Today, a guest post from my wife on the life-long condition of FOMO from which she, and I by association, suffer.
By Laura Moss
I have a fairly serious condition, unknown to the medical profession and undocumented by science. It can produce agitation, anxiety, aching muscles and exhaustion. It frequently leads to lack of sleep, places a certain amount of stress on my marriage and sucks away all my free time.
Yet I love it.
This condition is FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out. Whatever opportunity I am offered, I am compelled to say yes to. It has led me walk across a desert, take up boxing, move to South Africa (briefly), bivvy in a London park and throw myself out of a plane, off a bridge and into various frozen lakes.
Thirty years of Fomo experience has taught me that if I say no, I will be plagued by thoughts of what might have been. I lie in bed, berating myself for turning down what could have been a life changing opportunity. Perhaps I would finally discover ‘my sport’ and go on to represent GB in Rio 2016. Perhaps I would find my vocation. Perhaps I would make new friends, discover new foods or simply earn a good story for the pub. The anxiety of what might have been is too unbearable, so my impulse is always to say yes, regardless of the consequences.
Fomo tends to mean that my calendar is always crammed full and my mind is always racing with what to do next. The need for sleep frustrates me – just think what you could do with those eight motionless hours – and don’t get me started on afternoon naps.
There are some downsides, including dark circles round the eyes, worn out knee joints and an inability to sit still. But there is something deeply satisfying about the feeling that you couldn’t have done anything more with your day – whether that’s using your commute to fit in some exercise, exploring your local area at lunchtime or taking up evening classes.
Life is short. Use your time. Go out, seek new opportunities and embrace activity. You never know what might happen.