Why Do We Get Fear Of Missing Out?

18/03/2016 11:19 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Two young people together planning trip to Europe. Top view. empty white space in notebook where you can place your text or advertisement. Romantic travel

Anyone who knows me well will attest to the fact that I am more than a little nostalgic at times. For something else. Anything else. It probably has something to do with the amount of time I spend documenting my life -- through my website, endless Instagram photos and video montages (with carefully selected soundtracks). Framed moments, blog posts and travel journals are my life.

However, this seems to make me really miss things because I so carefully wrote them down or captured them. It can hurt to remember things so accurately and vividly. Some say this makes you a better writer, but it pisses me off sometimes, as it can distract us from living in the moment, which is what life is all about.

Yes, I have a classic case of FOMO or 'Fear Of Missing Out'.

I have always struggled with FOMO. I can't choose just one path in life, so I try to do it all. (Which probably explains why I'm often so exhausted).

I wouldn't have it any other way -- no amount of material 'stuff' is ever going to replace the amazing and vivid memories that I have accumulated -- but such small triggers can remind you of what you are 'missing out' on. What I have done, what I have seen -- it overwhelms me sometimes just thinking about it all.

A simple smell or song will send you right back to that place in time -- a place where life is probably just that little bit better. I can't seem to shake the irrational, impatient feeling of wanting to see it all, right now.

The grass-is-always-greener syndrome affects most serious travellers, which, in turn, often leads to a nomadic life. Adaptable is their middle name -- they want to live on a snow-capped mountain as well as on a island in a beach shack. They want to become great people of business, but also write a book or star in a Broadway show.

How often do we really appreciate where we are, what we are doing and who we are doing it with? Many of us are constantly striving for something else and planning ahead -- better cars, better job opportunities in different cities, wild adventures more crazy than the last and longer stints away from home on trips we can't afford (although that might just be me). It's never enough. I know I need to be reminded to always be grateful for what I have done, achieved, seen and felt.

So my new plan of action is to not think back so much that it hurts. Remember great experiences, people and places, but also try not to have so much FOMO moving forward. Instead, I am going to focus on the here and now and get excited about the future, no matter where it takes me. I need to stop worrying I will miss out on something, because the reality is, I will. I can't do it all and be everywhere and that's okay. I will be happy with today.

And it doesn't all need to be documented. Just the really special bits, perhaps. I need to stop taking so many photos and start jumping in them instead.

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