The Delicious Joy of Missing Out

A few weeks ago, I was introduced to the delicious concept of JOMO – the Joy Of Missing Out.

My sister had told me she heard the term bantered about on the radio – the hot topic for the hour was to do with simple living, and someone had called in explaining that to the modern minimalist, JOMO is the new FOMO. FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is a modern term coined in popular culture that describes a fear of missing out on experiences that others are having, or that your experiences are not as BIG or FABULOUS as the experiences of others.

It’s not difficult to see how the FOMO has spread like wildfire through modern society – promoted by advertising, social media, and with an undercurrent of ‘more and bigger is better’, we have probably all fallen victim to its clutches in one way or another at different points in time.

JOMO, then, is a rather lovely juxtaposition to the hype, a way to frame a simple, happy life where you can focus on what brings you contentment, and never mind about what everyone else is doing. What a beautiful and refreshing concept!

JOMO has been described by bloggers including Anil Dash (who coined the term) as a way to step away from detrimental comparisons to others lives, find solace in alone time, and live a live with fewer distractions and greater intention. Dash describes his decision to cut down on extraneous, value-less socialising (face to face or via social media) as a method to think about what really makes him happy. His description of JOMO is one that frighteningly resonates – “We are all over-worked, over-fed, over-exhausted and suffer from social media fatigue. Missing out may be the only way to step into the life that actually gives us happiness”.

This movement towards getting grounded and getting back to basics is one I just adore – however I think we are really just scratching the surface in discovering the benefits to our mental health and general wellbeing in adopting this kind of approach.

I have spoken before of the overstimulated little world in which we live. Whether we have come to be mindful of it or not, I sense we are all a bit tired. Tired of the constant stimulation* (*distraction is another term for this) that we consume through exposure to a variety of hyped and value-less stimuli every day. Tired of worrying that we might not be social enough, trendy enough, have enough friends, do enough things, go on enough adventures, live enough excitement, have enough stuff, have a job that impresses, a house that boasts achievement, a lifestyle that compares to the next person on your Facebook or Instagram feed. Don’t get me wrong – I believe there can be great value and utility in social media in meaningfully connecting us to others – but I believe that more often than not, the undercurrent of comparison can sneak in and fan the flames of FOMO in our hearts and minds.

More and more people are taking steps towards healthy disconnection, stepping back into their own lives and truly owning them for the divine realness they reflect. We are starting to see the value in looking beyond the highlight reels on social media, and finding contentment in our own little lives – every bit of them. In releasing the fear of not doing, having or being enough – what is enough? – we can breathe a sigh of relief into ourselves and into our lives.

JOMO is then a beautiful key that allows us to focus inwardly, rather than outwardly, and work towards that inner contentment that comes from knowing that there is power in turning away from the hype. Your measure of happiness can come from your own true feelings of contentment and abundance, and the measure of your life is set by you and you alone.

When I started to think about how I apply JOMO in my life, a few thoughts stood out. Firstly, of the ‘missing out’ part, I don’t see my joy in simplicity as missing out on gatherings, or events, or experiences – but rather I see the value in missing out on the excessive nutty hype that surrounds so much of what we do. JOMO is the joy of more focus and of more intentional use of your precious time. The joy of missing out on the extraneous leaves me with the joy of choosing what works for me in my life.

Am I worried about missing out on knowing the latest news by taking time away from social media? No. My real life friendships and relationships are the most important and I can give my time wholeheartedly to those when I’m not side-tracked by my news feed. The real moments in life will always be there to experience and enjoy – I have no fear of missing those 🙂

Thinking practically, here are some ideas to get you started on living a la JOMO.

  • Intentionally disconnect from social media from time to time. Uninstall the apps from your phone if the temptation to check and refresh is too great. Set limits to how long you peruse. Ease your way out and work towards a greater engagement with real life than the funny little world you hold in the palm of your hand. It might start to feel so good that your stretches without connection go longer. Experiment with what works for you.
  • Limit exposure to advertisements – television and magazines are two big ones that you have a lot of control over. You might be surprised how good you feel without them.
  • Find time to be alone (or if you have small children, and alone time is a rare gem, to just be wholly with them, but without external distraction). The benefits to solitude are too many to list here – try it and find them for yourself.
  • Review your schedule and social commitments – honestly look at what activities you participate in, individually (and as a family), and question the value of everything – there will likely be things that can be cut out, invitations that can be politely declined, and commitments that are not essential or don’t fit with your values. Let them go and give yourself the gift of more time.

This year I am giving myself the gift of JOMO! Let’s create a movement of more through less, a year where subtraction equals addition, and discover the joy of simplicity in everything we do. Let’s live real.

How do you experience the JOMO?

Until next time – simplify, focus, pursue and count your blessings.


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