I recently wrote a piece about the damage that Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) can do to your finances, along with some ideas to cure your FOMO. Today I want to look at the other side of the equation: The Joy of Missing Out (JOMO). Embracing JOMO means that, not only do you not fear missing out, you intentionally choose to miss out on activities, experiences and things. Those who love JOMO take pride in living in the slow lane, and find that pulling back from social activities, norms, and obligations is a source of happiness rather than angst.
This doesn’t mean that they are hermits or weirdos. It simply means that these people have found peace and joy in going against our over-worked, over-spent, and over-scheduled culture. They consciously choose those things and experiences which bring them real happiness and leave everything else to the side. (Within reason. There are some nasty parts of life that are inescapable, no matter how desperately you try to embrace JOMO.) Those who embrace the Joy of Missing Out are happy to remain oblivious to trends and fads. As a result, they can save quite a bit of money.
Note that JOMO isn’t automatically a ticket to wealth. Embracing those things that make you happy can be quite expensive, particularly if they involve lots of travel or collecting expensive items. However, a measured approach to JOMO is a money saving exercise.
It’s not about replacing one activity or thing with another, necessarily. Replacing an expensive activity with a cheaper one saves you money, but it doesn’t necessarily represent JOMO. Sometimes doing nothing is true JOMO. Instead of skipping the latest movie and replacing it with a streaming option (which saves you money while giving you a similar experience), you instead go on a picnic with a group of friends and enjoy being together. The latter is a true JOMO experience, while the former simply saves money. (Although streaming a movie can reflect JOMO if it truly brings you happiness and isn’t something you’re doing just to stay in the pop culture loop.)
If you’ve worked to cure your FOMO and now want to embrace JOMO, here are some ideas to get you started.
Connect with people
Sometimes embracing JOMO means connecting with real people instead of spending time on social media or watching TV. A fun boardgame with friends, or an evening spent chatting over a nice meal is a slow, quality way to spend time. We forget in our hyper-connected world how important it is to spend time actually looking at and talking to real people. It brings us into the present moment and satisfies us in ways that few other activities can. When you’re satisfied and having fun where you are, you aren’t missing out on other stuff.
Connect with yourself
JOMO can be found when you’re alone, if you’re prepared to spend quality time with yourself. Instead of getting angsty about not having somewhere to go or friends coming over, spend time getting to know yourself. What do you like and dislike? What makes you happiest? Spend time with your thoughts and don’t distract yourself. Get a handle on who you are and who you want to be. When you’re comfortable with yourself, you’re less likely to want to chase trends and fads, and you’ll worry far less about what you might be missing out on.
Live in the present
The future isn’t guaranteed and the past is over. The only moment you have is the present moment. If you spend all your time worrying about what will happen, or reliving what has already happened, it’s likely you’re tipping into FOMO territory. JOMO is found by appreciating what’s happening right now.
Think about all that you have to be thankful for. It’s probably more than you realize. The more you appreciate what you already have, the less likely you are to want more. Once you begin practicing gratitude, you’re more mellow about missing out on things because you know you already have a lot of good in your life. You may even be extra happy to miss out on stuff because you realize that “more” might upset the balance you already have.
Engaging in a creative act brings joy and a sense of accomplishment. When you’re creating, you’re enjoying the now and not worrying about what you’re missing. You’re happy and you don’t want to be anywhere else. That’s JOMO. Note that your creation doesn’t have to be great or even good. As long as you enjoy the process, that’s all that matters. Writing, drawing, molding clay, coding a new app, building a Lego tower, or planning a garden are all examples of creations you might try.
Move over and get into the slow lane of life. Try slowing down everything you do, including driving, cooking, eating, working, traveling, and walking. Stop treating life like a race and try enjoying the journey. The journey, after all, is where life is lived. Slowing down means that you will miss out on some things in life, but you’ll probably enjoy the things you do all the more.
Spend time in nature
When you’re in nature, it’s kind of hard to worry about what might be going on elsewhere. If you’re missing out on something, it’s hard to care because the natural world is so magnificent. It’s quiet, too, which is calming to the mind. Plus, nature moves at its own pace which forces you to slow down and go with it. When you return from nature, you probably won’t even care about what you missed.
Disconnect from the digital world
Social media and 24/7 shopping make it very difficult to disengage from all that we could or should be doing. Taking a digital break or all-out detox can make it easier for you to appreciate the here and now and stop caring about what you’re missing. When you stop caring about what you’re missing and can instead revel in what you already have, that’s JOMO. JOMO isn’t found in the fake, hyper-competitive, online world.
Say no to things that hurt you
There are plenty of things that are worth missing out on. We often conflate missing certain activities with being out of the loop or being a bad human being. But do these things really matter to us anyway? Learning to say no to things that hurt you is a great way to appreciate missing out. There are many obligations and activities we do because we’re expected to, or because others are doing them, yet they bring us no value. So if your neighbor’s annual holiday party makes you miserable, skip it and don’t worry about whatever is happening or being said there. Sure, there are some obligations you can never escape, but there are plenty of things around which you can erect boundaries.
Take the deathbed test
What will you remember on your death bed? Is that thing you’re so afraid of missing something that you’ll look back on from your deathbed with happiness, or will you barely remember it? Prune the stuff that doesn’t pass the deathbed test from your life and focus on the things that bring you lasting happiness. As with saying no there are some things you cannot escape, but try your best to spend your time passing the deathbed test.
Take pride in missing out
Finally, take a perverse pride in being the last to know/do something. (Or when you miss something that seems important but is trivial.) Take stock of the things you did (or didn’t do) with that time and be proud of yourself for reclaiming your life. You don’t have to rub other’s faces in it, but when they’re all complaining about the money they spent or time they wasted doing X, Y, and Z, you can sit back and know that the things you did with your time and money were important to you. You won’t regret what you missed out on, but instead be happy about the things you did.