You’ve Heard About FOMO, but What About JOMO?


You’ve probably heard of FOMO, the “Fear of Missing Out.”  

It’s defined as “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.”

Feel familiar?

You’re at your family reunion talking to 95 yo Aunt Gladys who can barely hear when you glance at your smartphone and see a picture of your best friend at the U2 concert on Instagram (the one she had an extra ticket to!).  

Your family decides to all visit the same exact week your friends have a permit to go rafting down the Grand Canyon…. a trip you’ve been dreaming about for years.

It doesn’t have to be either/or, though. Often, we can schedule our family’s visit around other things we really want to do. We can set aside time for the big concert and still have time for our other obligations.

But the FOMO we feel when we see those pictures on Facebook and think “Gee, everyone else looks like they’re having way more fun than I am!”… it can be toxic.

And here’s the thing:

We know that most people don’t post photos on social media of the days they’re going through deep pain and grief, the times they feel like their world is falling apart, the evenings they’re sitting at home feeling lonely.

Yet, so often I hear people comparing their experience to what they see happening on social media and feeling like their life is “less than” or “boring” in comparison.

I can so relate. I totally know what it’s like to be in the throes of FOMO and for years when I was younger I’d feel like I was missing out if I didn’t go to every social event I was invited to attend.

But as I’ve gotten older and (I hope) a little wiser, here’s what I’ve learned: There is also a JOY of missing out (JOMO) when the things you’re saying “yes” to in life feel compelling and inspiring.

Missing out on lunch dates don’t matter as much because you’re getting your book written.

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Skipping the weekend spa trip with your girlfriends is worth it to spend time with your partner the one weekend he isn’t traveling for work this month.

Last May my husband and I had tickets to go see U2 in the Bay Area, a concert we had been looking forward to all winter. Weeks prior to our trip, our 15 year old dog, Trek, was beginning to noticeably decline.  

We sold our tickets, cancelled our flight and stayed home with Trek…. and as it turns out he passed away four days before the concert.  Even if he’d lived a few months longer I will NEVER regret spending that sweet time with him.

Knowing what you’re saying YES to helps make it so much easier to say no and not feel like you’re “missing” out on anything.

There will probably be another concert. Another weekend trip with friends. Another chance to do something fun that you really enjoy.

And in the meantime, what might it feel like to embrace exactly where you are right now… and who you’re with? And really savor it?

I now regularly find myself in a place of JOMO. I embrace the JOY of missing out on things and rarely feel triggered when I scroll through my social media feeds.

This past summer, in particular I was laser focused on creating a new website, writing a book, and teaching some mindfulness classes in addition to the 1:1 coaching work I do with clients and working with my husband on our project in Hawaii.

While I always make sure to create time in my schedule for fun, there hasn’t been a lot of extra time for socializing this year with a full work schedule and a big project I’m working on with my husband. And that’s okay with me.

Here’s how I look at it:

The mindfulness classes I’m teaching are changing the lives of my participants;  the book I’m writing… I envision it being in every bookstore and every vet’s office across the nation, helping anyone who just lost their beloved pet; and the retreat center we’re building in Hawaii? It’s going to be a place of healing, growth and transformation for thousands of people.

Knowing what you’re saying YES to helps make it so much easier to say no and not feel like you’re “missing” out on anything.

When you can embrace fully right where you are, then you will be able to experience the true joy of missing out and know it’s absolutely where you are meant to be in this moment.