The fear of missing out used to be a close friend of mine. It’s very real, FOMO, and it can cause the ugliest of emotions — like jealousy and resentment. When you feel like you are missing out on something, you become discontent with what you are doing at that moment, even if it is enjoyable. Comparison is famously the thief of joy, and as such, comparing what you are doing in the present moment with what you could be doing robs you of any chance you have at being content.
I used to experience FOMO, but after getting married and having a child, something incredible happened to me: I became protective of my time. Highly protective.
Today, instead of FOMO, I experience JOMO: the joy of missing out. Staying home enriches my life to such a degree that it has become something I truly appreciate and look forward to. I think JOMO can change your life, too.
Here are five ways missing out can enrich your life:
#1: You can read
I read before bed without fail, but a night in gifts me with hours’ more time to consume, consume, consume.
You’re reading right now. Aren’t you grateful for this free time to read, learn, and expand your brain? For what is reading but an opportunity to grow? Even reading fiction is life-changing, as it gives you new perspectives and brings you into a world different from your own.
If you want to read but don’t know where to start, bestselling author of Ego is the Enemy, Obstacle is the Way — among others — Ryan Holiday has a list of books to base your life on. It’s a researched and highly curated reading list of books that will challenge your beliefs and open your mind.
As Ryan Holiday says, quoting an old Latin expression: a book is the soul’s medicine. And feeding your soul can change your life.
#2: You can nest
You don’t have to be expecting a child to nest. Designing your home so that it brings you joy is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
Designer and author of the book Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness, Ingrid Fetell Lee, has changed my life with her concepts about turning your home into a joyful space. She talks about energy, harmony, freedom, and other aesthetics of joy and how you can incorporate them into your home so that you can experience this elusive emotion, day after day.
Here are some nesting ideas:
- Organize. Put like things with like things, making it easier to find your belongings when you need to. Hang on to boxes of all shapes and sizes, then fill them with small items that need a home, such as photographs, cords, art supplies, and the like. Simplicity is joyful, always.
- Paint. After reading Joyful I painted a wall the most glorious shade of mint turquoise. I did this on a cold Friday night, and the number of times it has made my family and me smile far outnumber the smiles I would have collected on an evening out.
- Take inventory of your stuff. Get rid of what doesn’t make you happy. This is not a new concept, but rather one recently popularized by author and organizing consultant Marie Kondo — founder of the KonMari method of tidying up your home. With too many clothing or shoe options, you waste time trying to make decisions. Time is a finite resource. Cutting back on your belongings will bless you with more of it.
- Rearrange. Even the smallest changes can be refreshing, like having a lamp and a vase swap places. Move onto bigger furniture, like bringing a couch from one wall to the next, and you’re opening yourself up to a world of new possibility.
#3: You can meditate
Meditation looks different for everybody, but the one common theme is that it is life-changing. It provides you with acute awareness of who and what you are — and why. Meditation doesn’t have to be that picture of a person sitting still and emptying their mind of all thoughts and feelings. For some, this is possible and effective. For others, like myself, it’s neither.
Meditation is arguably one of the best teachers you will ever have, and you don’t have to pay for it. If meditation intimidates you, try spending 10 minutes at the end of the day thinking about any or all of the following:
- Your day today. Who did you talk to? How did those conversations go? Were your contributions to those conversations intentional and did they add to your counterparts’ lives? What did you eat? How did it make you feel? Did you exercise? If not, do you wish you exercised? What will you do differently tomorrow?
- Your goals. Are you on your way to achieving what you want to achieve? Are you clear on what you want to achieve in the first place? What matters to you? Why? What changes can you make so that everything you do brings you closer to your goals?
- What you learned. Did you learn anything new today? Was that learning beneficial? Do you wish you learned more? If so, how can you learn more tomorrow?
#4: You can write
You need not be a writer in order to put pen to paper. In fact, journaling is a practice that everybody should adopt. It can help you track your goals and pick up on patterns that might impede or enhance your achievements.
Journaling is scientifically proven to reduce stress if done consistently. But you don’t need scientific proof to understand why. The mere act of writing out your feelings brings you into the present moment (which is a fierce combatant to anxiety) and helps you think through why you may be feeling the way you are and what could have contributed to such emotions.
You can keep a journal or not keep a journal. The medium doesn’t matter as much as the process.
#5: You can play
Play is an under-appreciated and severely underestimated activity. It is one of the few things that is done for no reason other than to bring you joy at that moment, with no expectations for the future. Play unleashes the spirited person within you who may often — or even always — be stifled, and who needs to be let out and energized.
Play can look like a number of things:
- Any creative endeavor, like drawing, painting, sculpting, or coloring
- Making pretend with a child
- Rolling around with a dog or tickling a cat
- Kicking around a soccer ball
- A game
Like reading, nesting, meditating, and journaling, it doesn’t matter the shape your play takes, just that it takes place. However you choose to play, I know it will make you smile.
Missing out can not only be joyful but wildly enriching, and your life will be all the better for it. Next time you’re feeling a little fear of missing out on something, I encourage you to try to see the joy in it. After all, if you do any one of these things, what are you even missing out on?