missing Out.

If I read one more post about FOMO (fear of missing out) I think I may have to scream. So, instead of reading one more post about it, I’m writing about it.

If, unlike me, you have no idea what FOMO is, allow me to explain. In our culture of instant everything, online dating, and new, new, new there is a growing fear of missing out, especially when it comes to romantic relationships. We log onto Facebook or Twitter or OK Cupid or eHarmony or Catholic Match and are met with a sea of faces and profiles. Even if you aren’t on a dating site but are single, or even in a relationship, there can be a fear of missing out. We see new faces on Facebook and Twitter and before we know it our minds wander. (I say “we” in the sense that most people I know have had this happen, though I assume nothing about you as an individual.) We think to ourselves, “What if that person is who I’m really supposed to be with?” or, “I seem to have more in common with so-and-so.” or, “That guy is just so cute…” Once that train of thoughts begins I imagine someone shouting like they do at the Kentucky Derby, AND THEY’RE OFF!” The fear spirals and grows from there.

(c) Dave Black

(c) Dave Black

What are we so afraid of missing out on? Quite frankly, I’m more afraid of missing out on the present moment. Sure, it is easy to wonder what might be with that cutie who just liked your Facebook status, but while you are off in la-la imaginary land wondering about him you are missing out on the present moment. Maybe you are even missing out on the guy who is sitting right in front of you on your dinner date. Maybe you are missing out on the sun shine, the fresh flowers, the delicious lunch that is growing cold.

Maybe we are afraid of missing the fairy-tale romance with Facebook-status-liking guy. But maybe, just maybe, what we are really afraid of is putting in the effort in the present moment and making our own fairy tale. Perhaps what we fear most is the present moment. When we wander to la-la imaginary land things are safe. There is no threat of broken-hearts, cheating boyfriends, lies, or being stood up for a date. In imaginary land we control our destiny, we have absolute reign, we are our own masters, and that is exciting. In imaginary land there are no risks, only rewards. But in reality there are risks, and plenty of them. There is the possibility of a broken heart, of being cheated on or lied to. In reality, we aren’t in control, but God is. We fear letting go of the reins and letting Him take charge. Which way would you rather have it?

holding the reins

Our dreams are nice, but they are just dreams. They can give us hope, but they can’t give us joy or make us truly happy. I contend that what has the ability and potential to make us truly happy is to live in the moment, to surrender control to God and to let Him write our story.

So instead of FOMO, maybe we should rename it to FOTP (fear of the present). There are risks. There are dangers. But remember the old saying: the greater the risk, the greater the reward. If we never step out of la-la imaginary land then we’ll never take a risk. We may never be hurt there, but we’ll also never experience true love, crazy butterflies, the nerves of meeting that special someone’s parents, the joy of that first kiss, or the rush of emotion when that real life guy actually calls you. In the place of FOMO, remember that YOLO (You Only Live Once). If we only live once, then shouldn’t we live in reality, grabbing each moment and milking it for all that it is worth?

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