Saturday, January 16, 2021

The death of FOMO as we knew it

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high school milestones can be divided into three categories – much like the Richter scale of maturation. First category: growing up. Like the actual addition of inches to its vertical clearance and closer proximity to the legal voting age. Category two: Experiences of coming-of-age teens that seem fun but don’t really get much weight in the long run (prom? Coming home? Whatever). Category three: moments of progression and accomplishment that define life. Things like graduation, an event that seems hokey and overdone until you realize it’s the most important day of your young life. This is a big deal, and due to a pandemic I might not have one.

Missing category two events like prom sucks, but the idea of ​​not graduating? After spending four years in physics, forensics and French? It’s debilitating. When my high school in Texas announced that Covid-19 could cause a failed or altered degree for the class of 2021, my year I was devastated. Not going through a pivotal moment like graduation, the day that marks the transition to adulthood, is metamorphic. All the other students I spoke to shared at least some fear of missing such an important event.

FOMO, it seems, is everywhere. But, in 2020, that’s not exactly the traditional version, the feeling that comes with looking at someone else’s vacation photos or culinary porn. But again, nothing is more traditional. For adults, it can miss weddings or family reunions during the holidays. If it is not family time, it is the birth of nieces and nephews or grandchildren. Or dinners with friends. Bowling evening. The list is lengthened increasingly. For a typical teenage girl, FOMO used to scroll down Instagram and see your friends cycling by the pool without you, or maybe open Snapchat to find that the girl that’s sitting next to you in class of history rushed to her summer home. the Hamptons for a week or two. You’d love the post and maybe even leave a comment, but all the while you’re wondering why you weren’t invited or why you weren’t living a life of dating the Hamptons.

This version of FOMO has changed. In just nine months, it has gone from a simple person-to-person comparison to a juxtaposition of the present with the past, leaving millions worried about missing out on what would have been in a world not completely altered by quarantines against. coronaviruses. “In this ‘new normal’ we have another object of envy,” says Melissa Gratias, psychologist, productivity expert and author of Seraphina does it all! “FOMO has been exacerbated by the pandemic because we have both ourselves and others as social comparisons – and in either case, we are missing out.

Worse still, there are few avenues of appeal. When you’ve missed things in the past, there were always opportunities to make up for it. Haven’t bought tickets for your favorite artist’s concert? No problem, wait for the next one. Now there is no next. It all seems to have come to a sudden halt, and at first glance, a social reboot remains far away.

“I think the key question to ask yourself when trying to analyze the impact of Covid on FOMO is, what happens to FOMO when a lot of these fun things – restaurants, gatherings, concerts , travel, even just a coffee with friends – suddenly unavailable during the pandemic? “says Jennifer Wolkin, New York-based neuropsychologist.” Research has shown that FOMO certainly hasn’t gone away; it has changed shape instead. “

The most complicated part is how we manage each respective FOMO. The old FOMO was curable, or at least suible. There was a certain “flexibility”, because where you missed one experience, there was another one waiting for you. But how can someone cope with missing out on invaluable experiences? and whether to catch up with him in the future? This is what FOMO has transformed into. No anxiety about missed events. Don’t envy others who are living the life you want. But the fear that you missed something that you are never going to get back. Missing something when there is no tangible future compensation in store.

“In addition to FOMO, many of us grieve for not celebrating milestones and spending time together, especially during the holidays,” says Wolkin. “Whether it’s a teenager missing from prom, a college student missing the opportunity to compete in a sports championship, and anyone who missed the usual celebration of a discount. of diploma. “

Missing out on the usual graduation celebration sucks. Really. But at FOMO’s large scale, this is just one of many lost opportunities. When I hear “FOMO”, the first words that come to mind are always “fear of missing out”. But, as we all get used to a new life and a new FOMO, it’s not just worrying about lost experiences that brings out these feelings of hopelessness. It is the fear of not knowing how to replace what is missing.


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