleed section are ridiculous, so that’s something we will happily miss out on until later. We love to travel, but the bigger trips will have to wait until the kids can fully appreciate the price tag. The joy they will have when they go overseas for the first time as a teenager like I did, will be priceless and the memories they will have of that experience will stick with them all their lives. Besides, road tripping cross-country and seeing all of the U.S. treasures has brought us so many happy times.
Joy can be found in the simplest of things. We’ve “missed out” on a lot of things, but we are happier for it. We love enjoying our cozy home, where we are never far from each other. We love cooking family meals together. Our family loves playing cards and board games, reading together, and watching movies. Sometimes we craft and do DIY projects that are fun. We’re a musical family, so we love a good jam session. As crazy as it sounds, we even enjoy cleaning up and taking care of our house. More recently we’ve found joy in letting go of a lot of things we don’t really need so that we can take time and enjoy the things we really treasure.
I get that there are a lot of things we see everyone accumulating and doing that look amazing. I’m not saying to never jump on board the fun if you can. Just don’t be afraid of missing out on anything. There’s always joy waiting for you around the corner, if you’re willing to be open to finding it in places that might not be currently trending. #JOMO