Sunday, June 26, 2011

Whereever You Go, There You Are

So I've been thinking a lot lately about FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, supposedly a psychological anxiety increasingly endemic to our society of Facebook posts, photo texts, and, even, blogs like this one. Everyone, it seems, is going around telling everyone, "OMIGOSH, I'M HAVING THE BEST TIME EVER!!!!" and this is making us look around and think, "I thought I was happy, but maybe I could be even happier."

"Rebekah Nathan" discovered in My Freshman Year that young people posted pictures of them having THE BEST TIME EVER!!! on their dorm walls and kept trying to one-up each other. Picture of you kayaking? Well, here's a picture of me skydiving. A picture of you fishing down by the lake? Check out my picture fishing for Cuba...on a handmade boat...with George Clooney. Facebook encourages this kind of thing even more, consciously or unconsciously, because we need to defend out own way of life, especially those of us who are still in transition about what kind of life we're living.

Say someone posts about an AWESOME experience that they have and we don't. What do we do? Well, we stew and then we counter-attack with our own cheery coolness out on the web. Mothers counter-attack single women posting Venice pictures with pictures of their adorable children. Is snowboarding THE MOST FUN EVER or is surfing? Or giant lawn darts? Or alligator wrestling? Whatever it is, it's probably not the thing you're doing. And in the place where you use to live/go to college/work? They're having a blast without you--in fact, they keep sending you evites to events that you can't go to but are probably going to be SO FUN!!!

But you know what? Nothing is capslock fun all the time. Even the things you really, really want, they come with their own attendant difficulties. A. and her family wanted a baby and tried in vitro and really struggled, and the family fasted and prayed and put her name on the temple roll--and she got morning sickness. But she got pregnant. She's miserable, but it's the miserable that she long desired. I really wanted it to rain and prayed and fasted, and it rained and I got a lot of mosquito bites. And a staph infection. But, then, that's kind of the way it is with THE MOST FUN EVER...snowboarding takes time, skydiving takes money, being single is lonely, having kids is frustrating, lawn darts induce allergies. This isn't to be pessimistic. On the contrary, I feel a pretty big burden lifting knowing I don't have to have obscene amounts of fun, all the time.

Sidenote: although, don't you think blogs are often, if anything, a little more melancholy than real life? all that musing, I suppose


Day said...

I always wonder about that--the potential happiness gap between presented selves and selves. Good post.

Makayla said...

Yes... I think blogs tend to be an outlet for depression, misery, and over-thinking. Sometimes I read my own and think, "My goodness. I KNOW I am not THAT ________" (frustrated, annoyed, unhappy, etc.)

But I really liked this post. It was uplifting. The recognition of opposition in all things.

And for the record, I decline most of my evites to facebook events. :)