I had a long conversation with a good friend last night. We hadn’t talked since the beginning of quarantine set in. He told me that was partly because he hadn’t been using his phone as much. I applauded him, for his restraint, because I know a lot of people (myself, perhaps, included) are finding the screens more omnipresent now than they were when life was still happening as usual.
So I asked him why he was able to use his phone less, despite being locked in his apartment it. He said it was because he hadn’t been feeling any FOMO. You probably already know what that means, but I’ll explain for the sake of posterity. That would be the “Fear of Missing Out”, something that has become a staple of everyday life for Generation Z and young Millenials. Basically, half the apps on our phone are designed entirely around looking at photos of other people, or watching videos of other people, doing other things than what we are doing. After a while, even a social news feed starts to feel vital to staying clued in on what is happening in the world. As a result, if we spend even a short amount of time away from our devices, we feel like we are missing out on something, anything, that is happening somewhere other than where we are.
It might sound crazy to someone who didn’t grow up with the internet, but it’s just the way the utterly human urge to fit in has manifested in the smartphone era. Everybody my age experiences FOMO to some degree. Everyone deals with it differently.
But now, right now, is the time to break free.
I mean, seriously, how much more reassurance could we need that nothing is going on? That’s not to say nobody is posting. There would have to be a global blackout to stem the DIY cooking videos and tiktok dances. But the reality is, everyone is locked down, and if they’re not, they’re being irresponsible. In other words, there is no where you are supposed to be.
Yeah. Imagine that. A time when there is nowhere better to be than your own home, unless you work an essential service job or are one of the heroes on the front line. But if you’re like me, young, creative, and (hopefully) gainfully unemployed, then this is a time to look inward. Now is the time, when you can turn off your phone, and rest assured you won’t miss anything pressing.
Instead of letting your phone tell you where you should be, now is a time to learn a bit about who you are.