Wednesday, August 21, 2013


There are two acronyms being hashtagged by the young people these days that are giving me anxiety: FOMO and YOLO. For the non-acronymically inclined, they stand for "fear of missing out" and "you only live once," respectively. I think I have FOMO. And I think it's because of YOLO.

For instance, when the Wisconsin State Fair rolled into town this year I started dreading our yearly trip. "How about we don't go this year?" Chris suggested. "I hate it. You hate it. Why should we go?"

 Image via OnMilwaukee
I mean really. Does this look like a place you'd like to go?

I thought about it for a minute as a subtle feeling of relief washed over me. We didn't have to eat deep fried butter on a stick! We wouldn't have to look at all the miserable caged animals! We wouldn't be sweating our asses off in the hot sun, surrounded by other people who could really afford to lose their asses to a bad case of sweat, ifyaknowwhatimean. But...we'd be missing out on the experience.

So much of what I do is about the feeling of satisfaction that comes from having an experience and not because I'd actually enjoy that experience. If it were up to me, I would spend all my time watching Netflix and eating frozen custard. As it is, I already spend an inordinate amount of time and calories on those pursuits. But I have FOMO, so I attend things like the state fair and my job and people's kids' circumcisions because I'm afraid I'll regret it if I don't go.

When most people make plans, they get excited anticipating the totally awesome time they're going to have, and then they enjoy the totally awesome time while it's happening, and then they think back with fond memories when they relive the event on Facebook the next day. When I make plans, I merely look forward to the reliving-the-event-on-Facebook part, and the satisfaction that comes with being able to say to myself "Yes, I did attend that rave" and "I'll never have to say I regret not participating in that orgy I was invited to." The feeling of not missing out is great, but I'm guessing it's not as good as the feeling of actually enjoying an activity.

But whenever someone invites me to something, I look for a way out, especially if it's on a school night (which is to say, a work night), and especially if I don't have enough advance notice to wrap my mind around the idea of the event. If you invite me to something in the morning that's happening later that night, chances are I already have plans to do the dishes, watch Breaking Bad, and floss my teeth, and those are hard plans to break. People must think I'm so busy because I'm almost always unavailable to attend their cat's birthday party, but in reality, I'm just at home making faces at myself in the mirror. I think someone needs to make a page-a-day calendar full of excuses to give people when you don't want to make plans with them. Like "sorry I can't go to that midnight showing of The Room with you, but I actually have rabies today."

But if I'm being honest with myself, I'm not really taking YOLO seriously when I cop out on plans in favor of staying home to organize my coupon collection. It's this fear of not seizing the day, not giving YOLO the respect it deserves that leaves me doing stupid shit like attending the Wisconsin State Fair every year.

Do you have FOMO? Do you enjoy your totally awesome experiences while they're happening?


  1. 1) Hyperbole and a Half is the best.
    2) There is no excuse for missing a midnight showing of The Room. That movie is pure art.

  2. Psh, if you hate going to something, there's no point in going. You've been before, so you haven't missed out. You know what the experience is like, and you don't have fond memories of it the morning after, and you choose to YOLO by doing something else instead. I'm all about experiences, but if I know it's going to be no fun, then YOLO becomes YFOTDT (You Feel Obligated To Do This). And that's a lot harder to say. :)

    Also, in case you haven't seen this:

  3. Haha, I usually love the experiences that I get dragged to so my objection has gone down over the years. Reliving it on Facebook's the best part. I don't think state fairs are one of those things that people get FOMO over though... hahaha.

    also, I decided to make my own, funner acronym: YOYO. You're only young once. You're welcome.

    Michelle @ Mishfish13

    1. Just to let you know—tagged you in today's Sunshine Award post :)

  4. I usually resist going out (so much work), but I always have a good time when I do. Also, I had not heard of FOMO until I read this post. I am officially old.

  5. My cat has FOMO. If we're doing something in a room that he's not in, he has to come and check it out. We can't play with our other cat for this reason. Little beep.

  6. This post reminded me of the time I got dragged to a bar named YOLO because of my FOMO.

  7. FOMO sounds like something that requires an ointment. #tooschoolforcool #oldfolksproblems

  8. Are kids really saying FOMO? Oh god, is it going to end up on tshirts? Please no, I can't cope x

  9. You may be an introvert (like me). Spending time alone (or at home with family) is how I recharge. If I go, go, go, I'm a wreck!


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