Ever felt you are in the doldrums when everyone is discussing the latest GOT episode and your internet connection is astoundingly slow? Or when you realize you are about to turn twenty (like me) and haven’t witnessed the need for getting a passport made, while your friends are globetrotting and blasting their Instagram and Facebook stories? Did you regret not going to the Coldplay concert too? Or a dead phone or phone with slow internet for you is nothing but the missed opportunity of showing off your inner ‘Chandler Self’ for you, until you plug in the charger or get the Wi-Fi password? You cannot stop wondering how many likes you got on the Instagram picture or what if Snapchat posted something really good? Do you feel that pang in your heart when the two friends who got together because of you are now making plans without you? Fear not me friend, I get you. And I am here to drop0 on you the big bomb of “How you are under the influence of FOMO- Fear of Missing Out”.
One fine day, in college, whilst I and my oversized halo (which I carry with me everywhere) were scattering pearls of wisdom among the small group of friends I have. One of my best friends came up with the most sparkling confession of her life. Any guesses? Easy. She had fallen in love. You know how it is when we youngsters fall in love- young, smitten, deeming it to be the forever kind and nothing else matters. Life is only with her/him, you become a lovesick fool, unable to articulate feelings, completely dazzled. With love being so dramatic, you have the face of your lover imprinted in your eyes and mind and you are drowning yourself in an overwhelming feeling. Meanwhile, it will have singletons like me thinking, does Cupid possess so many arrows?
Anyhow, my friend was driving us crazy. But being a best friend and being bound to the girl code. I couldn’t dare express an unfamiliar hollow in my ribcage I was feeling. I ate two chocolate ice cream buckets that day. Binge watched the entire series of Peaky Blinders and FRIENDS. Believe me, even read mushy poetry and moped in agony. Oh, lonely me. Then as things happened (along with my best friend breaking up with her allegedly one true love) I did get over it. Ah! Thanks to my dad and his razor-sharp wit that did the calling-it were nothing but FOMO. I realized FOMO had put a toll on me. I was weeping for something I never really lost in the first place. Though, I still remain single, with no sign of a handsome hunk in life. But you get it, right?
Another incident you might be able to relate with the is-The saga of blue and grey ticks on WhatsApp. Nothing feels more disheartening than watching a WhatsApp message turn from grey ticks to blue and the person you send the message to have read it and has left you hanging there. No reply. There you are sitting with your two eyeballs wide open, watching the ticks change color, getting life from a monotonous grey to a full of life blue. You keep staring at your 5.5-inch screen and wondering why on earth they are not answering? Don’t they love me anymore? What’s happening on the other side? I need an answer!
You start forming images, vivid ones, where the recipient is reading your message, and after reading it just when you are hoping for his/her fingers to move in correspondence to type you a reply- all you get is a shrug and a whatever. Now if you are indulging in thoughts that will damage your self-esteem you are hoping for his/herNow if you are, beware, it gets worse when you recall the time when the ticks were still grey (for like an eternity) and no one had even bothered to read it.
You might think, why not just pick up the nasty little trouble maker and place a call? You can do that. I mean, we used this ‘speaking function’ once (now which is rusting and decaying in a corner). No! Have you forgotten it is against WhatsApp ethics? You can never be so disgraceful. You send a few more messages like ‘hello’ and ‘you there?’, but to despair, there are now a bunch of messages with grey ticks on it and it is beyond dismaying. Maybe the person got caught into the yawning waves of a house fire, or maybe he got crucified for a sin unknown to the mankind, or the most gruesome of all, ‘ lost the phone!’; Because there is no way he did not notice the messages or at least heard the notification “ping”. And then suddenly out of the blue, the ticks turn blue! Behold the miracles of Social Media God! Prayers have been heard. All messages are home, safe. You breathe a sigh of relief… but what if there are still no replies, even after all the blues? We enter the stage of justifying it because we are an apathetic priority. We don’t get noticed. We don’t deserve acknowledgment. Then enters the delusional stage- ”he must be in a meeting”. Now all you are left with is to either scroll on your Instagram feed, which also mocks you by showing-‘you are caught up’ or you can read endlessly long forward messages on WhatsApp and forward them and “THY BOLDNESS BE YOUR FRIEND”, you get two blue ticks instantly.
There were days when we had airmail letters, fountain pens, clacking typewriters. Things were less complicated. FOMO kills gratitude and replaces it with “it’s not enough”. We answer FOMO’s knock when we say ‘Yes’ when we feel ‘No’. FOMO is claiming to like Joey and The Night King where in your heart you still love Shinchan and Mickey Mouse. Quit FOMO, Embrace JOMO-Joy of Missing Out!.