"Fear of Missing Out Syndrome" and Unconsciousness

By Cathy H - 6:37 AM

I recently came across an article that talks about FoMo or "fear of missing out" which describe's people's anxiety and apprehension that they are missing out on life. That every moment should be special, amazing, happy as their friend's social media feed. That there is always an air of mundane-ness and deep-rooted dissatisfaction with whenever the person is and whatever they are doing. I thought this describes my life perfectly. People always say their end goal is to be "happy". However, there is always something NOT right about the present moment. Even if it is a happy one, there is always a deep-rooted anxiety and angst about it. Either that it will not last or there will be boring and displeasurable moments that follow. I think this is so true now I look back at my entire life. 

If I were going to my favourite restaurant, I was worrying about how full the restaurant was or how fast the food would take to arrive. When I went on a vacation to Hawaii, I was worried about capturing all the nice photos and even got a deep gash on my leg trying to take pictures of fish underwater despite heavy currents. When I got a puppy, I was happy for maybe one moment-but on the ride home with the puppy on my lap I was overwhelmed by responsibility and uncertainty. Behind every "happy" moment was always overclouded by anxiety for the future. Conversely, I also had a "fear of missing out" in life whenever I scrolled down my newsfeed or chatted with a friend that had a better summer/week than I did. Maybe going around Europe, nice dates with their boyfriend, instagram strangers with seemingly perfect and envious lives. It never ended! 

As a result, I think I was and am still always trying to aim for the next best thing. After reading a book called "the untethered soul" I came to recognize the "voice" in my head which exists in everyone else's. The voice that follows me everyone and talks chaotically wherever I go. It says "this moment isn't enough! Look at his/her/their life you need to keep going forward! You need to go to all these new places and than you'll be happy!! This isn' it!" Or even if I was at a very beautiful place like a park, the voice would say "wow it's very nice. But I'm kind of cold. I'm kind of hungry now, when will I leave to get some food? How long do I have to sit here for?" and the voice goes on and on. Always full of doubt, creating anxiety, focused on the imperfection of the moment and future. The book said this is the "unconscious" part of the mind, which I believe gives people the fear of missing out. The reality is that, everyone's life gets mundane at some point, and of course everyone has to share their best moments on social media. In comparison with others, people keep bettering their experiences and self-presentation to feel like their life is worthy. It's so silly, but everyone's so caught up in it. 

Before moving halfway across the world, I thought "as soon as I got there I'll start new and have no more worries!" We all think the next best experience or living someone else's life will bring fulfillment but it really doesn't. No matter where we end up, there will always be something imperfect. I'm just starting to accept the fact that the "voice" is full of mindless chatter that is trying to control my world because it is vulnerable and nervous. That wherever we end up, life will be just fine! That whatever experiences I have no matter how good or bad, they are just transient. If I would just make peace with it, it would definitely allow me to live more consciously.

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